I have drafted the basics of the petition that we would like to ask college and university presidents to sign. The goal is to have as many college and university presidents sign this "Presidents to the President" petition. The plan is to approach the charter signatories of the ACPUCC first and then introduce it to other signatories and other colleges.The petition would also be accompanied by a campaign and events on campuses to express support for the actions in the petition. We would approach organizations such as AASHE, Second Nature, 350.org, NWF and WWF to lead and organize this initiative. The language of petition is very rough here, and I would like to solicit advice on both the petition and the campaign. Our ability to pull this off really depends on if we can find some organization to lead the charge.
The extreme weather events of 2012 and the years immediately preceding
have illustrated the devastating impacts of global climate change, and
scientists predict that these and other adverse effects will only
worsen over time. Colleges and universities in America have been
making a concerted effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from
their operations and address climate change on their own campuses.
Since the formation of the ACUPCC in 2007, more than 600 college and
university presidents have signed the agreement and many non-signers
have formed their own strategies to address climate change. But as we
know, the ability of higher education to reverse the trend of climate
change is limited, and in the years since climate change first became
a recognized problem, we have seen little to no leadership from the
government of the United States to address this problem. There is no
issue today that threatens our collective future as much as this and
we recognize that immediate and strong action needs to be taken in
order to prevent the worst consequences predicted by current
scientists. We also recognize that action from individuals,
organizations, and local communities is insufficient; action needs to
be national, mandated, and ongoing. We, the presidents of these
colleges and universities, urge the President to publicly recognize
these well-established facts:
1. Climate change is real.
2. Its cause is anthropogenic and primarily the result of burning fossil
3. Urgent legislative action is needed at the federal level.
By failing to do 1-3 of the above, the United States has lost precious
time and placed the burden of the problem on our children. When future
generations are faced with the consequences of our inaction, it will
be too late to reverse the mechanism of climate change. Therefore, we
demand that the government of the United States take the following
immediate actions to forestall the worst effects of climate change:
1. Sign an agreement with the international community to set targets
and develop a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Institute a price on carbon.
3. Implement a coordinated effort to educate citizens about the
impacts of climate change.
We know that action is not only necessary to curtail the worst effects
of climate change, but that it will also make us a stronger, more
prosperous nation. Climate action can create jobs, stimulate
innovation, create more resilient communities, and improve our health
and well-being. There is much evidence that countries who have taken
seriously the challenge of climate change have remained competitive in
the global economy. We urge the government of the United States and
the citizens of this country to recognize the opportunity to rise to
the task and respond to this serious problem that threatens the
foundation of human civilization. If we don't, future generations will
forever look back at us as the generation that did nothing in the face
of overwhelming evidence of the perils we foresaw for them.