Note: This letter originally appeared as an email sent to the Hopkins community on November 17, 2021.
Dear Johns Hopkins Community:
Climate change threatens the flourishing of our planet and all who inhabit it. We recognize here at Johns Hopkins the need to do our part by renewing our own longstanding commitments to reducing our own operational impact on the climate and advancing our sustainability goals.
Over the course of the coming year, we will be developing a new and updated JHU Sustainability Plan, building on the foundation laid over the past decade. The new plan will articulate our collective vision for a healthy, equitable, and sustainable future with an emphasis on both immediate and longer-term goals culminating in 2030.
In 2010, Johns Hopkins adopted our Implementation Plan for Advancing Sustainability and Climate Stewardship with a focus on reducing our operational impact on the climate and to galvanize our expertise toward developing sustainable solutions to climate change. The 2010 plan included a commitment to reduce the university’s greenhouse gas emissions 51% by 2025. In addition to reaching that goal by 2022, a full three years before our target date, we have taken a number of important steps toward meeting our aims, including:
Signing a 15-year solar agreement with Baltimore-based Constellation Energy to purchase 250,000 MW hours of renewable energy annually, which represented the largest renewable energy agreement of any single U.S. university at the time of its signing and allowed Johns Hopkins to exceed its 51% greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal several years early;
Launching the Sustainability Leadership Council with over 75 student, faculty, staff, and alumni members tasked with amplifying the university’s research, teaching, and practice around environmental sustainability;
Establishing the Ralph O’Connor Sustainable Energy Institute, which leverages a $20M donor gift from the estate of trustee emeritus and alumnus Ralph S. O’Connor, to advance renewable and sustainable energy innovation, education, and policy;
Looking ahead, our new Sustainability Plan will rely on the contributions and leadership of individuals from across JHU and our neighboring communities, led by Ben Zaitchik, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, Megan Latshaw, associate scientist in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Julian Goresko, JHU’s director of sustainability. These expert colleagues will chair a Sustainability Plan Steering Committee with support from three advisory groups: a Research and Academic Advisory Group, a Community Advisory Group, and a Business and Operational Advisory Group. In turn, each of these advisory groups will draw upon the participation and input of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community partners.
You will hear more in the coming days from the steering committee leadership on the myriad opportunities to offer your ideas and thoughts as this plan is developed, and can find regular updates at the JHU Sustainability website.
A strategic vision that addresses the urgent need for climate mitigation and resilience is essential to protecting our communities and ensuring that we are adapting to the realities of climate change. As we look towards the future, it is critical that we harness the intellect, creativity, and ambition of the JHU community in addressing the global climate crisis.
Ronald J. Daniels
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration