ND's No-Coal Goal

Pope Francis issued his second encyclical, Laudato Si’ (Praise Be to You): On Care for Our Common Home on June 18. Running 192 pages, the papal letter squarely addresses climate change, and urgently calls for Catholics, the Catholic Church and practicing Christians to turn away from consumerism as a prevailing ideology, and to recognize the devastation wrought on the environment as a result of reliance on fossil fuels and human activities:

“This sister [Earth] now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her. We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”

On September 21, University of Notre Dame President John I. Jenkins, CSC, responded to the pope’s message, announcing that the University will cease burning coal entirely within five years, and cut its carbon footprint by more than half by 2030, according to a University press release.

“In recognition of both Pope Francis’ encyclical and his visit this week to the United States, Notre Dame is recommitting to make the world a greener place, beginning in our own backyard,” Father Jenkins said. “Of greater importance, however, are the contributions our faculty and students are making across disciplines to find sustainability answers, especially for poor countries in most need of development and the most vulnerable to climate change.”

Father Jenkins also announced that Notre Dame was planning to invest $113 million in renewable energy sources and projects, including a hydroelectric project, solar power and geothermal fields both on and off campus. Collectively, these efforts will reduce CO2 emissions by 47,500 tons.

In a previous address to the Notre Dame faculty, Father Jenkins said that Pope Francis “presents us with a comprehensive moral vision about the environment, technology, the character of our communal lives, our responsibility to the poor and marginalized, the dangers of a compulsive consumerism and the need for global solidarity. It is a challenging moral vision, but one for which, I believe, our world is hungry, and no university is better positioned to respond.”

Father Jenkins cited a lengthy list of environmental initiatives at the University, including the Climate Investing Conference organized by the Mendoza College of Business, that reflect Notre Dame’s commitment to discovering new approaches and technologies to address the challenge of climate change.

The efforts include reducing carbon emissions from the campus combined heat and power plant by eliminating use of coal. This will entail the increased use of natural gas in the short term. In the long term, the University will install new technologies, such as gas-turbine technologies, geothermal systems, solar energy, hydropower and heat recovery.

Notre Dame currently generates about 50 percent of the University’s electrical energy needs, with the other half coming through the purchase of power from Indiana Michigan Power.  

Caring for our Planet

  • Cessation of Coal Use: By Year 2020, Notre Dame will stop using coal as a power source
  • Reducing Our Carbon Footprint: The University plans to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 and by 83% by 2050
  • Renewable Energy Initiatives: The University plans to invest $113 million to reduce CO2 emissions by 47,500 tons per year



Read more about the University’s energy plans at green.nd.edu. Excerpted from Sept. 21 press release: Notre Dame goal: No coal


  • Salt and Light12
    Salt & Light 4900
    The Amato Family: Fancy Pants 4910
    Holly Powers: The Power of One 4901
    Mike Anello: The Buzz 4908
    Karen Kenny: They Can’t Take That Away from Me 4902
    John Greenwald: Garage Band on a Mission 4904
    Kevin Kreutner: Adopting a Country 4906
    Matt Knott: The Circle of Faith 4909
    Stephen Keppel: What a Difference a Year Makes 4907
    Thomas Jindra: The Mustard Seed 4903
    Marissa Gebhard: The Buddy System 4905
    More Salt & Light 4911
  • Class Notes1
    Alumni Community: Class Notes 4935
  • Ask More of Business1
    Mendoza Student Leadership Association (MSLA) 4958
  • Mendoza News10
    AIMING FOR A Legacy 4836
    A Global Vision 4837
    Happy Feat 4891
    "I Raised My Hand" 4888
    Training Intuition 4887
    A Closer Look at the Numbers 4890
    Pie for Everyone 4898
    Chopstick Negotiations 4899
    That Gummy Bear is Calling Your Name 4892
    Mendoza Welcomes New Faculty 5087
    An Unplanned Return: Bill Schmuhl Jr. 4838
  • Mendoza Profiles3
    The Right Time 4929
    A Tanzania Adventure: Mt. Kilimanjaro 4930
    IT Girl 4933
  • Alumni Community5
    Alumni Community: Class Notes 4935
    Three Brothers/One Mission 4936
    Andria Seneviratne: A Leap of Faith 4937
    Perry Dellelce: A Canadian Ambassador For Notre Dame 4938
    Eric Huang: Fitting 4939
    In Memoriam 4940
  • First Person2
    Gulf Coast Motels and the Second Coming 4941
    Thoughts of Ted 4956