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Statement in Support of International Universities Climate Alliance

Posted 12/1/2020

As a member of the International Universities Climate Alliance, the University of Illinois System and its three universities fully support the alliance’s latest efforts to drive the discussion about climate change and to heed the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, namely to follow the data- and research-driven advice of experts like those found on our campuses, and to act with the utmost urgency while wisely prioritizing the use of our resources.

The threat of the pandemic is immediate, upon us now. But so is the threat of climate change. The evidence of this crisis can be seen all around us, from changes in precipitation and storm activity to increases in ocean temperatures and rising sea levels. These changes are fundamental threats to life itself, hindering our ability to feed the world and provide clean water for all.

Much like our efforts to combat the global pandemic, we have the ability to slow destructive force of climate change and mitigate its effects – provided we do not delay.

Our universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield are already committed to this climate challenge, taking their own steps to mitigate and adapt to the crisis while serving as models for broader action.

From research that leads the way toward growing food more efficiently for large populations; to efforts to create carbon-neutral, zero-waste campuses; to student-led sustainability initiatives, our universities share a unified vision for the future.

We, as scientists and researchers, agree with the alliance that we must speak with a single voice on climate and on the steps we must take in the months and years ahead.

Our eventual emergence from the pandemic offers us all a unique opportunity to plan and set goals that will help us reach this vision. For this to happen, we must start that discussion right away.

The Climate Alliance and the institutions it represents worldwide stand ready to lend a colossal breadth of research expertise in support of world leaders as they seek solutions to the climate crisis.

We, as leaders of the University of Illinois System, are committed to this truly grand challenge.


Tim Killeen
President, University of Illinois System

Robert Jones
Chancellor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Michael Amiridis
Chancellor, University of Illinois Chicago

Karen Whitney
Interim Chancellor, University of Illinois Springfield