June 5, 2017

President Biddy Martin

President Biddy Martin is among a chorus of leaders who today announced their opposition to withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accord. Martin said Amherst College supports the Paris agreement.

Following President Donald Trump’s decision last week to withdraw from the agreement, more than 1,219 university presidents, business leaders, mayors and governors have committed to meeting the accord’s original greenhouse gas emissions targets. 

“It is critically important to combat climate change,” said Martin. “We’ve signed on in recognition of higher education’s commitment to research and sustainability, and to educating the next generation of environmental leaders.”  

Spearheaded by the Massachusetts nonprofit Second Nature, the statement signed by Martin and others (including, in the Five Colleges, President of Smith College Kathleen McCartney, Chancellor of University of Massachusetts Amherst Kumble Subbaswamy and President of Hampshire College Jonathan Lash) asserts that states, cities, colleges, universities and businesses will continue to pursue ambitious climate goals; provide the leadership necessary to meet the commitments in the Paris agreement; and remain actively engaged in the international community as part of a commitment to hold warming to under 2 degrees Celsius and accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy.

Abandoning such goals, Martin said, would be against the College’s core principles and values.

This is not the first time Martin has maintained that federal actions are at odds with the values of the College. Earlier this year, she issued statements to the Amherst community opposing executive orders on immigration and a decision by the administration to withdraw protections for transgender students. 

During her Commencement address on May 21, Martin urged graduates to use the skills learned at Amherst to address complex problems and “see the fragility of things as an opportunity and a call to keep working toward change.”

“Liberal arts education is the form of education best suited to uncertainty and change,” she said that day. “Its purpose is to promote freedom of thought and the disciplined and dogged pursuit of truth. Truth matters.”