Climate change is happening, imperiling the hopes and dreams of students today. Our Climate, in partnership with the National Geographic documentary series, Years of Living Dangerously, calls on leaders in higher education to demonstrate support for a policy that has the power to reduce pollution and avert catastrophic global warming: a price on carbon. Putting a price on carbon creates a powerful incentive for individuals, communities, investors, and businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a clean energy economy.
College and university presidents can endorse carbon pricing by signing onto the letter below via this form. The letter will be shared with state and local lawmakers, the higher education community, and the public to garner support for this critical policy. Talking points about this effort are HERE, and visit our FAQ page HERE. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
As leaders of higher education institutions, we call upon our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of current and future generations by putting a price on carbon. We work to prepare our students for thriving futures, over which climate change casts a dark shadow of uncertainty. Putting a price on carbon pollution is an indispensable step we can take to effectively combat climate change.
Carbon pricing creates an economy-wide incentive to reduce greenhouse gases in economically efficient ways that can, if revenues are used wisely, benefit low-income households while stimulating job growth. The World Bank has endorsed carbon pricing as a way to accurately account for the external costs of emissions, like crop loss, flood damage, and medical treatments that result from heat waves and other climate change disasters. Thousands of businesses support carbon pricing for its transparent and predictable approach.
Dozens of countries and jurisdictions across the world have already enacted carbon pricing mechanisms, and the evidence is in: carbon pricing enables renewable energy to flourish, helps phase out polluting energy sources, and lowers emissions. A strong carbon price will rise quickly enough to work without burdening low-income and middle-class families, and won’t create new dependencies on profits from carbon-based energy.
It is time for the United States to lead on this defining issue of our time, and protect the health and well-being of current and future generations. By making carbon-intensive industries pay a fair share of the costs of their pollution, we will have cleaner air and healthier communities, and prevent the most devastating effects of climate change. We therefore ask our elected officials to proactively work to enact a carbon price on the state and national level.
In the Media
- President Valerie Smith of Swarthmore College endorses the initiative in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Inside Higher Ed, with 1.8 million unique monthly visitors.
- "Thank colleges for imminent carbon taxes" in Wired Magazine.
- Higher Education Today, a blog from American Council on Education.
- Two Huffington Post op-eds from President Oxtoby of Pomona College and Neil Leary of Dickinson College
- Featured in AASHE's newsletter
- Several local and campus newspapers, including Wesleyan University, Connecticut College, Loyola University Chicago, and Fordham University.
- Extensive social media coverage, as the news has been shared by Years of Living Dangerously (over 2 million followers) and Twilight actress Nikki Reed, among other organizations.
Leadership Circle Members
Bernie L. Patterson, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Biddy Martin, President, Amherst College
Jonathan D. Green, President, Susquehanna University
Sophia Howlett, President, School for International Training
Paul J. Fitzgerald, President, University of San Francisco
Michael B. Alexander, President, Lasell College
Donald J. Laackman, President, Champlain College