April 19, 2024

Wittenberg President Laurie Joyner signed the American University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (AUPCC) climate action plan, endorsing the plan together with the Sustainability Task Force. Assistant Vice President of Physical Plant, Michael Brady, is also listed as plan Implementation Liaison on the AUPCC web site.
Associate Professor Languages, Ruth Hoff, explained that when Joyner first came to the University, Hoff met with her to inform her of the efforts Wittenberg was making towards sustainability, and told her that the school was a signatory to the President’s Climate Commitment. Hoff explained that Joyner “stipulated that any climate action plan that moves forwards has to be credible. She wanted to get feedback from the Physical Plant and make sure that it was something that seemed doable within the budget constraints what we’re under right now. And she was convinced by it and agreed to re-sign.”
David Wishart, associate professor of economics, played a leading role in creating this document to present to Joyner.
The agreement maps out how we hope to achieve climate neutrality. Hoff explained that the process of becoming carbon neutral, an aspect of climate neutrality, “actually takes several decades. Part of it is to implement a tree-planting program with first year students. Part of it also is doing things like light retrofits, taking low efficiency light bulbs and replace them with things like compact florescent lights that are more efficient. The other part in these early years are some of the behavioral pieces, like we have to dorm energy competitions coming up in October-November, and there’s a recycling competition. To try to get people to become more aware and try to use less and conserve energy and things like that. ”
Associate professor of geography and environmental science Sarah Fortner explained that “Dr. Joyner’s signing of the Climate Commitment corresponds with the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, a synthesis of global climate science.” Highlights of that report are that “1. ‘Each of the last 3 decades have been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850’ 2, ‘Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide. 3. The rate of sea level rise since the mid 19th century has been greater than the rate since the previous two millenia.”

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