In 2007, USM signed the President's Carbon Commitment (formerly the ACUPCC), committing the University to achieving carbon neutrality by the year 2040. Carbon neutrality is defined as having a net-zero carbon footprint across all three USM campuses (Portland, Gorham & Lewiston-Auburn). To achieve the goal, the University had to take on two projects: first, calculate the greenhouse gas emissions to establish a baseline to gauge progress; second, create a plan for how to reduce emissions.
The year 2006 was used as a baseline for the first greenhouse gas inventory. Since then, the greenhouse gas inventory has been updated at least every two years. Currently, the office of sustainability is conducting an inventory for the fiscal year 2017 (from July 1st, 2016 to June 30th, 2017).
The plan to achieve carbon neutrality has been updated three times since President Pattenaude signed the commitment in 2007. The first two efforts were stand-alone climate action plans, with a majority of the focus on greenhouse gas emissions. The third effort, which culminated in April of 2017, took a comprehensive approach to all of USM's sustainability goals and initiatives. The climate action plan became part of a wider strategic sustainability plan structured on three pillars: energy; material resources; and education & outreach. The overall goal of the plan remains the same: achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. You can view the current plan below.
USM's Progress Reports, Carbon Inventories and Climate Action Plans can be found on the Second Nature Reporting Page by searching for 'Southern Maine'. Reports by all other institutions participating in the Commitment can also be found here.
Learn more about carbon neutrality, the Commitment, and why it is important on the Second Nature Website.