Cornell administration reaches agreement with Cornell Kyoto Now! students

Harold D. Craft Jr., vice president for administration and chief financial officer at Cornell University, tonight (April 17, 2001) issued a statement affirming the university's commitment to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses:

I am pleased to announce the successful conclusion of detailed discussions between Cornell students comprising the Kyoto Now! movement and members of the Cornell administration. Throughout these discussions, which have lasted for several days and nights, we have shared a common goal: to highlight the essential reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases, not only in the United States but throughout the world, as an instrument for the curtailment of global warming. At all times, these discussions have been conducted in good faith by both sides. They have been substantive and creative, and they have brought about an increased sensitivity in the administration to the leadership role that the entire Cornell community -- faculty, students and staff -- can play in securing significant and demonstrable progress toward achieving the goals that have been articulated at the international level in the Kyoto Protocol.

Cornell scientists were among the first to bring the concept of global warming to the attention of the public, and they have remained in the forefront of activity on the international scene to secure the adoption of strategies that will make a positive difference in the shortest possible time. Through its leadership in teaching and research, the university can make its own statement via the example that we set and the goals to which we aspire.

As I have indicated in my prior correspondence with student leaders concerned with this issue, Cornell University has already undertaken a series of significant programs and projects that have resulted in the substantial curtailment of emissions growth attributable to campus activities. Because of these actions, current carbon dioxide emissions are approximately 150,000 tons lower than they would otherwise have been. The relamping of campus buildings, the implementation of the Lake Source Cooling project, and the renovation of campus heating and ventilating systems are among the many campus actions that have contributed to reduction in greenhouse gases. These projects, and others like them, will continue in the months and years ahead. We will intensify our efforts as we go forward, and we will reach out to other colleges and universities throughout the nation and encourage them to take a similar leadership role and share their experiences.

We recognize and accept the principle that actions must be taken locally as well as globally, and that the leadership that Cornell University can provide will be an important factor in the continuing national debate over this issue. Let there be no mistake about it: the attainment of a reduction by 2008 of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions attributable to campus activities to levels 7 per cent less than what they were in 1990 will not only be very difficult, it may be unable to be reached despite our best efforts. Nonetheless, the standards established by the Kyoto Protocol serve as a standard for communities as well as nations to emulate. With this in mind, I hereby commit Cornell University to do everything within its ability, consistent with the University's obligations for teaching, research, service and extension, to implement the Kyoto Protocol standards and to issue a regular report on our progress.

Cornell University has made substantial progress in the past, but the attainment of this goal in the future will not be easy. In the immediate years ahead, the university foresees the construction, renovation and expansion of additional campus facilities, such as Duffield Hall, the proposed Life Sciences Technology building, Stocking Hall, Plant Science, and the residential buildings on North and West Campus, that will have significant implications for energy consumption on campus. It is imperative that we work together to identify as many offsets as possible to reduce the emissions attributable to these and other campus facilities. On behalf of the Cornell University administration, I commit to do so.

In the days ahead, and in consultation with the Cornell Greens and the Cornell Center for the Environment, I will form a university committee that will include faculty, students and staff and that will advise me on the implementation of our commitment. Representatives from such student organizations and governance groups as the Cornell Greens and the Cornell Student Assembly will participate in this active, working committee. I will assign key staff members to facilitate the committee's work and to expedite its deliberations. I will charge this group with monitoring the University's commitment to make its best efforts to achieve the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol standards and identifying additional steps that can be taken to make the attainment of this objective a reality.

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