Letter from the editor

Photo+by+Lucie+Lagodich+22

Photo by Lucie Lagodich ’22

Lucie Lagodich, Editor-in-Chief

To the Lafayette Community,

Greetings from Glasgow, Scotland! I am writing from the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). As a result, the editing of this week’s edition is a bit unconventional, with me editing remotely from my room in the West End.

I am here representing The Lafayette at The New York Times Climate Hub and attending the Green Zone at the COP26 summit. The Climate Hub is a week of panels, talks, workshops and even a fashion show, all relating to sustainable themes. I hope my appearance at this conference is the first of many students who will have this opportunity in the coming years, and that my attendance represents the shifting tide on our campus that we have seen during my time here, spurred forward by the Climate Action Plan 2.0 (CAP 2.0), passed my freshman year.

I hope Lafayette continues to not only push for sustainable initiatives but prioritizes them. The big message of COP26 is that climate change is here. As an institution, Lafayette has the capability of making a large-scale difference by cutting carbon emissions. I applaud the work our school has already achieved. We are installing solar panels, building more energy-efficient buildings, replacing lightbulbs, creating a sustainable food loop with fresh produce from LaFarm and more. The CAP 2.0 consists of plans like these and more, with the ambitious goal (which Lafayette remains on track for) of hitting net zero carbon emissions by 2035.

I agree that all steps towards a sustainable campus are vital, but I am concerned that nearly half of our carbon emissions that we need to cut in order to reach net zero have been written off in a solar power purchase agreement Lafayette has signed onto with Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College and Dickinson College. This agreement negates 100% of Lafayette’s emissions associated with electricity consumption. Located in West Texas, this exists as an offset, with none of the power generated reaching College Hill.

Forbes, The Guardian and even the United Nations released a report stating that net zero is not enough to save our planet. I marched for climate justice with over 100,000 people in the streets of Glasgow on Nov. 6, and the headlining photo for the press coverage of the event is a huge banner, featuring the words “net zero” crossed out. Many countries, companies and institutions are setting these net zero goals–which is a great first step–but I hope Lafayette goes beyond the 15-year power purchase agreement cutting 47% of our emissions and commits to larger goals to reduce on-campus carbon emissions beyond the 53% needed for carbon neutrality.

Sincerely,

Lucie Lagodich