Presidents’ Climate Commitment

University President Susan Herbst signs UConn's climate action plan during the opening ceremony of CIMA on March 26, 2012.
University President Susan Herbst signs UConn’s climate action plan during the opening ceremony of CIMA on March 26, 2012.

“Climate Impact, Mitigation, and Adaptation: a Reflection on Our Future,” was a four day climate-centric event that occurred on March 26, 2012. The intent of CIMA was to engage all levels of the Storrs and UConn communities in productive discussions about the implications that a warming climate will have on our society and our environment. During the opening ceremony, President Susan Herbst signed UConn’s Climate Action Plan, an essential part of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC).

Back in March 25, 2008 University of Connectict President, Michael Hogan, signed the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC).  The PCC recognizes the unique responsibility that institutions of higher education have as role models for their communities and in training the people who will develop the social, economic and technological solutions to reverse global warming.  By signing the Commitment the President Hogan pledged that the University of Connecticut will work towards eliminating the Storrs campus’ greenhouse gas emissions over time.

In order to sign the PCC, the University first had to create a Climate Action Plan, which would describe what steps would be taken to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The CAP was created by Climate Action Task Forces, which was an eight member panel appointed by then-President Hogan to cover five categories of emission sources and strategies.

Former University President Hogan making the University of Connecticut a signatory to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which signifies UConn’s efforts to be climate neutral by 2050.

Former University President Hogan making the University of Connecticut a signatory to the Presidents' Climate Commitment, which signifies UConn's efforts to be climate neutral by 2050.
Former University President Hogan making the University of Connecticut a signatory to the Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which signifies UConn’s efforts to be climate neutral by 2050.

The University also had to perform multiple greenhouse gas inventories, such as one for the year 1990 to establish a baseline for intermediate goals and one for 2007, the year previous to the signing of the commitment. The greenhouse gas inventories are a compilation of all the greenhouse gas emissions created by the University in a given year and are compiled for each year and are reported to the PCC every other year.

In December of 2016, University President Susan Herbst endorsed UConn’s 2020 Vision for Campus Sustainability & Climate Leadship, which provides suggestions for reaching the goals outlined in our Climate Action Plan (CAP). At the same time, she also signed this letter to President-elect Donald Trump and Members of the United States Congress, urging for support of the UN’s Paris Climate Agreement, ongoing climate research, and investment in a low-carbon economy. The letter was signed by more than 220 college and university presidents across the United States.

“[An] important UConn value is our commitment to sustainability, especially when it comes to understanding and addressing the social, economic, environmental, and public health issues surrounding climate change. Colleges and universities can drive a prosperous, clean technology future through education, research, outreach, and our own low-carbon operations and innovations. We can lead by example. It is not enough to merely advocate for change – we should also be the change we want to see.”

~ Susan Herbst, President,
University of Connecticut