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UW-Madison students petition for transition to renewable energy by 2050

uw climate strike

MADISON (WKOW) -- A group of students at UW-Madison are calling on the University to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

During a day of global climate action, students and community members gathered at Library Mall to strike against climate change.

Campus Leaders for Energy Action Now (CLEAN) announced a petition demanding the university transition exclusively to renewable energy by 2050, and derive all electrical power from renewable resources by 2030.

The petition also called on university leaders to open up meetings of the Sustainability Advisory Council to students of the University and come up with a plan of action from the council by the end of January 2021 to reach the energy goals.

"This is an existential threat. If we don't do something now, then the earth could be completely uninhabitable," said NextGen Wisconsin Student Leader Thomas Lavery.

Staff with the Office of Sustainability at the university say they support the students' mission.

"I think its crucially important that we're having these conversations and I'm really excited to see the students coming together to talk about climate change, to come together to see what they can do to help drive solutions," said Assistant Director of UW-Madison's Office of Sustainability Nathan Jandl.

Chancellor Blank recently signed the Second Nature Resilience Commitment and the University received a silver rating in its first ever sustainability assessment.

In a statement, UW-Madison said they encourage students to make their voices heard.

While students are already part of the Sustainability Advisory Council, we are open to expanding their involvement. Students are central to the work of addressing climate change and we value their knowledge, passion, and dedication to this cause.

CLEAN said they intend to deliver the petition to Chancellor Rebecca Blank sometime in the coming week.

Co-sponsors of the petition include Youth Climate Action Team, NextGen Wisconsin, Sunrise Madison, and Social and Environmental Business Advocates (SEBA).

Emily Friese

27 News Producer

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