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Universities as Drivers of Climate Action

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Universities, photo by Dayne Topkin

Universities play a critical role in enhancing sustainability and driving climate action in their campuses and communities, locally and globally. As leaders in research, analysis, innovation, and education, universities are uniquely positioned to impact not only policy outcomes, but educate the future leaders of tomorrow, and convene communities of stakeholders to better understand solutions. The University of Maryland leverages its strength as a Tier-1 Research University to foster a robust exchange of best practices and lessons learned in pursuit of accelerating local and global climate solutions.

The University of Maryland’s goals to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2020, and a 60% reduction by 2025, and carbon neutrality for all scopes of emissions by 2050 is an example of its sustainability leadership. And as a member of the We Are Still In (WASI) coalition and Research Lead for the Universities Climate Change Coalition (UC3), these commitments show how universities play a key role in reducing emissions through their own carbon footprint as well as setting an example for other actors. CGS is exploring how universities can harness their natural, neutral convening power to drive cross-sector, collaborative policy making and serve as a test-ground for ambitious policy and ideas.

  • The University Climate Change Coalition (UC3): The University of Maryland, managed by the School of Public Policy, is part of UC3, a bold new coalition of leading North American research universities that will prototype a collaborative model designed to help local communities achieve their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. University of Maryland serves as the research lead for UC3 with a number of CGS faculty and staff working to fulfill this commitment.
  • Building Resilient Communities in Maryland: CGS is working within the State of Maryland to inform county and city comprehensive resilience planning by providing needs and priority analysis, insight into planning frameworks, and techniques for robust stakeholder and public outreach. CGS is working with the Community Resilience Financing (CRF) program to pilot this comprehensive, collaborative approach in Annapolis, MD.
  • Global Sustainability Initiative (GSI): The Global Sustainability Initiative, jointly funded by 11 campus units at the University of Maryland, is a cross-disciplinary, campus wide project focused on near-term steps toward long-term sustainability goals. CGS coordinates this initiative by leveraging internal and external stakeholders to push the boundaries of sustainability and climate-related research to become even more impactful in and around our communities. 

Related Publications

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School Authors: Nathan Hultman, Leon Clarke, Christina Bowman, Morgan Edwards, Yiyun 'Ryna' Cui

Other Authors: Carla Frisch, Kevin Kennedy, Paul Bodnar, Pete Hansel, Tom Cyrs, Michelle Manion, Jessie Lund, Joel Jaeger, Andrew Clapper, Arijit Sen, Devashree Saha, Michael Westphal, Wendy Jaglom , Juan Carlos Altamirano, Maggie Dennis, Kareem Hammoud, Christopher Henderson, John O'Neill, Emily Goldfield , Nathan Hultman, Leon Clarke, Christina Bowman , Morgan Edwards , Yiyun 'Ryna' Cui