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By Tufts President John DiBiaggio

Climate Change and Civil Society: Acting Now to Protect Our Future Conference April 24, 1999

Tufts has a long-standing commitment to addressing environmental issues, and environment is one of our university signature programs. Tufts has a dozen graduate and two undergraduate environmental degree programs that address environmental science, environmental health, environmental technology and environmental policy. Our new Tufts Institute of the Environment coordinates these programs and events like this conference.

Civil society can often accomplish what government can not do or will not attempt. This is certainly the case for climate change. Our national government is moving slowly and some elements have vowed to block action entirely. Meanwhile, heat-trapping greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere, and evidence of rising temperatures, melting glaciers, sea level rise, increases in regional air pollution and rapidly altering ecosystems continue to accumulate.

Despite the existence of an international agreement that the United States and other industrial countries should reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, the glacial pace of implementation decreases the likelihood that the modest goals of the Kyoto Protocol will be met. It is therefore time for the individuals, environmental organizations, universities, churches and other institutions, municipalities and companies gathered here today to begin reversing our own ever-rising carbon dioxide and other industrial greenhouse gases.

I am pleased to join with several other organizations and companies today and publicly commit Tufts University to meet or beat the Kyoto goal of a seven percent reduction below 1990 in our carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2012.

The Tufts Climate Initiative has established our 1990 baseline emissions level, and calculated our current energy related emissions. Yes, unfortunately our emissions have risen. Our facilities managers and students have already begun to identify opportunities to lower our emissions through fuel switching, improved operations, and retrofitting of existing buildings. We are also exploring the opportunities for using passive solar and other renewables in some of our new construction.

As we embark on a new and sustained effort to address the critical issue of climate change, we look forward to working in partnership with utilities, corporations and other organizations to reduce our energy use and emissions.

In April 2002, Lawrence Bacow, Tufts’ new President, declared his support of the Kyoto goal and Tufts’ continued commitment to the environment.

Despite growth on all three campuses, Tufts reduced its emissions and met the Kyoto goal of a 7 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012. (Figure Below)

Tufts Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Energy Use