(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University President Linda Schott has joined about 50 other college and university presidents across the country in calling upon elected officials to address climate change and hold polluters accountable by enacting carbon pricing measures.
The “Put A Price On It” campaign is sponsored by Our Climate, a national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering young people to advance effective climate policy. The group is tapping higher education leaders to help convince local, state and national decision-makers that greenhouse gas emissions can be effectively reduced through economic penalties.
“Sustainability and environmental responsibility are key parts of our identity at SOU,” President Schott said. “Our vision, mission and values refer to those principles, and one of our guiding ‘strategic directions’ establishes the goals of modeling and promoting sustainability, and integrating it into all that we do.
“This initiative provides us an opportunity to act on our institutional beliefs,” she said. “We are proud to stand up and be counted as a leader in the carbon pricing movement.”
Carbon pricing regulations require those who emit carbon dioxide to either pay a tax or buy permits based on the volume of their emissions. The policies make dirty energy less affordable, and encourage both energy conservation and use of sustainable energy sources.
Portland State University is the only other Oregon institution listed among the initiative’s backers.
SOU is one of 130 U.S. higher education institutions identified by the Our Climate organization as potential strategic partners in the carbon pricing campaign. President Schott signed the Our Climate endorsement letter after researching the campaign and consulting with the university’s sustainability team.
“This is something that fully aligns with SOU’s values and supports the goals outlined in our Climate Action Plan,” said Roxane Beigel-Coryell, the university’s sustainability and recycling coordinator. “Putting a price on carbon holds large greenhouse gas emitters accountable for their contribution to climate change. It provides incentive to implement climate solutions from the top down, instead of putting the responsibility solely on individuals.”
Carbon pricing policies have been implemented in more than 40 countries, provinces, states and other jurisdictions around the world. The World Bank has endorsed the practice as a means of compensating for direct and indirect costs of carbon emissions, ranging from crop loss and flood damage to heat-related medical costs.
“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,” said the Our Climate endorsement letter signed by President Schott and other higher education leaders.