CSU, Chico Among First Schools in the Country to Make ‘Climate Neutral’ Commitment to Reverse Global Warming

Jan. 16, 2007

Joe Wills

CSU, Chico Among First Schools in the Country to Make ‘Climate Neutral’ Commitment to Reverse Global Warming

California State University, Chico is one of the first campuses in the nation to sign a long-range commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become “climate neutral” in its effect on the environment.

Green CampusIn December, CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg joined six other top campus executives in signing the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The other campuses represented were Arizona State University, Cape Cod Community College, College of the Atlantic, Lane Community College, Oberlin College and the University of Florida.

The ACUPCC calls on campuses to have a complete inventory of greenhouse gas emissions by one year, and an action plan in two years leading toward climate neutrality, which means utilizing renewable energy sources and other options to have a neutral impact on the environment.

As a founding signatory of the ACUPCC, Zingg has pledged to encourage other campuses to increase their environmental awareness and stewardship to reverse global warming. A letter went out from Zingg and 11 of his colleagues last month to about 380 college and university presidents urging them to sign the commitment document. The ACUPCC hopes to have 200 campus presidents signed on by June 2007.

“The leadership by President Zingg and Chico State to become one of the first universities to commit to greatly reducing and eventually neutralizing greenhouse gases is an extraordinary commitment to dealing with the defining challenge of the 21st century – reversing global warming,” said Anthony Cortese, co-director of the ACUPCC and co-coordinator of the Higher Education Associations’ Sustainability Consortium. “Moreover, President Zingg’s willingness to found the Leadership Circle of presidents to encourage their colleagues around the country to join in making this historic commitment to climate neutrality is a great act of courage.”

Cortese, a leader in the campus sustainability movement and president of Second Nature, was keynote speaker in CSU, Chico’s sustainability conference last year, the largest conference of its kind in the country.

“Being one of the founding members of this group underscores not only our commitment to practice the sustainability values we advocate, but also to provide institutional leadership in these matters,” Zingg said. “As our mayor and City Council recently did with a similar measure, signing this commitment demonstrates our alignment with our local community and emphasizes that addressing environmental challenges requires dedicated partners and bold action.”

The ACUPCC calls on campuses to take actions that are already underway at CSU, Chico, such as establishing that new construction meets environmentally conscious “LEED” standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, and beginning to inventory greenhouse gas emissions.


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