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University Commits to Paris Climate Accord

Glenn Rohrbacker, Editor in Chief

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Steven H. Kaplan, president of the University of New Haven, joined more than 1,000 U.S. governors, mayors, businesses, universities, and others in signing the statement, “We Are Still In,” which supports the environmental goals outlined in the Paris Climate Accord.

President Donald J. Trump announced that he plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement on Thursday, citing that it is a “bad deal” for America. The agreement was signed on November 4, 2016 by 194 countries.

This week, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the U.N. Secretary-General’s special envoy for Cities and Climate Change, submitted the “We Are Still In” declaration to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

“It is incumbent on all of us to take action to ensure that the planet will be a safe, healthy environment for our children, grandchildren and all future generations,” Kaplan said. “The University of New Haven has had a long-standing commitment to sustainable practices and remains committed to lowering its carbon footprint and working to preserve the environment.”

The “We Are Still In” statement says that the signers will, in the absence of federal support, continue to pursue ambitious climate goals, ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions, remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold global warming to under 2°C.

A special coalition of states, led by their respective governors, was launched on the night President Trump made his announcement. The first three states involved were California, New York and Washington, with now a total of 13 states participating, including Connecticut.

“As the federal government turns its back on the environment, New York and states across the country are picking up the mantle of climate leadership and showing the world it’s possible to address climate change while also creating good-paying careers,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York.

The University outlined examples of their attempts to be energy-efficient and focus on energy savings and sustainable materials. Celentano Hall, a LEED Gold certified residence hall, includes roof-top solar panels that students helped design and install. Westside Hall has been recognized by the Green Energy Council of Connecticut for energy innovation in institutional housing.

“Please join me in feeling proud of the campus we call home and which is helping to lead the charge toward preserving our beautiful environment,” Kaplan said in an email to students.

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University Commits to Paris Climate Accord