President Folt, Mayor Garcetti and UK climate envoy talk sustainability

At the Los Angeles Business Council’s annual Sustainability Summit, President Carol L. Folt emphasized the role of universities in helping to combat a global warming emergency.

June 16, 2021 Gary Polakovic

Speaking at the Los Angeles Business Council’s annual Sustainability Summit on June 11, USC President Carol L. Folt underscored the importance of partnerships and collaborations with universities when nations are grappling with a looming global warming emergency.

Folt emphasized how universities — in partnerships with cities and governments — are going to be key drivers in the climate change effort. And Folt said USC will pursue “collaboration at warp speed” and work to expand the tent of sustainability.

Folt shared her thoughts during a panel discussion focused on the race to zero emissions in anticipation of the United Nations Climate Change Conference talks in November.

The panel included Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Nigel Topping, the United Kingdom’s special climate envoy, and was moderated by Dan Mazmanian, a professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy and chair of the Presidential Sustainability Working Group that Folt created.

A portion of the U.N. program will be dedicated to the growing influence of nonstate actors like investors, local governments, foundations, NGOs, banks and universities. Their role has grown substantially to augment efforts by national governments since the 2015 Paris Agreement. The accord aims to?limit global warming?to about 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.

Another panel at the same conference focused on California’s national and international climate leadership and included Professor Manuel Pastor, director of the Equity Research Institute at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.

USC is addressing sustainability on multiple fronts. This month, USC announced a new “Sustainability Across the Curriculum” program to eventually ensure all undergraduates have a foundational understanding of sustainability issues. In February, USC announced it would cease new investments in fossil fuels and liquidate its existing investments. And more than a year ago, the Galen Center arena added solar energy.

Watch the event video: