Luther announces ACUPCC Climate Action Plan

Dec. 1, 2009

Luther College joined colleges and universities across the nation that announced their Climate Action Plans on Sept. 15. The plans developed by the educational institutions, which are all signatories of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), contain the specific steps the schools are taking to reach climate neutrality by drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and long-term operational costs.

The consortium of ACUPCC Climate Action Plan institutions represents the largest group of organizations to simultaneously submit plans for concrete actions to address global warming. Founded in 2007, the ACUPCC requires participating institutions to submit the first iteration of their Climate Action Plans within two years of joining the initiative.

Luther is among the many institutions that are also outlining innovative ways to re-orient curriculum and educational programs to prepare students to identify and address the challenges of climate change throughout their lives. Luther’s sustainability initiative has also been incorporated in the college’s strategic plan by the Luther Board of Regents.

Luther’s Climate Action Plan can be viewed at

A major component of the plan is the installation of a 1.65 megawatt wind turbine.  The turbine, to be completed by the summer of 2010, is expected to provide approximately one-third of Luther’s energy consumption. 

“Luther is pleased to be among the colleges and universities that are the early leaders in the Climate Commitment,” said Luther President Richard Torgerson. “As we go forward with the initiative in our Climate Action Plan, we will be reducing the college’s carbon footprint with the goal of making our campus and our operations environmentally sustainable.

“It is important that we lead and educate our community in actions that can reduce our use of natural resources and help address the challenges of global warming,” President Torgerson said. “In addition to serving as the map for Luther’s quest for climate neutrality, we hope our climate plan will be a role model for other organizations as well.”

David Hales, president of the College of the Atlantic and a member of the ACUPCC Steering Committee stated, “That so many institutions of higher learning are simultaneously announcing their plans to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions while also preparing students to fight severe climate disruption is a powerful—and necessary—shift in the way American education does business.”

A majority of schools submitting Climate Action Plans have submitted their greenhouse gas inventories through the ACUPCC online reporting system, a first step to determining and reducing their carbon footprint.  The implementation of the plans will require ongoing review, research, innovation, and cooperation among a wide array of campus constituents.

As signatories to the ACUPCC, schools will receive support and resources to help them achieve their outlined climate objectives and will have access to a supportive network of peer institutions that can share insights into best practices.

“Climate Action Plans are an important step in a long-term collective learning process that will help prepare Americans to participate in a 21st century economy and a sustainable society," said Toni Nelson, program director of the ACUPCC.

About the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment

Launched in 2007, the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment is a network of 650 signatory schools, representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This high-visibility effort to address global warming garners institutional commitments to neutralize greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the research and educational efforts of higher education to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate. 

The ACUPCC is led by a steering committee comprised of more than 20 university and college presidents.  The lead supporting organization of the initiative is the national nonprofit Second Nature, based in Boston, with additional key support provided by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.