Fordham has added another initiative toward lowering its carbon footprint by becoming the first Jesuit university among a growing list of universities to call for carbon pricing.

Responding to a request from students, the University has signed on to a petition initiated by the group Put A Price On It. The petition calls upon elected representatives to “act collectively on behalf of current and future generations by putting a price on carbon.” So far, 32 colleges have signed on.

The Put A Price On It campaign is being spearheaded by the group Our Climate, and was inspired in part by the release of the Emmy award-winning documentary series Years of Living Dangerously, which appeared on the National Geographic Channel.

Samuel Blackwood and Kyle J. Kilkenny, sophomores at Fordham College at Lincoln Center and fellows at Our Climate, are heading the campus drive. Other Fordham students involved include junior Madeleine Kim and sophomores Isaac Bird and Cristina Mendez.

Blackwood, an international studies major, said carbon pricing is a system in which industries agree to pay a set price for the privilege of emitting carbon into the atmosphere. Because it’s based on free-market principles, he said, the idea draws bipartisan support, most notably from the Climate Solutions caucus comprised of 19 Democrats and 19 Republicans from the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Climate change is the biggest issue facing humanity, but it’s also one of the most intersectional issues. I have seen incredible unity among young people on it,” he said.

“I always say, when we’re fighting climate change, we aren’t just fighting to save the world; we’re fighting to create a better one.”

Marco Valera, vice president for facilities management, signed the petition on Fordham’s behalf. He said Put A Price On It dovetails with Fordham’s goal of reducing its carbon output 30 percent by the end of the year. The University is pursuing this goal with efforts such as investing in solar power and replacing every light bulb on campus with energy efficient LEDs.

“We believe the Put A Price On It initiative, if instituted in a reasonable manner, fits with Fordham’s overall mission and will have a positive impact,” he said.


Patrick Verel is a news producer for Fordham Now. He can be reached at [email protected] or (212) 636-7790.