Opinion: The Climate Reality Project

Climate Reality Project Courtesy of Ryan Ellis
Members of the Climate Reality Project at the university make their case.

Last December, The Review published an article discussing recent developments in climate change. The article, among other things, highlighted the findings of the Fourth National Climate Assessment, which was released in Nov., 2018, as well as that report’s Delaware-specific implications.

Around the same time, Caleb Owens, The Review’s editor in chief, asked a question about whether these developments would lead to student-led protests regarding climate change. That question, however, has already been answered.

Last fall semester, several university upperclassmen signed up to join the Campus Corps of the Climate Reality Project. Founded in 2006 by former Vice President Al Gore, the Climate Reality Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for education about and the reversal of climate change across the country.

In the university’s chapter, students have been advocating for the university to go 100 percent renewable by 2030 by asking students to sign their petition. By the end of the fall semester, the chapter had reached 1,500 signatures — three quarters of their initial goal of 2,000.

This semester, we hope to take strides to promote a clean-energy future at the University of Delaware. We have garnered a student consensus that shows the environment is a priority at the university. Our administration should be taking steps toward renewable energy. We hope that our organization and our partnership with other on-campus environmental groups will help lead this change.

Members of the project are anticipating that the university will hear them out. Their hope is that 2,000 students saying they want renewable energy at the university will be enough to convince the administration that the greater student body wants a change.

Additionally, the project will be working with other on-campus organizations, such as the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Sustainability Task Force.

The university’s current plan follows the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. Signed in 2008, the plan intended to reduce the university’s emissions by 20 percent by 2020.

10 years later, the university has only reduced emissions by six percent, according to its latest greenhouse-gas emissions report. The project feels that the university should be held more accountable, both to their previous agreement and to a new commitment brought on by the student body.

With detrimental environmental catastrophes like wildfires, massive storms and other natural phenomena occurring more frequently, the time to act toward climate change is now. If we refuse to act soon, there will be no future to rebuild. There will be no future generations to clean up our mess — not unless we reverse the effect that our race has had on this planet before it is too late.

This op-ed was written by members of the Climate Reality Project at the university. Visit www.tinyurl.com/UD100 to sign The Climate Reality Project, University of Delaware Chapter’s petition for the University of Delaware to commit to a plan of going 100 percent renewable by 2030.

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