Middlebury College President Laurie Patton has joined more than 1,000 U.S. business leaders, colleges and universities, governors, mayors, and investors in continuing to support climate action that will meet the Paris Climate Agreement. According to “We Are Still In,” the statement reflects “the broadest cross section of US subnational leaders ever yet assembled in support of the Paris Agreement and its continued implementation.”
The action is in response to President Donald Trump’s June 1 announcement that the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord. The global agreement reached by 195 countries in 2015 sets targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting the rise in average global temperatures.
Middlebury is one of 318 colleges and universities who joined the White House’s American Campuses Act on Climate initiative in 2015, which was designed to “amplify the voice of the higher-ed community in support of a strong international climate agreement in the United Nations COP21 climate negotiations in Paris.” That group of signatories represented more than four million students.
“Our voice and leadership in combating climate change are more important than ever,” said Patton. “Signing this agreement with higher ed., business, and government leaders from across the country reinforces our long-held commitment to modeling change through education, research, and action.”
In 2016, Middlebury marked a milestone in its work to develop sustainable practices when it announced that the College had reached carbon neutrality through a sustained campaign of pursuing renewable energies, biomass, energy efficiency in new structures, conservation renovations in existing buildings, and forest carbon credits.
“Like the others who are ‘still in,’ we are not standing still and will continue on the path to a low-carbon economy and more sustainable future as a local member of a global community,” said Nan Jenks-Jay, dean of environmental affairs.
Since Trump’s announcement to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, 211 mayors have adopted the Paris Agreement goals for their cities, 13 Governors have formed the bipartisan U.S. Climate Alliance, and 17 governors have released individual statements standing by Paris.
The web site for We Are Still In, including the full lists of signatories, can be found here.