More than 40 college presidents from across the United States have urged President George Bush to take a lead on energy conservation.MAHWAH, New Jersey, US, 2001-06-12 [SolarAccess.com] More than 40 college presidents from across the United States have urged President George Bush to take a lead on energy conservation. The letter was initiated by John DiBiaggio, head of Tufts University, and cites the excessive consumption of fossil fuels in the U.S. as a threat to “national, economic and environmental security.” The letter was released in advance of meetings between Bush and leaders of the European Union, who view the U.S. as a significantly contributor to climate change. Thirteen college presidents in New Jersey joined 28 others in signing the letter. Last month, the presidents of all 56 colleges and universities in the state joined the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability in endorsing an official state plan to reduce GHG emissions by 3.5 percent by 2005. “We’re grateful that the college presidents have expressed their support for energy conservation to President Bush,” says NJHEPS president Donald Wheeler. “The single largest group of presidents – thirteen of them – supporting the letter to the President were from New Jersey where we have serious environmental problems.” The National Academy of Sciences was asked by the White House to examine global warming, and reported earlier this month that global warming is getting worse and that air is getting warmer as a result of human activity and the combustion of fossil fuels. “Millions of New Jersey citizens breathe unhealthy air and the state is the second worst in the nation for levels of ground ozone and among the worst in toxic air contaminants,” explains Wheeler. New Jersey emits 2 percent of GHG in the country, or 130 megatonnes a year. It is the first state to sign an agreement with a foreign nation (the Netherlands) to work jointly on climate change issues to reduce sea-level rise. The action plan calls for reducing GHG emissions by 20 megatonnes from the projected 151 MT in 2005 through initiatives in energy conservation, pollution prevention, innovative technologies, recycling and solid waste management and natural resource protection. If nothing is done, emissions are expected to increase 6 percent a year. NJHEPS is a coalition of 16 New Jersey campuses that promotes sustainability.