Update on Penn’s efforts to combat the effects of climate change | Penn today

Climate change represents a threat to the survival of our country and our world. The effects of CO cannot be ignored2 Emissions and other greenhouse gases are occurring worldwide. After our last presentation to the Penn community, two new United Nations reports confirm the impact of climate change on human activity by accelerating climate change, and that the current carbon cut-off plan is not sufficient to meet the 1.5C-degree temperature in various countries.

Penn has long been committed to fighting climate change, and we are proud of the University’s contribution to our research, academic efforts, campus work and investment strategies. As an institution, we have prioritized our goals for climate change and sustainable action, and our plans must be flexible and flexible. We recognize that we need to keep pace with the rapidly evolving challenges of climate change. In that light, we are writing today to provide you with new initiatives that are relevant to our research and education missions to further enhance our leadership role in mitigating the effects of climate change on our world.

Investment initiative

Last April, the Investment Office set a goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Endowment carbon footprint and subsequent engagement with investment managers for those positions. The office has made new investments, particularly in support of the transition to a low-carbon economy. While these investments show an attractive investment profile, we are delighted with the innovations in technology and business models that we support. The office plans to provide more details about its work by the end of the calendar year regarding its 2050 net-zero goal.

Considering Penn’s institutional goals in combating climate change, we are announcing today that we are investing in any new commitments to fossil fuels for private equity vehicles. In the same way, we will continue our policy to avoid direct investment in fossil fuels. We will also continue to encourage and in some cases, investment managers or companies are actively investing in energy transfer.

This change is based on previous actions, including:

  • Managers’ Guide to Climate Change Consideration for Investment Decisions.
  • The university’s announcement that we are not directly involved in investing in the company focuses on the production of hot coal or tar sand – the two most important carbon-related investments – and that our aim is to avoid direct investments in companies in the future.
  • The growth of Penn Venture Capital portfolio in companies is focused on climate change solutions.

Educational motivation

Penn’s academic involvement with sustainability is vast and highly visible. To cite just a few examples, Penn now has a clear-

  • More than 400 courses related to sustainability since 2014;
  • Introduces 14 new academic programs in six schools; And
  • Eight new centers focused on sustainability in five schools.

We appreciate the commitment of teachers to teach courses in this field and the high level of intellectual capacity of our students to increase their understanding of the effects of climate change. We further support their desire to build a more sustainable world and to translate what they are learning into real impact. We are especially proud that a number of Penn’s recent Presidential Participation and Innovation Award winners have come up with their ideas, ideas and projects in line with climate change.

Starting this academic year, we are pleased to announce that the University will be expanding its current Presidential Participation and Innovation Awards to graduates, especially the new Presidential Sustainability Award. This new award category rewards up to $ 100,000 for project implementation costs for a student or team with a sustainable project and $ 50,000 for each student recipient living expenses.

Research initiative

Penn’s influence in researching the world is profound. Our teachers have made great contributions to the advancement of mankind through the discovery of new knowledge and improvements in the lives of millions. At the same time, we are investing in support for our research community to focus on solving the challenges of climate change.

Over the past two decades, game-changing technologies such as solar and wind and short-term energy storage have been seen as evidence of rapid growth in the solar panel and electric vehicle industries. However, much of US energy use is based on cultural sources that contribute to climate change. Understanding the future potential of new energy based on different energy sources and optimized energy use will change society. And Penn is ready to lead that change.

Basic progress is now needed to streamline energy storage, generate fossil fuels from clean sources, and expand efficient energy supply across complex systems such as cities, rural agriculture, and next-generation smart energy networks. There is a very good chance of developing CO2 It simultaneously minimizes the effects of climate change by capturing, storing, or converting from air and oceans.

Penn is a leader in the field of energy science, with strengths in environmental science around chemistry, physics and engineering. The Pen Kleinman Center for Energy Policy encourages effective research to create policy environments that support a fair and efficient transition to sustainable energy. By working together on campus and in this institution, the Penn community’s highly educated leadership and brilliant young teachers are strong and committed to leading science and sustainability as well as energy policy. With the addition of energy science and technology to this basic mental leadership platform and the Vagelos Laboratory, Penn is committed to driving energy and sustainable solutions for the future.

In addition to building state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to accelerate the rapid growth of sustainable energy, Penn plans to invest an additional $ 60 million in strategic investment to employ at least 10 major energy and environmental faculties.

Advances in Operations

Penn has been building on a 44% carbon reduction since 2009 and is on track to reach its 2042 carbon neutrality pledge. With all initiatives in place, we will continue to improve on the Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0 goals and continue to develop strategies for how best to operate. Forward with impact. Earlier this week, Higher Education Advancement told the Association for Continuing Sustainability that we had a gold standard in the STARS reporting process. This puts Penn in the top four of the reporting agencies. We are also pleased to share with you the incredible Pen Med Medicine’s new Patient Pavilion at LEED Healthcare, the largest certified project in the world and the first of its kind in the United States with over 1 million square feet. Available at Penn Medical News.

The main points of other recent initiatives after we last updated you include:

  • Environmental Innovation Initiative (EII) led the most successful climate week in Penn. In collaboration with representatives on campus, it has provided approximately 45 programs and events for several days, hundreds of participants, and more access this year than in previous years. More information about EII is available on the Provost website.
  • The construction of Pennsylvania’s largest solar facility, where Penn and the health system buy 75% of its electricity demand, remains on schedule. The facilities are expected to generate about 450,000 megawatts of electricity annually. Starting in 2023, the University Energy Purchase Agreement will increase the University’s past and ongoing energy savings and sustainability efforts, reduce carbon emissions from the University’s total campus by 45% from 2009 levels, and meet the Paris Agreement seven years ago. . (Full details are available today at Penn.)
  • In July, Penn announced a strong workforce-based climate impact offset (CLIO) program with the Penn faculty and a collaborative travel sustainability team. Funds raised as part of this initiative ($ 11 for domestic flights and $ 25 for international flights) are an important part of the university’s strategy to address carbon emissions caused by air travel. The university plans to invest the proceeds in certified carbon offset projects, such as improving air quality, reducing the effects of urban heat, and improving the local economy. (For more information see: Almanac.)


In all areas of the university, Penn has taken major steps to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce the impact of climate change on society. The increased measures we are announcing today will strengthen the efforts. We want Penn to lead a sustainable path, and we, the Penn community, ask you to work with us to make this important work a success. Together we can and should build a more sustainable, more sustainable world.

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