Scripps to work toward carbon commitment

Five female college students stand around a sign that reads "We Demand A Scripps Carbon Commitment."
Julia McCartan SC ’21, Riley Harmon SC ’22, Julia Beckwith SC ’21, Olivia Klein SC ’22 and Claire Payne SC ’21 were some of the students who hosted a Carbon Commitment Visibility Day last November. (Talia Bernstein • The Student Life)

After massive student protest in the fall 2019 semester, Scripps College will become the final 5C to develop a climate action plan, Dean of Students Charlotte Johnson said in an email to Scripps students Jan. 30. 

Based upon the recommendation of the Scripps Sustainability Committee, Scripps President Lara Tiedens approved and signed the Climate Leadership Statement and submitted it to Second Nature, an organization that helps colleges work towards carbon neutrality, Scripps spokesperson Rachael Warecki told TSL via email. 

Warecki did not clarify whether signing the Climate Leadership Statement means the college is officially working toward carbon neutrality. 

The recommendation is the culmination of years of advocacy by members of SAS and the Scripps Environmental Education and Development club.

Students have long lamented that Scripps was the sole 5C not to have signed a commitment to attain carbon neutrality, and they rallied in November to urge Tiedens to rectify that. A petition had garnered 1,073 signatures as of Wednesday.

Student organizers Julia McCartan SC ’21 and Maggie Thompson SC ’20 told TSL in November 2019 that they had submitted a budget proposal for the college to sign the agreement.

Signing a carbon commitment would “demonstrate Scripps College’s commitment to sustainability, and hold Scripps accountable for creating and following a personalized, concrete, step-by-step plan to achieve carbon neutrality,” the petition said.

Pitzer College, Pomona College and Claremont McKenna College signed the Second Nature carbon commitment in 2007; Harvey Mudd College signed it in 2008. 

Pomona also pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030, according to a press release. CMC aims for carbon neutrality by 2050, according to the school’s website.

In May, ASCMC advocated for moving its target to 2030 from 2050, in the first resolution the body passed in over four years.

This story was last updated at 11:52 p.m. on Feb. 6, 2020.

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