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Senate panel showcases University of Minnesota, Morris

Posted by Judy Riley on Thursday, Apr. 3, 2008


Washington, D.C. - At a Senate hearing chaired by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar April 3, University of Minnesota, Morris Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson was among three leading educators who described the way American colleges and their students are leading the fight against global climate change.

Klobuchar called the hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to highlight the importance of college and university research on clean energy and to spotlight the leadership of college students in fighting greenhouse gas pollution. Testifying, in addition to Chancellor Johnson, were Dr. Richard C. Levin, president of Yale University, and Dr. Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley.

"Colleges and universities are given a unique role in society,'' Klobuchar said. "They are conducting vital research on energy technology and educating the next generation of engineers, architects, business leaders and scientists to compete in a low-carbon economy.''

In addition, Klobuchar noted that colleges and universities are often pioneers in energy conservation because of the passion that students bring to environmental issues. Yale, for example, plans to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 10 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2020, even though construction plans call for expanding its campus by nearly 20 percent during the same period. The University of Minnesota, Morris is building a state-of-the-art biomass gasification plant that, together with a wind turbine, will meet all the campus' heating, cooling and electricity needs within two years.

"I've visited the Morris campus and seen first-hand the University's innovative work on clean energy,'' Klobuchar said. "By eliminating their own greenhouse gases and conducting vital climate research, colleges and universities across the country are leading the fight against global warming.''

"Our work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions speaks directly to the characteristics and qualities of our students, faculty and staff,'' Chancellor Johnson said. "At the University of Minnesota, Morris we provide a liberal arts living and learning environment that is—literally—both renewable and sustainable.''

Klobuchar is author of the American Renewable Energy Act, which would extend and expand federal tax incentives for investments in renewable energy sources such as wind power, solar energy and cellulosic alcohol. It would also establish a strong national renewable-energy standard requiring utilities to obtain 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025. The bill was introduced in February with Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Visit Senate Hearing to listen to the proceedings and view photos.

Visit Senate Testimony to read Chancellor Johnson's remarks to the Senate Committee.

Pictured from left to right are: Dr. Robert Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California Berkeley Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator of Minnesota Dr. Richard C. Levin, President of Yale University and Dr. Jacqueline Johnson, Chancellor of the University of Minnesota, Morris. The picture was taken at today’s hearing as they discussed the important role of colleges and universities in battling climate change. [Senate photo]