University presidents from around the nation in Atlanta to expand climate commitment

By Maria Saporta

Agnes Scott College will be the site of a major announcement Monday morning on an expanded commitment by U.S. colleges and universities to combat climate change.

Presidents ACIPCC

University presidents sign on to climate commitment – including Atlanta’s Agnes Scott College (Special: Second Nature)

Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College, said that in the past decade, nearly 700 institutions of higher learning have signed on to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC).

“Agnes Scott was a charger signatory in 2007,” Kiss wrote in an email on Sunday – attaching a media advisory for the Monday news conference Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature, which has been working on behalf of almost 700 universities and 4,000 faculty members and administrators in its network.

“Now, in the face of the growing need for immediate action in the face of climate change, we are expanding this commitment,” Kiss said of the Monday signing ceremony.

“The new Climate Leadership Commitment incorporates two distinct commitments: a Carbon Commitment (pledging to achieve carbon-neutrality) and a Resilience Commitment (pledging to work with our regions and communities to build resiliency in the face of new climate threats),” she added.

Elizabeth Kiss

Elizabeth Kiss, president of Agnes Scott College

At least 10 university presidents will inaugurate the new commitment with a signing ceremony and news conference on the Agnes Scott College campus Alumnae House Tea Room on Monday at 8 a.m.

So far, 45 of the nearly 700 signatories of the original commitment have already signed on to the new and expanded pact, a strong enough base for the university presidents to go public with their agenda.

Since 1993, Second Nature has played a critical role in mobilizing higher education to reduce carbon emissions and promote sustainability in university operations. The network engaged in their voluntary carbon neutrality commitment is the largest of its kind in the United States.

Responding to evolving climate realities, Second Nature has both updated its approach to climate action, and it has added a crucial new component: climate resilience.

The speakers at the news conference will include: Tim Carter, president of Second Nature; Agnes Scott College President Elizabeth Kiss; Ball State University President  Paul Ferguson; and Portland State University President Wim Wiewel.


Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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