American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge
Upstate Medical University joined 217 campuses representing 3.3 million students across the country in committing to take action on climate by signing the American Campuses on Climate Pledge. This states, "As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community's economic prosperity and public health and are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low-carbon future. Today our school pledges to accelerate the transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus."
This effort intends to build momentum for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change occurring in Paris November 30 - December 11, 2015. Attended by the President of the United States and other world leaders, the conference objective is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all nations.
Many of the institutions signing the pledge are also already taking significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase campus sustainability and resilience, and incorporate environmental action into their academic curriculum. More information on the pledge.
Interim President Gregory Eastwood sent the following letter on behalf of Upstate Medical University:
SUNY Upstate Medical University applauds the monumental progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement at the upcoming United Nations Climate Negotiations in Paris. Although we are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low-carbon future, we recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community's economic prosperity and public health.
Our university pledges to continue our aggressive transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across our campus. As an academic medical university, we clearly understand the interrelationship between a healthy environment and a healthy body. For our university, we must take on a two- pronged approach to this global problem: minimize our consumption and maximize on campus carbon-free generation; and actively work with our energy providers to purchase electricity from low-carbon sources.
Specifically, SUNY Upstate Medical University will:
- Reduce our overall energy consumption by at least 20% by 2020, using a 2010 base year.
- Perform all new construction and major renovations following the principals of LEED with a focus on maximizing energy conservation within these projects.
- Continue the transformation of our grounds from groomed lawns to low-maintenance landscapes.
- Continue our program of overall waste reduction by 20 percent while increasing the recycle rate of waste generated to over 50 percent.
- With the limited space available on the campus, construct solar arrays to produce over one megawatt of electricity or two percent of our total annual consumption.
- Pursue purchase of off-site sources of low carbon/no carbon electricity to replace purchased electricity from high carbon sources.