University of Missouri

49-42: Climate Change

Missouri Students Association

University of Missouri – Columbia

Bill #49-42

WHEREAS, the American Clean Energy and Security Act and the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act are companion bills in the United States Congress which attempt to address climate change issues, and

WHEREAS, these bills utilize a cap and trade approach to address U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,

WHEREAS, some greenhouse gases naturally occur in the atmosphere and serve to trap heat, making the earth habitable; however, this legislation addresses human contributions to greenhouse gases in excess of naturally occurring levels, which are caused by industry, transportation, and agriculture activities, and

WHEREAS, the approach advocated by the current legislation is a cap and trade system in which a limit is set on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted nationally from 2012 to 2050, with the amount decreasing over that period; by 2050, total greenhouse gas emission would be reduced by 80 percent under this legislation, and

WHEREAS, UM System President Gary Forsee wrote a letter to Missouri lawmakers in November urging either a vote in opposition to the legislation or that exemptions be made to address problems for the UM system, which prompted extensive media coverage, as well as unfavorable responses from student, faculty, and citizen groups who felt that the letter misrepresented campus-wide support, and

WHEREAS, representatives from MSA met with President Forsee in December to discuss the letter and possible impacts for the student population, and

WHEREAS, the Office of the Senate Speaker has also been in communication with student sustainability advocates, the MU Sustainability Office, and MU Governmental Relations to research varying aspects of this issue, and

WHEREAS, the MU campus has a coal plant that may or may not be affected by the current legislation, depending on interpretation of the legislation’s main provisions, and

WHEREAS, this legislation would still impact MU as a result of the University’s use of natural gas, and

WHEREAS, this could cost the University of Missouri-Columbia anywhere between _________ and _________,

Whereas, the MU campus is working through the Sustainability Office toward a sustainability plan which would involve replacing old equipment at the MU power plant with more sustainable alternatives in a gradual fashion over the next few decades as the old equipment fails, and

WHEREAS, the provisions of the companion pieces of legislation are highly technical in nature and are easily open to misinterpretation in lay audience analyses, and

WHEREAS, these issues are not partisan in nature, but rather affect students of any and all party affiliations.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Missouri Students Association Senate is and will remain committed to address both rising educational costs for MU students and potential far-reaching effects of unsustainable energy consumption, and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MSA Senate calls upon campus administration, as well as local, state, and federal lawmakers to create their own and support others’ innovative and cost-effective approaches to mitigate these dual concerns of rising educational costs and responsible energy policy, and

THEREFORE, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the MSA Senate calls upon these same administrators and lawmakers to participate in a timely, transparent, and open-minded dialogue on this and similar issues; MSA Senate pledges to do the same, and the Senate thanks UM System President Forsee for his steps in this direction, and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Missouri Students Association Senate that the attached letter be sent to Missouri lawmakers, local media outlets, the University of Missouri system President, the Chancellor, and any other relevant party; MSA Senate leadership will make itself available to work with relevant parties to communicate concerns and work toward solutions.

Respectfully Submitted,

Amanda Shelton, MSA Senate Speaker

Jake Sloan, Budget Committee Secretary

Sean Nahlik, Student Affairs

Seth Jarboe, Student Affairs

Evan Wood, Operations Chair