Johns Hopkins to join other universities in signing Act on Climate pledge

Action builds on existing commitment to reduce JHU's carbon footprint

Johns Hopkins University will join colleges and universities across the nation today in signing the Act on Climate Pledge, building on an existing commitment to reduce the university's carbon footprint. Specific items in the pledge commit Hopkins to increase energy efficiency; conserve resources; and continue to foster groundbreaking research in the fields
 of climate change, public health, energy and sustainability.

An official announcement by the White House Council on Environmental Quality was planned for 3 p.m. today.

The pledge reads, in part:

As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action. We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community's economic prosperity and public health. We believe that research universities play a critical role in developing solutions to climate change and in finding new ways to meet growing energy demands while sustaining the environment. Today, the Johns Hopkins University pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campuses.

JHU student groups, including Students for Environmental Action, organized to draft the pledge and submit it for review to the office of university President Ronald J. Daniels.

"It was a very fast-moving process, so it's exciting that President Daniels took the time to review the pledge and ensure that we added our voices to the national—and global—conversation," said Ashley Pennington, Program Manager for the JHU Office of Sustainability.

Specifically, Johns Hopkins has agreed to:

  • Reduce institutional greenhouse gas emissions 51 percent below our 2008 baseline by 2025. 

  • Reduce energy consumption across our campuses and facilities, and pursue clean-energy
opportunities wherever possible. 

  • Increase energy efficiency, implement strategies to conserve resources, and identify continued 
areas of improvement in the areas of waste, transportation, social equity, and food justice and nutrition. 

  • Implement broad-based, holistic programs that foster sustainability education and engagement
across academic disciplines, and encourage participation from students, faculty members, staff
members and other constituents. 

  • Continue to foster groundbreaking research with the potential for significant impact in the fields
 of climate change, public health, energy and sustainability. 

  • Use the university's campuses as living laboratories for experimental and experiential programs
that enhance campus sustainability and improve surrounding communities. 

  • Critically track progress and continually refine metrics and climate action strategy with the aim
of raising the bar and serving as a model for the university's peers in higher education and for
local, regional and national organizations. 

  • Continue to provide sustainability leadership for the Baltimore community by facilitating collaboration across the higher education sector and with local community groups and networks. 

  • Sustain community-based projects and programs that improve institutional sustainability, while
also engaging with and supporting the city in which we learn, work and live. 

  • Embed sustainability practices and principles into the culture of the university.

For more information on sustainability and green initiatives at Johns Hopkins, visit the Office of Sustainability website.

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