UM President Julio Frenk signed onto a declaration in support of upholding pledges under the Paris Climate Agreement.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 8, 2017)—The University of Miami has joined a growing list of U.S. cities, states, businesses and higher education institutions that are committed to implementing and upholding ambitious actions on climate change.
A coalition that includes The American Sustainable Business Council, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Sierra Club and others, coordinated an open letter for local, state, business and higher education leaders to declare that they will forge ahead in protecting the global climate in the absence of committed U.S. federal leadership.
On June 1, U.S. President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The 2015 Paris Agreement is lauded as a historic feat of global cooperation. The accord calls on its 195 original signatories—all countries except Syria and Nicaragua—to commit to reducing greenhouse emissions.
“The Paris Agreement is a forward-looking achievement of unified action by most countries against one of the most serious threats facing humankind,” tweeted President Frenk on June 1, just hours after Trump’s announcement. “Today, University of Miami reaffirms our commitment to research and work on climate change.”
The new coalition signatories represent more than 120 million Americans in 125 cities—from Los Angeles and Houston to Pittsburgh and Dubuque—and nine states, which contribute to more than $6.2 trillion to the U.S. economy. Businesses from varied industries, ranging from technology and media to retail and health, have also signed on, accounting for more than $1.4 trillion in total annual revenue and including over 20 Fortune 500 companies.
In addition to the University of Miami, the declaration includes more than 183 colleges and universities, including Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, Tufts University, George Washington University and others.
Universities have a valued role to play in developing innovative and sustainable ways to adapt and mitigate climate change impacts.
The Paris Agreement used the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released in 2013-2014, the most comprehensive analysis of climate change ever produced, as a basis for framing a sustainable future with reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Two University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science faculty joined hundreds of scientists from around the world to write the 5,000-page report. Ben Kirtman, professor of atmospheric sciences, was a coordinating lead author for the chapter on near-term predictions and projections in the IPCC’s fifth report, while Brian Soden, also a professor of atmospheric science, was lead author for the chapter on observations. Soden was also a lead author on the IPCC’s fourth assessment report, released in 2007, the same year the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
From his first months at the University of Miami, President Frenk has committed to using science to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. During his inauguration in January 2016, he said the University would increase its scientific research into climate change and its impacts.
“This is exactly the kind of transformative, global contribution that Miami can and should be making to the search for sustainable solutions,” he said.
Learn more about the University of Miami’s work on climate change.
— Jessica M. Castillo / UM News