We invite you to celebrate Climate Week at Penn, which starts today, October 10. Begun as an informal initiative by students and faculty, Climate Week is now organized by the Environmental Innovations Initiative to highlight and promote the wide range of research, education, and outreach across our Schools, centers, and departments.
This year’s Climate Week will encompass more than two dozen events that spotlight our strong campus commitment to promoting sustainability and combatting climate change. It will include 1.5-minute lectures from both students and faculty; hands-on service opportunities at the Penn Park Orchard and Andrew Hamilton School; and panels on such topics as global climate initiatives, careers in sustainability, and climate justice in Philadelphia.
As we head into this week, we are proud of Penn’s strong record of action on sustainability and climate change in our campus operations, in our academic efforts, and in the management of our endowment. We have made enormous strides in our operations, including:
- We reduced carbon emissions on campus by close to 40% since 2009 and committed to a fully carbon-neutral campus within the next twenty years.
- We are setting new standards for green energy in Pennsylvania and among peer universities with two new solar energy facilities under construction in central Pennsylvania, which will provide 70% of the electricity for Penn and the Penn Health System by early 2024.
- We have dramatically greened our campus—guided by the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan—and maintain nearly a third of Penn’s campus as green space.
- We developed 43 buildings with LEED certification, which assesses Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design through impact on such criteria as climate change, human health, water resources, the green economy, and the surrounding community.
Across campus, our educational and research programs further this commitment and shape how we think about and act on climate change and sustainability:
- The recently launched, University-funded Energy and Sustainability Initiative will bring to Penn new faculty members across energy, climate, and sustainability. The Initiative’s first faculty member, Presidential Distinguished Professor Michael Mann, is already establishing a new Penn Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media.
- The Program in Environmental Humanities in the School of Arts & Sciences catalyzes interdisciplinary research collaborations across campus and offers a pioneering Environmental Humanities minor.
- The Kleinman Center for Energy Policy, based in the Weitzman School for Design, develops innovative research and policies to advance the global transition to sustainable energy, including new courses in energy management and policy, a graduate certificate program, and an undergraduate fellows program.
Finally, Penn’s Office of Investments is working to achieve net zero emissions across the whole endowment by 2050 (see the March 2022 update). Among other actions in support of this goal, Penn ceased making commitments to new private investments in oil and gas production (see the November 2021 announcement).
We encourage all of you to participate in the important events of Climate Week, learn more about how to get involved in the wide range of activities on campus, and join us in our ongoing initiatives to advance climate action across our communities and around the world.