Johns Hopkins Adopts Climate Change Policy

The Johns Hopkins University will aggressively cut greenhouse gas emissions caused by its operations and seek to become a driving force in the development of solutions to climate change, President William R. Brody announced on July 24.

"Johns Hopkins is eager to rise to this immense challenge," Brody said in announcing the university's policy in an e-mail message to students, faculty and staff. "We must forge new knowledge, use that knowledge to develop and implement solutions, and pass along that knowledge so that our students will have the necessary tools to help solve our problems."

Brody cited what he called "near-unanimous agreement in the scientific community that the emission of greenhouse gases caused by human activity" is causing global warming.

"I believe that sustainable solutions to the global climate change problem will require both changes in individual behavior and cultural changes," he said. "Johns Hopkins will take a leadership role in discovering both practical and innovative changes and will promote their adoption."

Brody said the university will set an example through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions derived from university operations. Although he said the pace of reductions will be determined by such considerations as the availability of new technology and costs, he said that the pace will be timely and that the university's vision is carbon neutrality.

Johns Hopkins' contribution to solving some of the issues of climate change is also part of the grander vision. The university's new policy calls for Johns Hopkins to leverage its strengths in science, technology, public health and public policy to help find solutions to climate change on a global level. The university also wants to reach out to the Baltimore-Washington region to offer expertise and assistance on actions that can help reduce the carbon footprint of the entire area.

Another key element of the policy is Johns Hopkins' recognition that student involvement will be essential to successfully executing all of the university's strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Brody's announcement can be found at http://web.jhu.edu/announcements/faculty-staff/targetpage.html?baid=1568.

This article originally appeared in the 07/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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