Ohio State University: President Johnson to teach class on reducing carbon emissions

Ohio State University President Kristina M. Johnson is headed back to the classroom, bringing her teaching skills and her passion for research and conservation next semester to a course titled Pathways to Net Zero Carbon Neutrality.

The project-based course will provide students an opportunity to work in small teams to develop a strategic technology energy plan (STEP) to reduce Ohio State’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to net zero. The cost of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2040, 2035 and 2030 will be estimated as part of the STEP.

“Combating climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and Ohio State is stepping up to do its part in reducing the carbon emissions that cause extreme weather events and threaten the very future of our planet,” Johnson said. “After dedicating a significant portion of my professional career to developing and advancing clean energy technologies that will help us make the critical shift away from polluting fossil fuels, I am excited to share that knowledge and experience with our students in the classroom. I am always impressed by the thoughtful and innovative solutions to big problems that are put forward by our undergraduates, and I am sure I will learn just as much from them – if not more – as they learn from me.”

Registration for the class is open now. It is listed as an instructor permission course because enrollment is limited to about 18 students. Interested students will be required to go through an application and selection process to add the class to their spring schedule.

Students will learn about strategic planning, implementation and determining cost tradeoffs as they research energy-use sectors that contribute to greenhouse gas concentrations, methods to reduce GHG concentrations and techniques for achieving carbon neutrality.

The course will involve group presentations of recommendations for Ohio State campuses and Buckeye community members to reduce institutional, community and individual carbon footprints. Each project team will be responsible for developing a part of the plan that is scalable and achievable. Successful projects will be strongly considered for implementation.

Ohio State plans to achieve complete carbon neutrality by 2050 and address more than 55% of emissions by 2030, a pace more aggressive than the International Panel on Climate Change’s recommended emission reductions path to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will close on Nov. 15. Students will be selected and enrolled by Nov. 23. Applicants are encouraged to enroll in a backup class to fulfill credit hour requirements that could then be dropped later if they are chosen for the course.

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