CSU signs White House climate action pledge

Colorado State University has joined more than 200 American colleges and universities representing more than 3 million students to pledge support for strong international action on climate change.

The pledge, coordinated by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, was unveiled Nov. 19, ahead of the Conference on Climate Change in Paris. The Obama Administration is committed to building momentum and ensuring a variety of stakeholders are at the table to act on climate issues, including institutions of higher education.

“Colorado State is thrilled to be part of the American Campuses Act on Climate live stream event today,” said Lynn Johnson, Vice President for University Operations and chair of the President’s Sustainability Committee. “As the first institution in the nation to achieve a STARS Platinum designation for sustainability, we are proud to be leaders in the climate transformation movement.”

The institutions signing today’s pledge are also already taking significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase campus sustainability and resilience, and incorporate environmental action into academic curriculum.

These schools include historically black colleges and universities, religious institutions, women’s colleges, technical schools, community colleges, all schools in the Ivy League, and a variety of public and private universities located across more than 40 states.

Colorado State’s pledge includes:

  • Support for the goals of its Climate Action Plan, which calls for the university to reduce net carbon emissions 75 percent by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.
  • As part of its Master Transportation Plan, expanding the number of bicycle parking spaces on campus to 18,000 by Fall 2017 – representing 1.8 bike rack spaces for every car parking space. The University was just designated a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly campus by the League of American Bicyclists – one of only a handful in the nation.
  • In support of the sustainability-related majors and minors across all eight CSU colleges and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, creating opportunities for active and experiential learning in every major and in a broad range of co-curricular activities.
  • And, in collaboration with the University of Colorado Boulder, which also signed the White House pledge, supporting Future Earth, an ambitious 10-year global interdisciplinary initiative designed to support transformations toward sustainability by marshalling and coordinating the work of 50,000 climate researchers around the world. CSU and CU share the U.S. hub of Future Earth, one of only five such hubs on the planet.

According to the pledge, Colorado State recognizes that increasing pressures of a growing population and a changing climate make sustaining and enhancing the environment, ensuring human well-being and balancing economic growth from a social justice lens a top priority, one in keeping with the University’s land-grand mission and long history of environmental engagement.

Several CSU faculty and staff members, including Peter Backlund, assistant director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference that begin on Nov. 30 in Paris.

See the entire CSU pledge.