The UW has become a member of the Leadership Circle of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, by which the University agrees to adopt policies that minimize global warming emissions and integrate sustainability more firmly into the curriculum, and also to provide leadership in encouraging other universities and colleges to join in the effort to address global climate change.
The commitment involves all three UW campuses. Chancellors at both UW Bothell and UW Tacoma have signed the commitment, along with UW President Mark A. Emmert.
"By signing this commitment," says Emmert, "the University of Washington agrees to develop a plan for achieving climate neutrality in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. We know that this commitment will pose some challenges. But the UW students, faculty, and staff are up to this challenge. We are already recognized as a leader in adopting sustainability practices on campus. Our faculty is recognized internationally for their work in studying climate change. It is time for us to fully embrace the responsibilities that our own research calls for."
By becoming a signatory to the Commitment, the UW agrees to create institutional structures to guide development and implementation of the plan for achieving climate neutrality, completing an inventory of all greenhouse gas emissions, and taking short-term tangible steps toward reducing greenhouse gases through changes in construction policies, purchasing policies, travel policies, transportation plans or investment policies.
The UW already has a strong track record in developing far-reaching plans for reducing energy consumption. It established an Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and adopted a Policy on Environmental Stewardship in 2004. The statement says, in part, "The University is committed to practicing and promoting environmental stewardship while conducting its teaching, research, and service missions as well as its facility operations in all of its locations." The committee is charged with developing measures of efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and the impact of activities in the area of environmental stewardship.