Dear President Eisgruber and members of the University Board of Trustees:
In light of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, we — the undersigned students, faculty, and recent graduates of Princeton University — urge you to sign on to the coalition statement by U.S. mayors, governors, college and university leaders, investors, and major businesses to continue supporting the Paris Agreement.
Princeton’s mission statement commits the University to work “in the nation’s service and in the service of humanity.” We believe that this purpose, which reflects an understanding that our present decisions affect the wider global community, should impel Princeton to redouble its efforts to engage with the serious problem of climate change.
Research by Princeton’s own scholars has shown the severity of climate-induced threats to human health, welfare, and the environment, as well as the difficulty of responding to climate change. As students, scholars, and practitioners, we understand that — especially in the absence of federal government leadership — involvement by major universities like Princeton can contribute significantly to solutions.
To its credit, Princeton has taken a leading role in addressing climate change. The Princeton Environmental Institute; Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment; Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; and many other forums on campus foster significant disciplinary and interdisciplinary dialogue, guiding the next generation of climate leaders. In February 2008, the University committed to its first Sustainability Plan. Through this and subsequent plans, sustainability has become the core component in campus expansion, energy systems, and a variety of Campus as Lab projects. The University has set ambitious goals to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, even as campus grows. Campus Dining has adopted an award-winning Earth-friendly menu that puts plants first, reducing students’ impact on the environment without sacrificing quality. Campus continues to promote ongoing ride-sharing programs and to prioritize waste reduction and water conservation in its landscaping, building design, and dining options. We recognize and commend the commitment shown by the administration and campus community; we also recognize that there is much more work to do.
However, we believe that the University can and should do more. We are disappointed to see that Princeton has not joined the 12 other presidents from the Ivy-Plus group in their June 5 statement of continued commitment to progress on climate change. We must not be left behind.
We believe that by committing to the Paris Agreement as part of the We Are Still In coalition statement, Princeton would — as one of the highest-profile universities in the United States — bring greater attention to how universities are mobilizing in response to Trump’s withdrawal decision. We believe that Princeton’s leadership would heighten climate change awareness among its vast and influential network of students, staff, alumni, and affiliates. Most importantly, we believe that Princeton’s involvement would be consistent with its most deeply held values.
Princeton Advocates for Justice
WWS Against Hate
Princeton Citizen Scientists (PCS)
Latino Graduate Students Association (LGSA)
Taiwanese American Students Association (TASA)
Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice (PSRJ)
Citizens' Climate Lobby, Princeton Chapter