President signs on to make climate change progress

Jason Koski/University Photography
On April 18 students place price tags on trees in the Arts Quad that highlight the dollar value of the ecosystem services the trees provide, including energy savings, intercepting storm water runoff, air quality improvements and greenhouse gas reductions. Students were taking part in the course Creating the Urban Eden in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack and the presidents of 11 other major U.S. research universities known as the “Ivy-Plus” group signed the following statement that was released today:

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


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

The American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge of 2015 reads:

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.