Athens, OU Talk Climate Change Commitments

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As Ohio University’s 21st president began his first term and the Athens City Council introduced new measures, both had climate change on their minds.

One of the first acts Dr. Duane Nellis did as president was to join in a petition through the group We Are Still In, in which Ohio University joins other university presidents, mayors, governors and business leaders in the nation to “support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement,” Nellis wrote in a message to the university community.

“This is not a political statement,” Nellis stated. “This is a promise to uphold the sustainability measures Ohio University already has in place for the good of the planet.”

The letter criticized President Donald Trump’s administration for pledging to pull out of the Paris Agreement, which was signed by countries all over the world to commit to lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

“In absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitions climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions,” the letter states.

As Nellis joined the nationwide effort, the Athens City Council met in committee to discuss their own commitment “to environment and sustainability.”

The Committee of the Whole presented the a measure that will be up for approval on Monday, which would bring the city in agreement with the Paris Accord.

Councilmembers were in agreement that the climate change standards in place were necessary, and the city benefited from the standards with all the natural resources in reach of the area.

“I’m all for it,” said Councilman Jeff Risner. “Let’s get it on the table and get the damn thing passed.”