June 5, 2017 – Georgetown joined a group of leading universities across the country today to reaffirm its commitment in support of the Paris Agreement on climate change – continuing its work toward slowing the rise in the global average temperature and transitioning to a clean energy economy.
The Paris Agreement was signed by more than 145 countries in 2016.
“As a Catholic and Jesuit university, we believe caring for our environment is one of the most urgent moral and practical concerns of our time,” says Georgetown President John J. DeGioia. “In reaffirming this commitment, we seek to strengthen our ongoing efforts to bring the intellectual and spiritual resources of our community to bear on the important work of being ever more sustainable as a university and contributing to our environment in beneficial and concrete ways.”
“As institutions of higher education, we remain committed to a broad-based global agreement on climate change and will do our part to ensure the United States can meet its contribution,” according to the statement released by the leading universities.
In 2015, Georgetown joined 318 other institutions of higher education in signing the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge ahead of the United Nations climate negotiations in Paris that took place in November 2015.
Georgetown accomplished its goal of reducing its carbon footprint by at least 50 percent by the year 2020. The university achieved this ahead of time – in 2014 – through the use of Green e-certified renewable energy certificates.
In an effort to actively pursue efficiency and conservation, Georgetown works to achieve LEED Silver or higher certification for its new construction and major renovations.
Most recently the university achieved LEED Gold certification for the John R Thompson Jr. Athletic Center, which has contributed to a 24 percent decrease in emissions per square foot of campus building space in recent years.
Students also have created and participated in numerous sustainability efforts.
The global Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA), created by Daniela Fernandez (C’17), celebrated this past Earth Day by hosting its third annual Sustainable Oceans Summit.
The university also encourages involvement in student networks and initiatives such as Georgetown Environmental Leaders (GEL) and other campus orgnaizations.
This summer the university has taken on a major solar panel project that will be installed on six buildings at Georgetown to increase sustainability efforts, reduce costs and serve low-income residents in the city.