The Board of Trustees considered declaring a climate emergency on campus during an unusually short meeting Thursday.
Citizens Climate Lobby Volunteer Stan Roden presented the board with a presentation outlining a way to significantly slow the effects of climate change.
He introduced House of Representatives Bill 763, or the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which would put a carbon fee on fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas that could drastically reduce the carbon footprint.
In his presentation, Roden explained that if nothing changes, the temperature will increase by 7.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100.
“This is the future that [our grandchildren] face,” he said. “This is an unlivable planet”
The board had mixed reactions to the call to endorse the bill and agreed to discuss it further in the future.
“I see this as part of an ongoing conversation,” said Trustee Peter Haslund, who supported the bill and wanted to make sure it didn’t get forgotten. “I think our track record is positive and it’s unidirectional, and I want to keep that going.”
Trustee Veronica Gallardo agreed that the bill required further discussion, and suggested it be a learning opportunity both for the board and students.
“I think that it’s important to have a conversation about what this means for quality of life,” she said, adding that most people are used to a certain way of living.
“I don’t want to stop taking a hot shower,” Gallardo said. “I can’t envision all the sudden not having my stove, heater, all of these comforts.”
The board ultimately decided to table the discussion for approval at the next meeting.
During the public comment section, adult education student Anita Henricks spoke in support of the bill.
“There are some that say that it’s too late, that we’ve already gone past the threshold. That we are doomed,” she said. “This presentation here offers some hope.”
The board also revisited its discussion about the state-mandated nonresident tuition fee, and unanimously approved an increased fee of $306 per unit for the next school year.
The board will reconvene for its next meeting Thursday, Feb. 27.