Haeger joins university-powered team to address climate change

NAU President John Haeger recently joined a team of university leaders committed to reversing the effects of global warming.

Haeger is now a charter signatory of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, created as an avenue for university leaders to define and address the challenges of climate change.

Formed in late 2006, the goal of the group is for colleges and universities to model ways to minimize global warming emissions and to provide knowledge and the educated graduates needed to minimize or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

“Northern Arizona University is a leader in climate change research and curriculum, and now through an interdisciplinary team of faculty and students, we are assessing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our own campus,” Haeger said. “We are pleased to officially commit to developing the diversity of skills needed to reverse global warming.”

By signing early Haeger also assumes a role in the group’s Leadership Circle, which will eventually include up to 25 university and college presidents who will become the public face and lead supporters of the program.

Signatories are committing their institutions to:

  1. Develop a plan, within two years, to minimize or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions on campus, including an inventory of emissions, target dates, specific actions and tracking mechanisms as well as the education and research necessary for all students.
  2. Complete two or more specific actions from a list of initial steps to reduce greenhouse gases.
  3. Make their plans, greenhouse gas inventory and periodic progress reports publicly available.

According to the program overview, the Presidents Climate Commitment challenges the higher education community to play a role in addressing climate change, in reversing global warming and in providing support for American colleges and universities to minimize or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

Modeled after the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, this climate initiative seeks to identify at least 200 college and university presidents who will become charter signatories by June 2007. To date, 53 university and college leaders are charter signatories. The group hopes for 1,000 signatories by 2010.