University of California President Janet Napolitano and University of British Columbia President Santa J. Ono today (June 22) announced a transition in leadership of the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), a network of 22 leading North American research universities working together to accelerate local and regional climate action.

Effective June 30, Ono will assume the role of UC3 lead from Napolitano as she prepares to step down from the presidency of UC later this summer. Napolitano spearheaded the formation and launch of UC3 in February 2018, which is now a signature program of Second Nature.

“I am thrilled to take on this expanded role within UC3,” said Ono. “For the past two years, I’ve been proud to work with this outstanding collective of research universities to leverage our expertise, share ideas and develop new climate solutions. This is a critical moment for the future of our planet, and we are proud of our universities’ contributions to a growing global movement to curb emissions and promote sustainability.”

As UC3 lead, Ono will coordinate the participation of university presidents and chancellors in the coalition, guide the development and execution of strategic projects and continue to build the coalition’s robust network of external partnerships with government, business and community leaders.

“President Ono and the University of British Columbia have been leaders within UC3 since its formation, so this is a natural transition that will build on the strong foundation we have established,” said Napolitano. “I am confident that President Ono’s leadership will take the coalition to new heights as research universities continue to pursue urgent climate research and solutions that will help secure a sustainable future for our communities.”

This leadership transition comes at an important moment for UC3, which recently launched its 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. Over the past two years, UC3 has convened thousands of university leaders, elected officials, policymakers, philanthropists and advocates in two dozen community forums across the U.S., Mexico and Canada to discuss on-the-ground climate solutions.

UC has been a leader in climate change research and institutional sustainability for decades. Through the University’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative, launched by Napolitano in 2013, the University is working toward achieving systemwide carbon neutrality in its operations by 2025. In May, UC’s Office of the Chief Investment Officer announced that its investment portfolios are fossil-free after the sale of more than $1 billion in assets.

The University of British Columbia has also committed to achieving zero net emissions as guided by the university’s Climate Action Plan. UBC has invested in a range of green energy initiatives including a biomass facility that reduces reliance on natural gas, a solar-powered parkade, and net zero-energy faculty and staff housing.

"On behalf of the entire Second Nature team, thank you to President Napolitano for your leadership in 2018 to initiate the creation of UC3 and your continued leadership thereafter,” said Tim Carter, president of Second Nature. “In just two short years, UC3 has accomplished much under your guidance and we look forward to accelerating that progress under the leadership of President Ono.”

More information about UC3, its members and its current projects is available on the UC3 page on the Second Nature website.