Modeled after the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment is challenging U.S. colleges and universities to help reverse global warming. The hope is to solidify commitments from 1,000 presidents and chancellors before December 2009. Institutions make the pledge to eliminate greenhouse-gas emissions over time by taking the following actions:
- Completing an emissions inventory.
- Within 2 years, setting a target date and interim milestone for becoming climate neutral.
- Taking immediate steps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by choosing from a list of short-term actions.
- Integrating sustainability into the curriculum and making it part of the educational experience.
- Making the action plan, inventory, and progress reports publicly available.
This commitment is being supported and implemented by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), Second Nature, and ecoAmerica.
The potential for universities and colleges to make a difference is significant. According to the program overview, “Tomorrow’s architects, engineers, attorneys, business leaders, scientists, urban planners, policy analysts, cultural leaders, journalists, advocates, activists, and politicians - more than 17 million of them - are currently attending the more 4,000 institutions of higher learning in the United States. Higher education is also a $317 billion economic engine that employs millions of people and spends billions of dollars on fuel, energy, products, services, and infrastructure. ... By creating and implementing plans to reduce their global warming impact down to zero within a generation, our campuses can drive the scientific innovation and public education necessary to catalyze rapid change.”
For more information, visit (www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org).