Claremont McKenna College has joined a national higher education initiative to address global warming. The American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, signed earlier this month by President Pamela Gann, is a dual pledge to achieve climate neutrality on campuses and also to support the capability of society to do the same.
The Presidents Climate Commitment provides a framework for colleges and universities to achieve climate neutrality of no net greenhouse gas emissions. The initiative works on two levels, calling for commitment to specific steps such as construction polices that meet the U.S Green Building standards, energy efficient appliance purchasing, encouraging and providing access to public transportation, and purchasing or producing at least 15 percent of the institution's energy consumption from renewable sources; and includes actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability an integral part of the curriculum and educational experience and to expand research.
Gann said the climate initiative would provide an opportunity to model forward-looking public policy, excite and equip future leaders to address complex environmental problems, and bolster current CMC environmental policies. "What better place for responsibility and opportunity to connect than in the halls of higher education," Gann said. "The College's mission to prepare future leaders certainly encompasses the broad and vast challenges of environmental issues."
This work is already underway through the CMC Roberts Environmental Center, in which faculty and students collaborated in creating the Pacific Sustainability Index (PSI), a tool used to rate the environmental and sustainability reports of the world's largest corporations. Reports have already been issued across industry sectors including automotive, gas and electric, mining, chemical, medical, farming, and more.
In addition, at its May 2007 meeting the CMC Board of Trustees adopted a policy to design, build and pursue certification of all new buildings at a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) "Silver" level or higher. Other sustainability programs include recycling, transportation incentives, and more.
Gann joins 200 college and university presidents who will lead their institutions within two years to develop plans for achieving climate neutrality on their campuses. More than 1,000 institutions, including sister institutions Pomona College and Pitzer College, have or are expected to sign the commitment by 2009.
To learn more about the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment visit www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org, and visit www.roberts.cmc.edu to review the mission and work of The Roberts Environmental Center.