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Northwestern backs initiative on climate change

President Schapiro joins governors, mayors, business leaders to support Paris Agreement

EVANSTON - Northwestern University has signed an open letter to the international community to endorse actions being taken at the state and local levels to address climate change in support of the Paris Agreement.

President Morton Schapiro joined the presidents of other colleges and universities as well as governors, mayors and business leaders around the U.S. in signing the Grand Coalition Statement on the Paris Agreement and vowing “to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.”

In keeping with the educational values and mission of the University, Northwestern’s commitment to the agreement underscores efforts at the state and local levels to pursue a national commitment to remain “actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C.”

The joint statement is being promoted by Second Nature, an organization that has worked with more than 4,000 faculty and administrators at hundreds of colleges and universities to help make the principles of sustainability fundamental to every aspect of higher education.

Following is the full text of the agreement signed today: 

We Are Still In

Open letter to the international community and parties to the Paris Agreement from U.S. state, local, and business leaders 

We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, investors and businesses are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.

The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.

In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.

In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities and businesses representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2°C and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health. 

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