Recognizing the need for the college to play a leadership role locally in addressing global warming, Northern Marianas College president Dr. Sharon Hart signed yesterday the “American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.”
“Climate change poses a serious threat to us here in the CNMI,” said Hart. “As such, we have a critical role we need to play in preparing others to best address these changes through the provision of research, education, and adaptation strategies.”
College presidents and other educational leaders who sign the Climate Commitment are pledging to eliminate their campuses’ net greenhouse gas emissions in a reasonable period of time. As part of the Commitment, NMC has agreed to initiate the development of a comprehensive plan to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible and to implement tangible actions to reduce greenhouse gases, which actions include adopting energy-efficient appliance purchasing policies.
According to Hart, she has spent considerable time in the last few weeks meeting with various NMC employees to better assess what activities are already being undertaken at the college to address global warming concerns.
“I am truly amazed at the commitment we have already made—especially in efforts coming out of CREES and in NMC’s Natural Resource Management Program,” said Hart, adding that the college has taken significant strides in incorporating energy efficient practices around its campuses.
Lt. Gov. Ralph Torres, who is attending the U.S. Insular Areas Climate Change Stakeholder Meeting in Guam this week along with Hart and other CNMI government leaders, said, “I congratulate President Hart on this initiative. NMC’s commitment to taking a proactive approach to climate change adaptation is key. I look forward to the college’s efforts in engaging leaders across our islands in providing education, research, and other projects that will help to improve the resiliency of this region’s infrastructure, energy systems, water system, and food systems.”
“Northern Marianas College is in key position to play a leading role—along with other environmental agencies—in curtailing the effects of global warming,” said Board of Regent member Frank M. Rabauliman, who is also the administrator for the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality. “I hope the college’s initiative will encourage other agencies, organizations and regional jurisdictions to play an active role in addressing climate change.”
Hart joins about 700 other college and university presidents across the nation who have signed the Climate Commitment.
Hart emphasized that the college’s efforts will contribute to the climate adaptation plan that is being developed for the CNMI that is being advanced by U.S. Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary Esther Kia’aina. (NMC)