School cuts climate program days after touting the initiative

The University of Louisville recently decided to suspend its climate program days after touting its commitment “to achieve climate neutrality” by the year 2050.

The school explained that the decision to axe the initiative was made in an effort to comply with the new financial requirements after facing a “significant budget shortfall.”

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"Cuts have been made to some non-academic sustainability programming as part of a university-wide process aimed at addressing a significant budget shortfall," university spokesman John Karman said, according to The Courier Journal, which notes that the school’s Climate Action Plan was included among the cuts, freeing up $182,000 annually.

At the end of May, though, the university’s official news service published an article praising the Climate Action Plan and its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with one school official claiming that the school was “very close to meeting its 2020 goal of reducing net carbon emissions by 20 percent.”

“Our students are making investments in their futures, and our university’s commitment to fighting climate change is tangible proof of our investment in the common future of our shared planet,” said Justin Mog, an assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives at the university.

Notably, Mog received the city’s Joan Riehm Memorial Environmental Leadership Award Monday for his sustainability efforts, while Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer joined a list of more than 150 mayors committing to the Paris climate agreement last week.

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“What an incredible honor to follow in the footsteps of past recipients who I regard so highly as my own local sustainability heroes,” Mog said after accepting the award. “Let’s continue working together every day to cement the only legacy that would truly have mattered to [Joan Riehm] – a sustainable future for Louisville.”

The school has since told The Courier Journal that the it remains committed to “its sustainability efforts" and is "concentrating those efforts on a new degree program in the field."

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