Environmental groups and activists urged Duke University to halt plans to build a natural gas heat-and-power plant on campus.
William Schlesinger is one of four former deans of Duke's Nicholas School for the Environment that oppose further investment in fossil fuels. Instead, they said, Duke should invest in solar power.
Because the university is prestigious it should "act boldly" to prevent future contributions to climate change, said Schlesinger
“The leadership that could be shown here on this campus will be influential in affecting policy across a wide range of society,” said Schlesinger. “And people are going to be watching as to what we do.”
University spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said solar power is not as affordable or reliable as natural gas, and Duke Medical Center needs uninterrupted energy, even during weather disasters and grid outages. Schoenfeld said the natural gas plant would still reduce the campus carbon footprint by 18 percent.