Wrighton ‘disappointed’ by Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement
On behalf of Washington University, Chancellor Mark Wrighton released a statement denouncing President Donald Trump’s June 1 decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris Agreement regarding climate change yesterday.
In 2015, 195 countries signed the accord, pledging to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Wrighton wrote that he is “disappointed” by Trump’s actions to disassociate from this “landmark agreement,” and reaffirmed that the University will continue to research and educate on climate change.
Wrighton also outlined specific ways that the University will maintain its existing environmental efforts, such as investing in energy efficient systems and renewable energy. The University will also continue to have the International Center for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability (InCEES), the Washington University Climate Change Program, the Environmental Studies Program, the Institute for Public Health, and the Office of Sustainability.
“Our faculty, staff and students will continue to focus our institutional leadership on issues of global sustainability here in St. Louis, across the United States, and around the world,” Wrighton said in the statement.
In addition to the existing Washington University programs and organizations, Wrighton recommitted to the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, a program involving 32 partner institutions around the world. Washington University is the only American institution in the program and has collaborated for over 10 years with the McDonnell Academy Global Energy and Environment Partnership; it will “remain a centerpiece of our international collaborations to address [environmental] challenges,” Wrighton wrote.
In terms of the Paris Agreement, Wrighton stated that University will strive to meet the original goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The University will also work with local government and industry partners as part of OneSTL, a group that is organizing regional plans for sustainable development.
“Washington University will remain committed to preparing the next generation of leaders to address the global challenges we face. Surely, advances in science and engineering will be needed to make progress, but we will also need leaders in business, urban and architectural design, social science, the humanities, and law and medicine,” Wrighton continued. “Indeed, the complexity and international nature of the global challenges will demand leadership from all disciplines and a willingness of our leaders to work across disciplinary boundaries. Washington University leaders will engage with others to achieve the best possible outcomes for the global community.”