Harvard’s Drew Faust says colleges have a “special” role to play in combatting climate change

Historians in the News
tags: climate change, Harvard, Drew Gilpin Faust



In an address to faculty and students at Tsinghua Universitytoday, Harvard President Drew Faust argued forcefully that universities have a unique and critical role to play in combating climate change.

She opened her remarks by recalling her last visit to Tsinghua in 2008. “There is a proverb that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago — and the second-best time is now,” Faust told the audience of about 250 Chinese students, faculty, and journalists.

“When I first visited Tsinghua seven years ago … I planted a tree with [former Tsinghua] President Gu [Binglin] in the Friendship Garden … I am glad the Tsinghua-Harvard tree stands as a symbol of the many relationships across our two universities, relationships which continue to grow and thrive,” she said. “More than ever, it is as a testament to the possibilities that, by working together, we offer the world. That is why I want to spend a few minutes today talking about the special role universities like ours play in addressing climate change.”

Faust’s speech marked the culmination of a series of events in Beijing at which climate change was a central topic. At a gathering of alumni, faculty, and friends on Sunday, she looked on as Ali Malkawi, professor of architectural technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and founding director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities, explained his efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of large human-made structures and systems, from individual buildings to whole cities.

On Monday, Faust and Chinese President Xi Jinping, meeting at the Great Hall of the People, discussed governmental and academic efforts to address the threat of climate change. Faust used the opportunity to highlight the important work being undertaken by faculty and students at Harvard and at institutions across the globe such as Tsinghua to develop substantive technological and policy solutions to this global challenge and to urge continued faculty collaborations. ...




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