ACUPCC Climate Leadership Summit

Summit_group_shot_2On June 11-12, 2007, the leaders of nearly 70 colleges and universities gathered in Washington, DC for the public launch of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, a high visibility effort to make campuses more sustainable by garnering institutional commitments to reduce and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gas emissions.

To download the PDF of the ACUPCC Summary click the link below:

Download acupcc_summit_summary.pdf

This Climate Leadership Summit was the public launch of the program and included an inaugural dinner, Congressional meetings, a press conference, and panel discussions for presidents to share their own best practices. 

The Inaugural Dinner included a presentation on the urgency of action on global warming from noted climate scientist James Hansen.  The next day, Senator John Kerry, Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Jay Inslee and EPA Administrator Steve Johnson addressed the presidents, thanking them for their leadership and reiterating the importance of action on climate change.  Presidents led sessions to discuss implementation, outlining next steps and sharing what some are doing on their campuses.  At an afternoon session, Eileen Claussen, president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and Strategies for the Global Environment, told the presidents:
The climate debate has moved from focusing on what we know to what we must do.  Now, the challenge is to build a common understanding among the young and not-so-young alike… a common knowledge of what it is going to take to address this enormous problem… and a shared sense of responsibility on the part of today’s – and tomorrow’s – leaders.

The Climate Leadership Summit was covered by the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, and on the AP wire (with stories printed in 50 papers across the country, including Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, in Forbes, and in Kiplingers).  Environmental press including Grist and The Daily Green, and education press including Chronicle of Higher Ed and Inside Higher Ed, also picked up the story.  There were even 31 television stories, including CNN and stations in New York, DC, and across the country. 

To date, 302 presidents and chancellors are Charter Signatories of the Commitment.  Of those, 103 are part of the “Leadership Circle,” a group committed to actively recruit additional signatories among their peers.  This astounding result so early in the three-year program illustrates the willingness of these presidents to be the leaders of society’s response to climate change.  For the presidents, it is not only an environmental issue, it is also about the more immediate health of their institutions, their responsibility as civic leaders, and their promise as educators to train their students in the careers of the future.

After the Summit, the nonprofit program partners and working committees of presidents will continue recruitment of signatories and ongoing outreach to presidents and their staffs to ensure implementation of the pledges.  This includes distribution of best practices, networking of sustainability officers on campuses, and maintenance of web resources.  Presidents also commit to annual reporting, and the nonprofit partners helping the presidents coordinate this effort (AASHE, ecoAmerica, and Second Nature) will publicize the progress that these schools are making.  In addition, partners will work with the Campus Climate Challenge student activists, who will encourage additional presidents to sign this fall. 

The ultimate goal of the Commitment is to catalyze a broad, continuous higher education effort on climate change that serves as a model for other sector-wide collaborations and shows policymakers and other institutions that action now is possible and positive.  More information on the program, including a listing of signatories to date, is available at

Thank you to the sponsors of the Climate Leadership Summit and the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

Flora Family Foundation
The Bonwood Foundation
Saskai Associates
The Prentice Foundation
Environmental Defense
Haley & Aldrich
Fenton Communications
Trust for Public Land
2 Anonymous supporters
Sterling Planet (provided offsets for the event)

The ACUPCC is seeking support for the continued recruitment and implementation phase of the program from 2007-2009.  We would welcome the opportunity to provide a detailed proposal or presentation to interested investors.  Please contact Lee Bodner, Executive Director of ecoAmerica, at 202.457.1900 or [email protected]

Click here to see the coverage of the Summit in the New York Times on our blog.

To download the PDF of the ACUPCC Summary click the link below:

Download acupcc_summit_summary.pdf

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