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Nov. 18, 2015

The University of Washington has joined schools across the country in signing on to a White House climate pledge.

The American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge is part of the Nov. 19 White House and Higher Education Climate Day of Action. The White House and the State Department will bring together leaders from higher education institutions to call for action on climate change and encourage a strong agreement at the upcoming Paris Climate Change Conference of world leaders.

The UW is strongly committed to a sustainable future and a reduction in carbon emissions. UW’s Executive Order No. 13 says that the university is committed to establishing programs that excel in environmental education and guiding investments that optimize the living and built campus environments.

The UW’s Climate Action Plan calls for a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020 and a 36 percent reduction by 2035. This spring, the UW Board of Regents voted to divest from coal companies and reaffirmed the importance of the University’s wide-ranging sustainability efforts.

The University of Washington recently started a partnership with Seattle City Light which is providing funding for renewable energy work at UW, allowing the university to develop renewable energy projects, produce educational outreach materials, and create opportunities for faculty and student collaboration.

As part of the Climate Day of Action on Nov. 19, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will participate in a Facebook live event starting at noon with YouTuber Emily Graslie, the Chief Curiosity Correspondent of The Field Museum in Chicago, to answer questions from students across the nation. Members of the UW community can watch the streaming event at www.facebook.com/GinaMcCarthyEPA. UW Sustainability will also be hosting a viewing of the streaming event at our office in Gerberding Hall B40.

Students can also pledge to take action at the new Defend Our Future climate change campus campaign site. Defend Our Future asks people to take simple but substantive actions to prevent climate change.

The UW's American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge language is below. For more information on the UW’s sustainability efforts, see green.uw.edu.


Pledge:

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. Although we are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low-carbon future, we recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campuses.   

At the University of Washington, sustainability is in our nature. The UW recognizes that environmental stewardship and sustainability are integral parts of the university’s mission, and  pledges to take action to work toward a sustainable, low-carbon future. Those actions include:

  • The UW is a charter signatory of the American College & Universities Climate Commitment, and our Climate Action Plan calls for a 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels by 2020 and a 36% reduction by 2035. 
  • Through a partnership with Seattle City Light, the UW is working to develop renewable energy projects, produce educational outreach materials, and create opportunities for faculty and student collaboration.
  • As expressed in UW’s Executive Order No. 13, UW is committed to establishing programs that excel in environmental education and guiding investments that optimize the living and built campus environments. 
  • UW is a signatory of the Washington Business Climate Declaration and encourages using energy efficiently, investing in cleaner fuels, advancing renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
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