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Climate Advocacy

Dickinson as a Leader

Dickinson takes public positions, and supports students in making their voices heard, to advocate for action on climate change and to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at state, national, and international levels.

At the state level, Dickinson urged the Governor of Pennsylvania to join the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative as a cost-effective means of accelerating emission reductions. We were a lead organizer of two conferences that brought together nearly 300 students and faculty from 15 colleges and universities from across the state for conversations with public officials on state action to mitigate climate change risks. The PA Power Dialogue, held in 2016, focused on implementing the federal Clean Power Plan in Pennsylvania. Safe Climate PA, held in 2017, focused on carbon pricing as a cost-effective and bi-partisan approach to limiting emissions. In conjunction with the latter, Dickinson’s president played a lead role in asking presidents of other Pennsylvania colleges and universities to advocate for a federal carbon price as part of Our Climate’s Higher Education Initiative.

When the United States was proposing to withdraw from the Paris Agreement in 2017, Dickinson joined with more than 1,200 colleges, universities, governors, mayors, and business leaders in declaring publicly that “We Are Still In” and that we would continue to support climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. In 2019, when the United States officially announced it would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, Dickinson signed a letter to oppose withdrawal and to again declare “We Are Still In.” In 2020 and 2021, Dickinson took public stances to advocate for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Agreement and to mobilize resources to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030.

We are active in international forums as well. Dickinson is an officially recognized observer organization to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Delegations of Dickinson students, alumni, faculty, and staff have participated in Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the UNFCCC where they engaged in research, interviewed delegates from other nations, met with U.N. and other officials, and advocated for climate action.  Dickinson has sent delegations to UNFCCC COPs in Copenhagen, Denmark (2009), Cancun, Mexico (2010), Durban, South Africa (2011), Lima, Peru (2014), Paris, France (2015), Marrakech, Morocco (2016), Bonn, Germany (2017), Katowice, Poland (2018), Madrid, Spain (2019), and Glasgow, UK (2021).

As an active member of multiple higher education networks and consortia, Dickinson participates in promoting integration of climate change and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals in curricula, research, campus operations, and campus life; providing knowledge and expertise to support community action; advocating for responsible actions on climate change and sustainable development; and sharing best practices. Networks and consortia in which Dickinson is active include the United Nations Higher Education Sustainability Initiative, the U.S. chapter of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Global Council for Science and the Environment, the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Second Nature, the EcoLeague, the Pennsylvania Environmental Resources Consortium, and the Forum on Education Abroad.

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