Today, as local, state and world leaders continue to confront President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark Paris climate agreement, the University of California is doubling down and planning for the future at the Global Climate Leadership Council — an advisory group of UC officials, students and outside experts formed in 2014 by UC President Janet Napolitano to guide systemwide sustainability efforts. The group is meeting now at UC San Francisco to discuss UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, carbon abatement and offsets, sustainable investments, and applied research on climate and sustainability.
As the group reaffirms its commitment to achieve a range of ambitious climate and sustainability goals — including our pledge to become carbon neutral by 2025 — it pledges to support and work with California’s governor, congressional delegation and state legislators to ensure that California and the UC system stay at the forefront of combating global climate change.
“As president of the nation’s largest research university, which has for decades pioneered cutting-edge approaches to curbing emissions and transitioning to a carbon neutral future, I am deeply disappointed in President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the landmark Paris climate agreement,” Napolitano said in a statement released yesterday. “The importance of a global coalition taking coordinated action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to avert the worst consequences of a warming planet cannot be understated.”
Instead of backing away from the far-reaching commitments UC has made to bend the curve on greenhouse gas emissions, the council will hear about how UC has reduced systemwide emissions by 15 percent since 2009, despite increased student enrollment, due to energy efficiency gains and the adoption of on-campus solar and renewables. The council will also discuss the emerging UC-CSU Knowledge Action Network for Transformative Climate and Sustainability Education and Action, a collaborative effort by UC and CSU educators to scale and intensify California students’ literacy regarding climate change, climate justice, carbon neutrality, greenhouse gas emissions reductions and sustainability.
In addition, the work of UC faculty, staff and students in 2017 embodies the UC system’s decades-long commitment to not only developing practical solutions and innovations to battle climate change, but communicating in new ways about that work.
- Chief Investment Officer Jagdeep Singh Bachher in May publicly reaffirmed UC’s commitment to our sustainable investment framework, adopted by UC Regents in 2014, which codified sustainability as part of UC’s due diligence process for investments.
- In April, UC debuted an innovative new six-part series on climate change, "Climate Lab," that examined the surprising ways humans contribute to global warming, and explored how people can harness new and emerging technologies to mitigate their impact on the planet. The six episodes have been viewed over 4.8 million times across YouTube and Facebook.
- In March, President Napolitano joined Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell in Mexico City for an announcement of $10 million in new funding to support energy efficiency research projects led by Mexican research institutions in collaboration with UC researchers.
- In January, UC released its 13th Annual Report on Sustainable Practices, highlighting the progress UC has made over the past year in renewable energy, water conservation, waste reduction, food sustainability and other areas. In 2016, UC made the largest solar purchase ever made by a U.S. university, which will ultimately supply about 14 percent of UC’s total energy. More than 40 megawatts of renewable energy are now being generated on the UC campuses themselves, enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes for a year.
For more information about systemwide UC sustainability initiatives, including the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, visit ucop.edu/sustainability.