Millersville University along with 83 other colleges and universities across the United States, committed to carbon neutrality and resilience by becoming a Charter Signatory to the Climate Commitment. The Climate Commitment, a signature program of Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature, will require Millersville to build upon the Climate Action Plan that the University released in January 2016 by continuing to report on progress, collaborating with the surrounding community and by further integrating sustainability across the curriculum. To become a Charter Signatory of the Climate Commitment, schools had to sign between October 5, 2015 and Earth Day, 2016.
“The Paris Climate Agreement in December was a clear signal that the international community is ready to take action on climate change,” said Millersville University president, Dr. John Anderson. “By signing Second Nature’s Climate Commitment along with the other universities, we are demonstrating our intent to be part of that community.”
The Climate Commitment is one of three commitments from Second Nature. These are known jointly as the Climate Leadership Commitments, and include a Carbon Commitment (focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions), a Resilience Commitment (focused on climate adaptation and building community capacity), and a Climate Commitment that integrates both. The Carbon Commitment, formerly known as the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (or ACUPCC) has a track record of 10 years of success, boasts nearly 600 signatories, and has been used as a model for higher education climate action internationally. The Climate Commitment seeks to expand on that success and integrate resilience into the framework. In the U.S., these signatory institutions become part of the Climate Leadership Network, which comprises more than 650 colleges and universities in every state and the District of Columbia.
The Climate Leadership Commitments have created tremendous impact: A recent study from the University of New Hampshire and facilities solutions company, Sightlines, found that campuses that have signed the Carbon Commitment have 47% lower carbon emissions from purchased energy than non-signatories that are doing sustainability work on campus. Additionally, Climate Leadership Network signatories are over-represented in sustainability leadership rankings. For example, 100% of the Top 10 Sierra Club Cool Schools are signatories. Second Nature also recently worked with the White House to create and support the American Campuses Act on Climate pledge leading up to the COP21 international climate talks. Nearly 80% of the pledges were from Climate Leadership Network institutions—including Millersville University.