If the Trump administration won't lead on climate change, universities will
Research and education should be geared towards tackling climate change, universities said. Source: Shutterstock

The Trump-led US may no longer be the world’s leader in fighting climate change, but its universities aren’t giving up without a fight.

Thirteen North American Universities pledged their support to help fight climate change through its University Climate Change Coalition, which will commit their research and resources to “help communities accelerate climate action”.

Each institution will host a forum in 2018, which will bring together business and political leaders, while the coalition, dubbed UC3, will release a report listing the best practices policies and
recommendations gathered from the forums, Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California announced yesterday.

“The University of California system is thrilled to partner with this group of preeminent research universities on an issue that has long been a major strategic priority for all of our institutions,” said Napolitano at the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit.

“No one is better positioned than we are to scale up research-based climate solutions.”

The participating research institutions span three countries: the United States, Canada, and Mexico:

Arizona State University
California Institute of Technology
Tecnológico de Monterrey
La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
The Ohio State University
The State University of New York
The University of British Columbia
The University of California
University of Colorado, Boulder
University of Maryland, College Park
The University of New Mexico
The University of Toronto
The University of Washington

All pledge to reduce their carbon footprints and help communities reach their climate goals in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Under2 MOU for subnational climate leaders.

“The UC3 coalition believes that addressing climate change is an area where some of the world’s greatest research institutions can, and must, lead,” Napolitano said.

UC3 will partner with the Climate Leadership Network, where more than 600 US colleges and universities have committed to climate action and preparing students to solve the challenges of the 21st century.

Last November, 15,000 scientists from universities and research institutes in 184 countries published a “warning to humanity” to curtail environmental destruction and man-made climate change.

The World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice, published in the scientific journal BioScience, expressed concern over the “current trajectory of potentially catastrophic climate change due to rising GHGs [greenhouse gases] from burning fossil fuels.”

It follows an initial warning from the Union of Concerned Scientists in 1992 which cautioned that “a great change in our stewardship of the Earth and life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided”.

Speaking to CBC NewsProf William Ripple from Oregon State University’s College of Forestry who started the campaign said the “the trends are alarming, and they speak for themselves.”

For 25 years since the 1992 warning, “humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse.”

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