November 19, 2001

Kyoto Now! Campaign Urges Quicker Action

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Last Friday, seven months after the administration agreed to work toward carbon dioxide emission reduction, members of the Cornell Greens and the Kyoto Now! campaign rallied at Day Hall, demanding action.

The rally consisted of speeches from Kyoto Now! representatives and chanting with the crowd. Students were responding to the delay in the formation of a project team, one of the first goals set in the agreement earlier this year.

The team is intended to “figure out how to meet the goals” for emission reduction, according to Moss Templeton ’03.

“On April 17, 2001, Cornell University made a commitment to implementing the standards of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change,” said Doug Krisch grad. “[Harold D.] Craft [Jr., vice president for administration and chief financial officer] stated that quote: in the days ahead … I will form a university committee … that will advise me on the implementation of our commitment, unquote … Where is the project team?”

The agreement came after a sit-in last April that led to seven days of protest outside of Day Hall, during which the administration committed to making a significant effort toward the standards set forth by the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement signed in 1997.

The protocol calls for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions to seven percent below the 1990 levels by 2008.

After the energy audit conducted this summer to determine the energy use of each building on campus, the project team is the next step toward the implementation of the goals.

Craft did not return calls seeking comment.

“The project team will be formed by Vice President Craft,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for university relations, stating that the administration has been working with the Center for the Environment toward this goal, as was set out in the agreement in April.

“We have promised to do it and will,” Dullea said. “It will happen shortly.”

Since last year’s protests at Cornell, students from universities across the country have shown interest in the Kyoto Now! campaign.

“The actions at Cornell have inspired dozens of similar movements around the country,” said Chris Adams ’03. “Already, at least 15 universities have students working on this campaign, including Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, William and Mary and the University of Wisconsin.”

Members of the Cornell campaign spoke to students nationwide at this October’s ECOnference in Washington D.C., informing others on how to initiate such efforts through workshops.

“By signing Kyoto Now!, Cornell established itself as a leader in its mission, now Cornell must be a leader in its actions,” Krisch said.

Faculty members also back the campaign, such as Prof. Tim Fahey, Liberty Hyde Bailey Professor of natural resources.

“There is a lot of faculty support for this cause,” Fahey said.

Kyoto Now! members plan to be persistent with the administration in asking for the implementation of the emission reduction goals.

“The University needs to realize that we are still here,” said Lindsey Saunders ’03. “They are not going to be able to wait us out.”

Archived article by Stacy Williams