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Stanford's Commitment to Progress on Climate Change

Jun 6, 2017

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Dear Members of the Stanford Community,

We write to let you know that Stanford has signed on to a statement on tackling climate change issued by a number of Ivy-Plus universities on Monday. We have included the statement text below. Our commitment to leadership on this issue remains undiminished.

Our work at Stanford includes developing sustainable operational practices for our campus, engaging in the research and education that will lead to improved understanding of the causes and effects of a warming planet, and developing solutions to slow climate change and mitigate its effects.

We undertake these efforts because we acknowledge the imperative. The scientifically documented rise in global average temperature has far-reaching implications for the environment, the economy, social stability, food security, human health and international relations. As part of our mission to contribute knowledge for the benefit of humanity, we and our peer research universities have an important role to play.

In our operations, we have taken a major step with the Stanford Energy System Innovations (SESI), which is reducing campus greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent. Thanks to our new solar plantand expanded rooftop panels, we are now obtaining 65 percent of campus electricity from solar and other renewable resources. Our campus-wide Sustainable Stanford movement, with initiatives like My Cardinal Green, is involving students, faculty and staff in efforts to reduce our personal environmental footprint. And we continually seek ways of doing more, and better.

In our academic enterprise, meanwhile, we have some of the world’s leading contributors to scientific and policy knowledge about climate. They are exploring carbon-removal technologies, more efficient batteries for storing renewable energy, implications of human displacement from sea rise, and numerous other urgent subjects related to the climate challenge. Our students are actively participating in coursework, research and public service to advance climate understanding and solutions, as well.

The Board of Trustees and then-President Hennessy articulated Stanford’s commitment to these efforts in a letter to the conveners of the Paris climate conference in 2015. Today we reaffirm the importance of these efforts and our resolve to make further progress.

We also are featuring on the Stanford website a collection of recent stories about how Stanford is contributing to the international scientific and policy discussions around climate change. We encourage you to take a look at the path-breaking work being done by students and scholars in our community. And we hope you’ll be inspired to consider anew how you will contribute, individually, to the sustainability of our planet.

Marc Tessier-Lavigne
President

Persis Drell
Provost

Affirmation of leading research universities’ commitment to progress on climate change

The following statement was released today by the presidents of 12 leading U.S. research universities, commonly referred to as the “Ivy-Plus” group.

June 5, 2017

In 2015, we were proud to be among 318 institutions of higher education in signing the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge, affirming our commitment to accelerate the global transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices on our campuses.

Today, we reaffirm that commitment, which is consistent with the Paris Agreement and recognizes the concerted action that is needed at every level to slow, and ultimately prevent, the rise in the global average temperature and to facilitate the transition to a clean energy economy. Universities have a critical role to play in reducing our own greenhouse gas emissions, continuing to advance evidence-based understanding of the causes and effects of climate change on the environment, the economy and public health, and developing solutions.

The scientific consensus is clear that the climate is changing largely due to human activity, that the consequences of climate change are accelerating, and that the imperative of a low carbon future is increasingly urgent. As institutions of higher education, we remain committed to a broad-based global agreement on climate change and will do our part to ensure the United States can meet its contribution.

Signed:

Christina Paxson, President, Brown University
Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University
Martha E. Pollack, President, Cornell University
Philip J. Hanlon, President, Dartmouth College
Richard H. Brodhead, President, Duke University
John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University
Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University
Ronald J. Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University
L. Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, Stanford University
Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania
Peter Salovey, President, Yale University

American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge (2015)

“As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health and are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low carbon future. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus.”

 

Contact Information

Christine H. Black
Associate Director, Communications
650.725.8240
ChristineBlack@stanford.edu

Devon Ryan
Communications Manager
650.497.0444
devonr@stanford.edu

Rob Jordan
Editor / Senior Writer
650.721.1881
rjordan@stanford.edu