Michael R. Bloomberg announced May 16 the largest expected convening of Midwest universities focused on mitigating the effects of climate change and moving to a 100% clean-energy economy.
The Midwestern Collegiate Climate Summit will be held in early 2020, bringing together leaders from Midwestern universities, local government and the private sector to drive measurable, local action on climate by leveraging the partnerships, innovations and talent from institutions of higher education. In parallel to the new global commitments made by federal leaders in line with the Paris Agreement, the climate summit will catalyze climate action commitments from all regional leaders and provide a support network to achieve new ambitious goals. Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide support for the operations of the climate summit.
“Universities have a critical role to play in fighting climate change,” Bloomberg said. “And Washington University in St. Louis is a great example — as a hub for cutting edge research, as a key partner for the City of St. Louis, and as home to students who want to put their talents to work to build a better future. This summit will fuel new efforts across the Midwest to cut emissions and protect communities from impacts.”
Washington University will serve as the anchor for the climate summit and the partnership with other higher education institutions throughout the Midwest. In addition to hosting the climate summit, Washington University, through its International Center for Energy, Environment and Sustainability (InCEES), will steer formalizing a high-impact model for regional climate leadership; deploy students and faculty to work beyond the classroom in St. Louis; and disseminate the St. Louis model to other peer institutions, starting with the members of the climate summit.
“Universities have an important role to play in local, regional and national efforts to stop climate change, and Washington University is proud to lead the way,” said Washington University Chancellor-Elect Andrew Martin. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to work alongside our colleagues throughout the Midwest to develop solutions, create models for leadership, and foster a healthier, more sustainable region for our students, faculty and all Midwesterners. Bloomberg’s support is critical to continue advancing our efforts in the fight against climate change.”
Building on a strong partnership with the City of St. Louis and the success of its climate protection initiatives, Washington University is dedicated to helping achieve the city’s climate goals and expand regional collaboration. Innovative partnerships, applied research and collective commitments to climate action will be showcased during the climate summit, which will focus on the important work being done in classrooms, on campuses and across communities in the Midwest. The goals and outcomes of the climate summit will be driven by its founding members, including Ohio State University.
“Institutions of higher education have the opportunity to develop the research and technology required for a clean energy economy and the future leaders who will get us there,” said Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University. “Ohio State is excited about the opportunity from Bloomberg and Washington University to work with students, faculty and resources from institutions throughout the region. Addressing the global threat of climate change and ensuring a sustainable future requires deep collaboration and coordination of all of our best ideas and talents — and this summit and partnership will allow exactly that.”
Through their support of the climate summit, Bloomberg Philanthropies will work closely with Washington University and the other climate summit participants on achieving actionable outcomes.
“St. Louis has seen the great potential for a successful clean energy transition by bringing together all leaders and sectors within a city,” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. “We are lucky to have great partners in the private and higher education sectors who are equally committed to creating a healthier, cleaner St. Louis and a more sustainable, resilient and equitable future. The partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and Washington University will only strengthen our momentum and help us make good on our goals of creating better communities today and for years to come.”
Washington University’s work will also support the City of St. Louis’ ambitious clean energy and energy efficiency goals made through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge, a competitive program to help 25 cities meet their near-term carbon reduction goals. Specifically, Washington University will support scaling renewable energy through participation in the large-scale off-site solar project and achieving 100% compliance with the Building Energy Awareness Bill and increasing Energy Star certification.