I read the interview with President Eisgruber ’83 (feature, Sept. 12) with hope that he has finally become enlightened that climate change is a moral issue, not a political one as he stated in a letter to us a few years ago. Those hopes were dashed again. From his ivory tower, it seems that he can ignore the issue while still being “personally very concerned about climate change.”
The University has the moral authority and an obligation to be a thought leader on addressing the issue of climate among other global, seemingly intractable, challenges. I agree with President Eisgruber that “universities are institutions that need to have a service mission and they need to have a sense of values about what it is they are doing.” Apparently, his sense of values is flexible enough to give Princeton a bye on climate.
Besides divesting fossil-fuel investments, the University could also go for near net-zero operation by using only renewable energy and converting its power usage from fossil to renewables. Beyond that, Princeton’s vast research and educational capacity could be used to spur individuals and institutions to take more serious actions, and to bring forward new solutions to decarbonize our lives and to mitigate climate change.
I don’t believe this letter will shift President Eisgruber’s position on climate. It might take a hurricane like Florence hitting Princeton for him to concede that climate disruption is Princeton’s issue too. In the meantime, I will continue my refusal to donate to the University until it becomes the leader on climate that I hope it to be.