Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative

University presidents are community leaders and highly influential with their members of Congress. The Higher Education Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiatives calls on leaders in higher education to demonstrate support for carbon pricing. Rather than asking presidents to commit to a specific policy proposal (carbon fee and dividend), which in many cases would be politically impossible for them to do, we ask them to endorse a climate solution that allows for flexibility in the way carbon pricing is implemented. The endorsements are shared with members of Congress and the higher ed community. 

Endorsement Letter

As leaders of higher education institutions, we call upon our elected representatives to act collectively on behalf of current and future generations by putting a price on carbon. We work to prepare our students for thriving futures, over which climate change casts a dark shadow of uncertainty. Putting a price on carbon pollution is an indispensable step we can take to effectively combat climate change.

Carbon pricing creates an economy-wide incentive to reduce greenhouse gases in economically efficient ways that can, if revenues are used wisely, benefit low-income households while stimulating job growth. The World Bank has endorsed carbon pricing as a way to accurately account for the external costs of emissions, like crop loss, flood damage, and medical treatments that result from heat waves and other climate change disasters. Thousands of businesses support carbon pricing for its transparent and predictable approach.

Dozens of countries and jurisdictions across the world have already enacted carbon pricing mechanisms, and the evidence is in: carbon pricing enables renewable energy to flourish, helps phase out polluting energy sources, and lowers emissions. A strong carbon price will rise quickly enough to work without burdening low-income and middle-class families, and won’t create new dependencies on profits from carbon-based energy.

It is time for the United States to lead on this defining issue of our time, and protect the health and well-being of current and future generations. By making carbon-intensive industries pay a fair share of the costs of their pollution, we will have cleaner air and healthier communities, and prevent the most devastating effects of climate change. We therefore ask our elected officials to proactively work to enact a carbon price on the state and national level.


Founding Signers: 
Valerie Smith, President, Swarthmore College
Neil Weissman, Interim President, Dickinson College
Michael S. Roth, President, Wesleyan University
Jon Chenette, Interim President, Vassar College
Melvin Oliver, President, Pitzer College

Leadership Circle: 
Leon Botstein, President, Bard College
Robert Goldberg, Interim President, Barnard College
Mariko Silver, President, Bennington College
Dianne Harrison, President, California State University Northridge
Gayle E. Hutchinson, President, California State University Chico
Robert S. Nelsen, President, California State University Sacramento
Greg P. Smith, President, Central Community College Nebraska
David Finegold, President, Chatham University  
Brian W. Casey, President, Colgate University
Katherine Bergeron, President, Connecticut College
Lee Pelton, President, Emerson College
Marco Valera, Fordham University
Daniel R. Porterfield, President, Franklin and Marshall College
Robert Allen, President, Green Mountain College
Kim Benston, President, Haverford College
Lewis E. Thayne, President, Lebanon Valley College
Jo Ann Rooney, President, Loyola University Chicago
Brian Rosenberg, President, Macalester College
Sonya Stephens, Acting President, Mount Holyoke College
John I. Williams, Jr., President, Muhlenberg College
David Oxtoby, President, Pomona College
Wim Wiewel, President, Portland State University  
Thomas J. Schwarz, President, Purchase College, SUNY
Kathleen McCartney, President, Smith College
Melik Peter Khoury, President, Unity College
Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor, University of California Berkeley
Andrew J. Leavitt, President, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Paula A. Johnson, President, Wellesley College

Additional Signers: 
Michael S. Brophy, President, Benedictine University
Bernie L. Patterson, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point
Biddy Martin, President, Amherst College
Jonathan D. Green, President, Susquehanna University
Sophia Howlett, President, School for International Training
Paul J. Fitzgerald, President, University of San Francisco
Michael B. Alexander, President, Lasell College
Donald J. Laackman, President, Champlain College
Jonathan Gibralter, President, Wells College
Mary Hinton, President, College of St. Benedict
Barbara Andrews, Provost, Antioch University New England
Patrick A. Mcguire, Interim President, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
David P. Angel, President, Clark University
Clayton Rose, President, Bowdoin College
Stephen V. Sundborg, President, Seattle University
Brandeis University, President, Ronald D. Liebowitz
Southern Oregon University, President, Linda Schott


Before you ask your college or university president to sign onto the Carbon Pricing Endorsement Initiative, you’ll probably talk to other groups and individuals and get their support first. This includes the sustainability committee, the student government association, environmental and political clubs, and the environmental studies faculty. Now you can use this paper form or this Google Form to educate them about carbon pricing and collect their support to show your president. You can also use this sample email to send to your president or other target endorsers.

In the Media

President Valerie Smith of Swarthmore College endorses the initiative in the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Inside Higher Ed, with 1.8 million unique monthly visitors. 

Higher Education Today, a blog from American Council on Education. 

Two Huffington Post op-eds from President Oxtoby of Pomona College and Neil Leary of Dickinson College

Featured in AASHE's newsletter 

Several local and campus newspapers, including Wesleyan UniversityConnecticut College, Loyola University Chicago, and Fordham University

Extensive social media coverage, as the news has been shared by Years of Living Dangerously (over 2 million followers) and Twilight actress Nikki Reed, among other organizations.