UC President Drake lauds US return to Paris Agreement

University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., released the following statement today (Jan. 20) in response to President Biden’s executive order reinstating the U.S. to the Paris climate accord. UC denounced the country’s 2020 exit from the agreement, while remaining steadfastly committed to the treaty as well as the University’s own green energy and carbon neutrality goals.  

The University of California applauds President Biden’s executive order to rejoin the Paris climate accord and return the U.S. to the world stage as a leader in the fight against climate change. The future of our planet depends on immediate and bold action to combat this profound existential crisis. We owe it to current and future generations to act decisively and to act now. As the new administration takes up this urgent work, UC stands ready to further contribute our expertise and resources. This global challenge demands nothing less.

In spite of the ill-conceived decision in 2017 to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, UC continued to develop new sustainability solutions while holding fast to our aggressive systemwide goals of transitioning to 100 percent clean electricity and becoming carbon neutral by 2025.

Research in service of the public good is central to UC’s mission and the University looks forward to partnering with President Biden and his administration on this critical issue. There is so much more we can accomplish when we work together.  

UC’s commitment to the climate:

  • UC is a founding member of the We Are Still In coalition, a group of nearly 4,000 local governments, colleges and universities, health care facilities, faith institutions, companies and individuals who are supportive of the Paris climate agreement. 
  • Through energy efficiency gains and the adoption of solar and other renewable energy sources, UC has reduced systemwide greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent since 2013.
  • UC now generates more on-site renewable energy than any other university in the country, with 97 million kilowatt-hours produced annually.
  • UC’s sustainability efforts extend to institutional investments: Since 2014, UC has invested more than $1 billion in clean energy projects.