The U. of I. took on a leadership role to more actively respond to global climate change when Interim Chancellor Barb Wilson signed Second Nature’s Climate Resilience Commitment on Feb. 9.
The U. of I. is a charter signatory of the Second Nature Climate Commitment, which combines a Carbon Commitment the campus signed in 2008 with the newly signed Resilience Commitment. The full Climate Commitment acknowledges that the effects of climate change are already felt – and that universities and colleges must pursue both mitigation and adaptation to combat the unfolding crisis.
By adding the Resilience Commitment, U. of I. has made a pledge to evaluate campus vulnerabilities to a changing climate in its landscapes, natural resources and energy production – and to make an action plan that addresses those weaknesses.
In 2015, the U. of I. released an updated Illinois Climate Action Plan, reporting its progress toward emissions reduction and other campus sustainability goals and outlining a new path to reaching net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible – no later than 2050.
“While the iCAP is a plan for how campus impacts the atmosphere and climate, the resilience plan will be about how the campus reacts to atmosphere and climate change,” said Evan DeLucia, the director of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy and Environment.
“Signing the Resiliency Commitment is a natural extension of our efforts to carefully steward university resources. By planning ahead, we can prepare for a range of potential challenges presented by climate change – whether social, financial or ecological,” Wilson said. “We’re positioning ourselves to be the kind of nimble and responsive university that can deliver on our educational and research missions for generations to come.”