Climate Change Policy

WHEREAS, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has declared that "[w]arming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that "[h]uman influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in human history";

WHEREAS, the National Academy of Sciences has determined that carbon dioxide emissions are "the largest driver of climate change and the greenhouse gas most intimately integrated into the U.S. economy and way of life";

WHEREAS, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that greenhouse gases from transportation, including air travel and automobiles, accounts for about 27% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, to prevent global warming beyond the recommended 1.5 degrees Celsius target established by the 2015 Paris Agreement, the United Nations recently estimated that that the world needs to halve annual greenhouse gas emissions in the next eight years;

WHERAS, Washington and Lee University ("the University") is a signatory of the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), which declares that higher education plays a "key role in shaping a sustainable society" and calls for "achieving carbon neutrality as soon as possible."

WHEREAS, the University's 2018 strategic plan states that the University is "civic-minded and forward-looking" and evaluates "how it can best contribute not only to the success of its own students, but also to the nation and the world in which they will live";

WHEREAS, the University's strategic plan expressly calls for the development and implementation of an "action plan to meet our climate commitments";

WHEREAS, the University's Climate Action Plan seeks to "reduc[e] our campus carbon footprint" with "the ultimate goal" of achieving "carbon neutrality";

WHEREAS, the Frances Lewis Law Center ("Law Center") is a key funding source for regional, national, and international travel by scholarly visitors and other guests to the Law School and the University for the benefit and enhancement of our intellectual community;

WHEREAS, the Law Center Committee, as the governing body of the Law Center, desires to limit the Law Center's contribution to global warming through greenhouse gas emissions;

WHEREAS, "carbon offsets are an important component of most Climate Action Plans" according to the ACUPCC;

THEREFORE, the Law Center adopts a policy of carbon neutrality for all its operations, to the maximum extent practicable, starting in the 2022-2023 academic year. This policy includes, but is not limited to, purchasing carbon offsets from reliable providers or intermediaries for air and ground transportation and lodging for all academic visitors and guests to the University who are invited by, sponsored by, or funded by the Law Center.

DATE: August 1, 2022

Professor Christopher B. Seaman
Director, Frances Lewis Law Center
Professor Brandon Hasbrouck
Professor J.D. King
Professor Kish Parella
Professor Alan Trammell
Members, Law Center Committee