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Science & Technology

UC San Diego students rally against global warming as chancellor presents an ambitious goal

Walkout.jpg
Thomas Fudge
/
KPBS
UC San Diego students carried out signs and speeches at the Walkout for Climate rally Wednesday next to the Geisel Library, April 19, 2020.

Students shouted slogans and carried signs as they walked through UC San Diego. Their rally started with speeches outside the Geisel Library. Their goal was for their campus to stop relying on fossil fuels like natural gas.

The group, Green New Deal at UC San Diego, organized the march based on their “Khosla Must Commit” campaign.

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“That’s basically a campaign where we’re encouraging the chancellor to decarbonize the campus by 2030,” said Green New Deal student organizer Sofia de la Cruz.

Chancellor Pradeep Khosla may have made that pledge.

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Monica Nelson, a PhD student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, spoke at the rally. She said on Monday, Khosla attended a public forum that featured the author of Ministry for the Future, a novel about climate change.

Nelson was also there.

“In his opening remarks at that event, Chancellor Khosla made the announcement that it is his hope, dream and desire that we electrify by 2030,” Nelson said.

Whether the chancellor’s comments were truly a commitment to decarbonize the campus power system, is still hard to say. However, the chancellor’s office on Wednesday confirmed the statement.

UC San Diego has played a major role in climate science, documenting the rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere with what’s called the Keeling Curve.

But students want UCSD to do more when it comes to reducing its own use of power derived from burning carbon. Speakers at the rally also wanted the campus to refuse academic funding from the oil industry.

“I’m pretty terrified in terms of where we’re going — in terms of climate change. I’m pretty frustrated by the lack of action and leadership we’re seeing from big entities like our university that can actually influence change,” Nelson said.

About 200 people showed up at the Walkout for Climate rally. Students were encouraged to cut classes to attend the event.