Earlier this fall, President Gibralter became one of the first college and university presidents to sign on to an expanded Climate Commitment, joining 45 other institutional presidents leading on climate action. This new expanded commitment is supported by Second Nature, a non-profit organization helping build a sustainable and positive global future through leadership networks in higher education.
In 2008, former president Lisa Marsh Ryerson '81 signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (now referred to as the Carbon Commitment), also administered by Second Nature; under the terms of that pledge, the Wells community developed and has been implementing its own Climate Action Plan. President Gibralter's renewed commitment for Wells to become a Climate Leader adds a new area of planning focus, the Resilience Commitment, to augment our prior carbon neutrality promise. This Resilience Commitment focuses on climate adaptation and community capacity-building to deal with a changing climate and resulting extremes.
As stated in the Climate Leadership pledge, President Gibralter acknowledges that "mitigation and adaptation are complementary strategies for reducing the likelihood of unmanageable change, managing the risks, and taking advantage of new opportunities created by our changing climate." We are currently working to collect data in order to calculate and submit our required 2015 Greenhouse Gas Emissions report in mid-January.
As part of our new commitment to planning for climate resilience, within a year, we must establish and actively support a joint campus-community task force to ensure alignment of the plan with community goals and to facilitate joint action. If you have interest in participating in this resilience planning process, please contact Marian Brown, director, Center for Sustainability and the Environment.
In advance of the COP 21 global climate talks in Paris, President Gibralter also signed Wells on to a coordinated pledge among higher education Climate Action Leaders, the White House, and the U.S. State Department. President Obama issued that shared commitment in an event on November 19th.