Archive for January, 2010

James Hansen Coming to Carolina

Dr. James Hansen of NASA and Columbia University will be coming to UNC on Feb. 1st to discuss global climate change. He has kindly agreed to stop by UNC’s Cogeneration Facility the next day on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd, to voice his support for a Coal-Free UNC. We are honored to have one of the most prominent climatologists recognize our efforts to get rid of a harmful, dirty and archaic energy source on Carolina’s campus and beyond. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop by! Facebook event RSVP Google doc RSVP

Hansen on why we should phase out coal via


January 31, 2010 at 5:48 pm Leave a comment

UNC Taskforce in Herald Sun and News & Observer!

Check out the features on the UNC Energy Taskforce  in The Herald Sun and on The News & Observer Web site. A step in the right direction for Carolina and the Sierra Club Coal-Free Campus Campaign here at UNC! Thanks to all the volunteers, people who’ve been signing petitions, and anyone else who has been helping us out.

Let’s keep working toward a Coal-Free UNC!

January 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

Chancellor Thorp Announces Task Force to Address Energy at UNC

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp announced today that he is assigning a task force to address energy use at UNC.  Task force members will include students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and Director of the Sierra Club North Carolina Chapter, Molly Diggins.

Students and allies of the Sierra Club Campuses Beyond Coal Campaign see the best way that the task force can address energy issues is for UNC to stop burning the more than 100,000 tons of coal burned annually in the university owned and operated cogeneration plant. The plant is responsible for emitting toxic chemicals such as mercury, arsenic, and lead, as well as the equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of over 55,000 standard passenger vehicles, making it the single largest source of air pollution in Orange County.  In 2007 burning coal was responsible for 63% of campus greenhouse gas emissions.

Gigi Nemeroff, freshman and student leader of the Sierra Club Coal-Free Campus Campaign at UNC stated, “I am very happy to hear that UNC is moving in the right direction and I hope to see a complete elimination of coal use on campus so that we can maintain our status as a leader in sustainability and leave this world a little cleaner—not dirtier—for future generations.”

“I think that this is a positive move.  Coal is the number one contributor to CO2 emissions, and because of global warming the polar ice caps are cracking and the ice is dropping into the ocean, and sea level is rising, fast, much faster than predicted by the IPPC, so moving away from coal is a very urgent issue. Not to mention that moment that we stop using coal at UNC we will be stopping at least some of the horror of coal mining,” said Dr. José Rial, Professor of the Department of Geological Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Since the campaign launch in September,  students of Carolina turned out by the dozens to volunteer on the campaign and gather 1,900 petitions to the Chancellor.  A coalition of 40 faculty members, eight student organizations, and the mayor of Chapel Hill, Mark Kleinschmidt, joined the students in calling for a move past coal to clean energy.

Mayor Kleinschmidt noted, “I could not be more thrilled to hear my alma mater announce this Clean Energy Task Force.  I look forward to working with the University to make their move completely off of coal possible.”

“Coal is our single dirtiest fuel source, and should not be part of the fuel mix at our state’s flagship university. The Sierra Club applauds Chancellor Thorp’s leadership on this issue, and looks forward to working with the Chancellor, UNC students and faculty ,and the community to build a clean and sustainable future at Carolina,” stated Molly Diggins.

Chancellor Thorp’s announcement comes on the heels of a decision made public earlier this month by Cornell University to end coal use on campus by 2011. These schools and the handful of others who have made the switch from coal to cleaner energy are leading the way in what could be a growing coal-free trend in higher education. Increasing pressure from students who want cleaner campuses, and a growing realization among university administrators that a continued dependence on coal hinders progress towards climate goals has the potential to dramatically change the energy future on campuses nationwide.

January 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm Leave a comment

Coal-Free UNC Kick-Off Party 2010!

Last semester we kicked off the Sierra Club Coal-Free Campus Campaign in Chapel Hill. Since our first Kick-Off meeting we’ve been making steady progress to move Carolina Beyond Coal.  Last year, hundreds of students showed they wanted clean energy by working on the campaign and signing our petition to Chancellor Thorp encouraging him to work towards a clean energy future at UNC.

We have the potential to make the campaign even bigger and better this semester. But we need your help! Show the university that we truly care about the environment, our health, and our future. Come out to our Kick-Off Meeting to learn about the campaign and how you can become involved!

The Kick-Off Party will be at 7pm on Jan. 27, Wednesday in Dey Hall. RSVP at the link and we hope to see you there!

Sierra Club Beyond Coal Director Bruce Nilles on the campaign:

January 25, 2010 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

Robert Kennedy Jr. to debate Mr. Coal ak

Robert Kennedy Jr. to debate Mr. Coal aka Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey via @solveclimate

January 21, 2010 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

Now Accepting Internship Applications

Sierra Club interns Sara Mishamandani and James Collins are interviewed by a reporter.

Help lead the grassroots movement to move Carolina beyond coal to a clean energy future.  The Sierra Club Coal-Free Campus Campaign is accepting applications for internships.

Interns will help to make an impact right now, right here on campus, and will gain invaluable experience in grassroots organizing.  Areas of focus include media outreach, coalition building, grassroots organizing, and more.

CLICK HERE to submit an online application.

WHAT: Coal Free UNC Internship Information Sessions 

WHEN: 2 – 3 pm Daily, Monday Jan. 11 thru Friday Jan. 15

WHERE: Student Union (check the screen at the information desk for the room number).

January 10, 2010 at 11:08 pm Leave a comment

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Current CO2 level in the atmosphere