Posted by: climatecollaborative | October 11, 2008

Welcome to the Harvard Climate Collaborative!

In February 2008, President Drew Faust convened a task force of Harvard staff, faculty, and students, charging the group with recommending to her a reductions target for the University’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The Task Force met on a weekly basis for approximately 3 months and submitted its Final Report to the President in June.[1]  After reviewing the report, President Faust announced that she and the Deans of the various schools were committing the University to a 30 percent cut in baseline 2006 GHG emissions by 2016, with long term plans to foster “continuous improvement at the maximum practicable rate.”[2]  President Faust emphasized the need for collective action on this urgent issue in her announcement: “Every member of the Harvard community has a role to play in reducing our GHG emissions – by conserving energy ourselves, by motivating others to do so, and by envisioning and implementing new ideas that will contribute to our progress.”[3]

Statement of Purpose

The Harvard Climate Collaborative will serve as a University-recognized communication network that brings together key student and administrative leaders to ensure continual knowledge-sharing, progress, feedback, and accountability while working towards the 2016 reduction goal.  The Collaborative will fill the following crucial roles:


  • As a channel of communication between administrators and students:
    • About proposed and completed reduction-related institutional changes
    • About student-identified opportunities for further emissions reduction
  • As a channel of communication between student leaders at different schools:
    • To encourage best practice knowledge-sharing between schools
    • To provide accountability for action between student leaders
    • To foster a sense of collective action and progress throughout the University
  • To ensure accountability and transparency in the ongoing reduction process
    • Collective ownership over the emissions targets
    • Feedback and encouragement between administrators and students
  • To focus Harvard’s human assets on this challenge
    • The creation of such a high-level body will focus immediate and widespread University attention on emissions reduction efforts and will provide an outlet for those  with ambitions to be positive influences at Harvard and beyond .
  • To ensure continuity and institutional memory in the face of continual student body turnover
    • Information will be passed to each new class of representatives via annual reports and a well-maintained website.





[1] “Report of the Harvard University Task Force of Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” June 2008.

[2] President Drew Faust, “Statement on the Report of the Harvard Greenhouse Gas Task Force,” July 8, 2008.

[3] Ibid.


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