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UAlbany Supports President Obama’s American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge

UAlbany joins more than 230 campuses, representing 3.4 million students throughout the nation, to sign President Obama's pledge to mitigate the effects of climate change.

ALBANY, N.Y. (November 20, 2015) -- The University at Albany has signed on to participate in the American Campuses Act on Climate Change, a White House-led initiative that illustrates the critical role higher education plays in raising awareness about climate change and in enacting solutions. This pledge confirms UAlbany’s commitment to climate change research, education and implementation of sustainable and resilient practices. More than 230 campuses, representing 3.4 million students throughout the nation have also pledged to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The impact of climate change is already being felt worldwide. According to the White House, 19 of the 20 hottest years on record occurred in the past two decades. Countries and communities around the globe are experiencing deeper, more persistent droughts, severe weather, bigger storm surges, and more frequent and dangerous wildfires. Rising temperatures can lead to more smog, longer allergy seasons, and an increased incidence of extreme-weather-related injuries, all of which jeopardize public health, particularly for vulnerable populations.

The President’s Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than four years. This is in addition to the efforts of private companies, local governments, foundations and schools and colleges to reduce their carbon footprint.

UAlbany’s carbon reduction efforts include:

  • An annual energy campaign to promote conservation to reduce electricity use. In 2015, UAlbany had a 9.2 percent reduction, saving 1.1 million kilowatt hours and 441 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. Students led the way, saving 13.6 percent of energy in the residence halls, compared with 6.3 percent in academic buildings.
  • From December 19 to January 14, 2016, the University will conduct its 8th annual intersession energy initiative. This has produced annual reduction of approximately 1 million kilowatt hours and 12,000 MMBTUs, garnering a savings of $200,000. Similar to previous years, Phase I (December 19th through January 3rd), temperatures will be held at 55 degrees. During Phase II (January 4th through January 14th), temperatures will be raised to 68 degrees.
  • The Office of Parking Management and Transportation Services has also helped increase sustainability efforts on campus by operating five diesel electric-hybrid buses or 41% University’s bus fleet.
  • The University is also supporting energy reduction the transportation sector by signing on to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Workplace Charging Challenge, which aims to achieve a tenfold increase in the number of U.S. employers offering workplace charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) by 2018. UAlbany currently has two charging stations: one on the uptown campus and one on the downtown campus.

UAlbany’s efforts reflect measures taken by the public and private sectors in the United States that have enabled President Obama to set an ambitious but achievable goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by 26-28 percent by 2025 last November—and to do so alongside Chinese President Xi Jinping, who committed for the first time that China would peak their emissions by around 2030.

As President Obama said at the U.N. Climate Summit last September, “There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate.” The 2015 World Climate Summit will be held in Paris, beginning November 30th.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.