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March 3, 2020

Leading research universities collaborate to achieve climate resilience faster, better

Taking another step toward creating a comprehensive climate action plan, Rutgers University has joined the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), an alliance of 22 universities aiming to combat the effects of climate change.

UC3 is a coalition of leading North American research universities that is creating a collaborative model designed to help local communities achieve climate goals, accelerate the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and nurture community climate resilience.

The universities, located across the United States, Canada and Mexico, include a few of Rutgers’ Big Ten peers – University of Michigan, Ohio State University and University of Maryland.

“As a large public research institution with 70,000 students and 23,000 faculty and staff in a coastal state that is also the most densely populated in the country, we are keenly aware of the urgency of climate action,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said.

As a national leader in the study of climate change, Rutgers recognizes the need to leverage the expertise of the university’s scholars and educators and address the climate crisis in New Jersey, around the world and through the university’s operations, Barchi said.

“We are firmly committed to advancing climate improvement in the higher education sector, and we are enthusiastic about the opportunity to contribute to the University Climate Change Coalition,” Barchi said.

In the fall, the president announced the creation of a university Task Force on Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience, charging the group with developing a climate action plan that defines carbon neutrality in the context of the university community and outlines the steps needed to achieve this goal. The task force issued a report in January outlining an 18-month process to identify the strategies Rutgers will take to help stabilize the global climate by bringing the net human-caused carbon dioxide emissions to zero, and has held town halls across the university to elicit input from faculty, staff and students.

By joining UC3, Rutgers will share in a robust exchange of best practices and lessons learned in pursuit of reducing greenhouse emissions and building community resilience. Member universities share knowledge and experience with fellow coalition members, the higher education sector, their communities, and partners in the public and private sectors by serving as models for climate solutions and re-examining the scientific community’s research agenda to accelerate climate action.

“Our common vision is that the world’s great research institutions can, and must, lead on these topics,” said University of California President Janet Napolitano, who led the formation of UC3 and invited Rutgers to join the coalition.

UC3 is operates in close partnership with Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network, a group of hundreds of colleges and universities that have committed to taking action on climate.

“Congratulations to President Barchi and Rutgers University on joining the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), becoming the 22nd UC3 institutional member, and the first university in the state of New Jersey to do so,” said Timothy Carter, president of Second Nature.  “As one of the top public research universities in the country, we welcome them into the coalition knowing that this will allow them and the other schools to ratchet up climate ambition even further. We look forward to the perspective and expertise they will bring to their communities in New Jersey and across the three countries that are part of the University Climate Change Coalition.”