George Washington Joins U.S. Effort to Support the 2015 Paris Agreement

President Knapp joins hundreds of leaders in education, business and state and local governments in response to the Trump administration’s plan to pull out of the agreement.

June 05, 2017

George Washington President Steven Knapp has joined with hundreds of higher education presidents, governors, mayors, businesses and investors in signing a letter saying that they intend to support climate actions to support the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The effort by Boston-based nonprofit Second Nature began after President Donald Trump announced last week that he planned to pull the United States out of the Paris agreement.  World leaders signed the landmark agreement in December 2015. The document allowed each country to develop its own strategies to reduce emissions.  

The signatories joined a coalition led by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which according to the New York Times, is in talks with the United Nations on how they can enter the Paris agreement.

As of 1 p.m. Monday,  nine governors, 125 city leaders, 183 universities and more than 900 businesses and investors had signed the open letter titled “We Are Still In.”

Dr. Knapp, who is a member of Second Nature’s advisory board, called the Trump decision a “setback” to the work of colleges and universities on climate change.

"Today’s setback only deepens our responsibility as institutions of higher education and adds new urgency to our efforts,” Dr. Knapp said on Thursday. “We must practice what we teach, advance knowledge of climate change and inspire future generations of climate leaders and innovators."

A pioneer in renewable energy, GW purchases half of its electricity from the Capital Partners Solar Project, an innovative renewable energy project that provides solar power to GW, American University and the George Washington University Hospital. The project is a partnership with Duke Energy Renewables and is composed of 52 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) power and is located in GW’s regional grid.

The Second Nature letter says that the move by Mr. Trump “undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change.”

“It is imperative that the world know that in the United States, the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and business.

“Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort….to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity and health.”

University News


President Knapp Signs Climate Action Letter

January 05, 2017
Dr. Knapp joins more than 170 higher education leaders in urging President-elect Trump to speed progress toward a clean energy future.