Columbia Stands Behind Paris Agreement


Lerner Hall lit up green
Lerner Hall was lit up green this year in recognition of Columbia's new campus sustainability plan. Photo: Bruce Gilbert

The University confirmed its support for the Paris climate accord this summer, just four days after President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the landmark agreement.

Columbia joined Barnard College and 181 other universities and colleges, 125 cities, nine states, and nearly a thousand businesses in signing an open letter titled “We Are Still In,” crafted by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. Its parties promise to keep taking action to meet America’s previously stated greenhouse-gas emission targets under the Paris Agreement.

“Given Columbia’s singular involvement with issues of climate science, in every dimension and at every level, the University has assumed a special role in the efforts throughout the world to come to terms with the impact of climate change,” President Lee C. Bollinger said in a June 5 statement. “We have long worked with former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on sustainability issues, we have committed ourselves to reducing the University’s own carbon footprint, and we have divested our endowment from thermal coal producers. We are therefore compelled to join in supporting ongoing efforts under the Paris accord to hold warming to under two degrees Celsius and accelerate the transition to a clean-energy economy that will benefit our collective future.”