On Monday, Barnard’s Student Government Association released a statement supporting an initiative put in place by Columbia’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute calling for Columbia to become carbon neutral by 2030.
The statement came two weeks after representatives of the Roosevelt Institute—a policy center at Columbia committed to expanding civic engagement—presented to SGA requesting its support in favor of the initiative, one of several efforts they have made urging Columbia to become fully carbon neutral and adopt other environmentally conscious practices.
The statement comes a year and a half after Barnard’s Board of Trustees committed to divesting from companies that deny climate science, making it the first college in the country to do so.
Following the Board’s decision, Barnard has partnered with Fossil Free Indexes, an environmentally conscious investment consulting firm, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, to investigate 30 oil and gas companies that Barnard divested from. They have also compiled a Climate Action list, which details the ways in which these companies are supporting or sabotaging climate science. The college’s research and partnership with FFI and the UCS is ongoing.
In April 2017, Columbia unveiled its first sustainability plan, committing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. A year later, the Columbia College Student Council passed a referendum urging Columbia to commit to 100 percent renewable energy and carbon neutrality by 2030. Although Columbia has divested from coal, its other sources of fossil fuel energy are unclear, as this information hasn’t been released to the public.
Becoming carbon neutral by 2030 would make Columbia the first Ivy League school and the first university in New York to become carbon neutral, with Cornell a close second, pledging to be carbon neutral by 2035.