Clark University, MA President Signs National Climate Commitment Pledge

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Clark University, MA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: Adopted on 6/14/07

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Clark University President Signs National Climate Commitment
More than 250 colleges and universities pledge to meet, promote ‘green’ goals

On June 14, Clark University President John Bassett signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment placing Clark among the vanguard of higher education institutions pledging to tackle the challenges of global climate change.

Clark University joins more than 250 institutions across the country that pledge to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on campus and to promote innovation in scholarship and research. Other Worcester colleges participating in the pledge at this time include Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State College.

“For many years Clark has been fully committed to having all economic development take place within environmentally sustainable parameters,” said Clark University President John Bassett. “The Presidents Climate Commitment is very well aligned with Clark’s values and signifies our concern that today’s global climate change threatens life on our planet more seriously than ever before.”

The pledge commits institutions to complete an emissions inventory within one year and to set a target date and interim milestones within two years for becoming climate-neutral. Immediate steps will be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The institutions must also integrate sustainability into the curriculum—already a long established hallmark of the Clark educational experience. Campus administrations will also make their commitment plans, inventories and progress reports available to the public.

Among Clark’s longstanding efforts in sustainability are “green design” building standards in construction, the Campus Sustainability Initiative (CSI), Clark Energy Awareness Program (CEAP), the Choose Renewable Energy Program, and several recycling programs to educate, motivate and inspire the Clark Community to use resources wisely.

The American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment pledge reads, in part: “We, the undersigned presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities, are deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects. We recognize the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is largely being caused by humans. We further recognize the need to reduce the global emission of greenhouse gases by 80% by mid-century at the latest, in order to avert the worst impacts of global warming and to reestablish the more stable climatic conditions that have made human progress over the last 10,000 years possible.

“While we understand that there might be short-term challenges associated with this effort, we believe that there will be great short-, medium-, and long-term economic, health, social and environmental benefits, including achieving energy independence for the U.S. as quickly as possible.

“We believe colleges and universities must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to minimize global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to achieve climate neutrality. Campuses that address the climate challenge by reducing global warming emissions and by integrating sustainability into their curriculum will better serve their students and meet their social mandate to help create a thriving, ethical and civil society. These colleges and universities will be providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to address the critical, systemic challenges faced by the world in this new century and enable them to benefit from the economic opportunities that will arise as a result of solutions they develop.

“We further believe that colleges and universities that exert leadership in addressing climate change will stabilize and reduce their long-term energy costs, attract excellent students and faculty, attract new sources of funding, and increase the support of alumni and local communities.”