President’s Statement on Climate Change Initiatives

June 5, 2017

To the Yale Community,

Yale remains steadfast in its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change—among the gravest challenges our world faces in the 21st century. Yale is dedicated to pursuing these goals through outstanding research, scholarship, and teaching. Furthermore, we will continue our efforts to build a sustainable, environmentally responsible campus that is a model for other communities.

Yale has joined Johns Hopkins University and several of our peer schools in signing the Affirmation of University Commitment to Global Progress on Climate Change. This statement reiterates Yale’s longstanding pledge to address the threats posed by climate change. I encourage every member of the Yale community to read the statement, available here.

Yale’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a more sustainable campus predates the Paris Agreement. Since 2005, we have reduced our greenhouse gas emissions by 24 percent. In 2015, in response to a White House call to action, Yale signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge, agreeing to accelerate our transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices across the university. As part of these efforts, Yale’s campus will be carbon-neutral by 2050.

Scholarship and teaching are the bedrock of Yale’s environmental efforts. Students and faculty in our School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and in many other schools and programs are helping us better understand and respond to complex environmental problems. The scientific and evidence-based research taking place at Yale will enable us to address climate change and its related effects on both a local and global scale.

Yale’s Sustainability Plan 2025 details our institutional commitment, and recent milestones reflect progress in many areas. Yale was the first university to pilot a carbon charge program and the first academic member of the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. These initiatives are part of our commitment to serving as a “living laboratory” for carbon pricing—a market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Next month, we will implement a carbon charge. A 350,000-square-foot photovoltaic solar array on West Campus is the largest rooftop solar installation in Connecticut. And we are developing a transportation plan that encourages biking, walking, and public transit on and between our campuses. Our goal is to develop practices that can be shared with other institutions, businesses, and communities.

Yale, along with colleges and universities around the world, must collaborate with government, business, and non-profit partners to understand and address the challenge of climate change. Dedicated to “improving the world today and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice,” Yale will continue to support its students, faculty, and staff in this vital work.


Peter Salovey
President and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology