In a joint appearance on campus this week, Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron and New London Mayor Michael Passero ’79 pledged their commitment to tackle climate change.
The event, part of the "We Are Still In" initiative the College joined in June, and organized by CC Divest, a student-run environmental organization, brought the two leaders together to reaffirm their partnership in implementing the measures agreed to in the 2015 Paris climate accord. As part of the agreement, the Obama Administration set a goal of reducing the nation’s greenhouse emissions by 26 to 28 percent by the year 2025, although the Trump Administration announced in June that the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement. In response, states, municipalities and private organizations throughout the country have vowed to continue lowering carbon emissions and transitioning toward greater sustainability and reliance on renewable energy.
"Without strong support coming from the highest offices in this country, it is all the more critical for us to take responsibility for climate action in order to guarantee a livable planet for future generations. I am pleased to join the hundreds of college and universities leaders who have stepped forward to declare with one voice that We Are Still In on the Paris Agreement," President Katherine Bergeron said.
In May, Bergeron joined more than two dozen other college and university presidents by publicly endorsing the “Put A Price On It” campaign, which advocates the use of carbon pricing in an effort to reduce fossil fuel dependence and encourage investment in renewable sources of energy.
Bergeron also listed a series of efforts included in the College’s strategic plan, Building on Strength, and the Campus Master Plan that reflect Conn’s long tradition of being committed to environmental leadership. Just this fall, a new Campus Sustainability Planning Task Force was created to implement both short and long-term measures for reducing carbon emissions through the College’s first ever Climate Action Plan.
Bergeron said she looks forward to working closely with Mayor Passero and the city to advance their shared values of environmental justice.
"I'm also pleased that my friend and colleague Mayor Michael Passero, an alumnus of whom we are very proud, is here to say a few words about his commitment on behalf of the City of New London to sustain the actions outlined in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord," Bergeron said.
Before joining Bergeron for a brief question and answer session with students and faculty, Passero thanked the College for being such a strong partner, and mentioned several environmental initiatives the city is currently working on, including the construction of a solar farm on the site of a former landfill.
"New London and Connecticut College are very well positioned to be both leaders in and beneficiaries of the renewable energy industry," Passero explained. "As a port city, we will be key players in the construction of new wind power farms in the area, and these types of initiatives not only boost our local jobs market and economy, but they also give the College and the city the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of the sustainability movement," he said.