UC welcomes major expansion, progress report of University Climate Change Coalition

The University of California is celebrating the addition of five new schools to the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), now a network of 18 leading research institutions in North America dedicated to pursuing effective, practical climate change solutions. UC President Janet Napolitano will formally welcome the five new members today (Sept. 11) during the Science to Action Day event at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

UC3’s newest members are Boston University, the University of Arizona, the University of Connecticut, the University of South Florida and Washington University in St. Louis.

“We are thrilled these excellent research universities have decided to join forces with us to help solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges,” Napolitano said. “It is invigorating to see UC3 grow and continue leading efforts toward a more sustainable future.”

In a new report released ahead of the summit, UC3 outlines the tremendous work it has undertaken in its first six months as well as the member universities’ best practices for accelerating local and regional climate efforts. This year, UC3 members have held a dozen events across North America, bringing preeminent experts from diverse fields such as agriculture and technology to focus on climate change strategy. The University of California organized a cross-sector climate forum in Sacramento in April 2018. Gov. Jerry Brown, state agency officials, top UC researchers and other attendees discussed how university-state partnerships can help California realize its ambitious climate goals.

The coalition has also brought together more than 2,600 leaders from the public, private and academic sectors to collaborate around innovative climate solutions. Member universities hosted events tackling climate issues from a variety of perspectives, including a forum focused on reducing the carbon footprint of the construction industry at the University of Washington, and a transnational Boston University summit of 150 mayors dedicated to improving their cities’ climate resiliency. The report details member universities’ sustainability accomplishments to date, such as the addition of 1.5 million square feet of LEED-certified buildings to UC campuses in 2017.

“The progress report and expansion of UC3 demonstrates that higher education brings amazing assets to the climate challenges facing society,” said Dr. Tim Carter, president of Second Nature, the network manager of UC3. “Deploying these assets locally and sharing lessons through an international network will continue to accelerate progress in new and exciting ways.”

Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network, a group of hundreds of sustainability-minded colleges and universities, has been pursuing carbon neutrality and creative solutions to climate change for more than a decade. UC3 grew out of that network and the recognition that research universities are uniquely equipped to lead the charge for a sustainable future.

The University of California’s work with UC3 dovetails with its ongoing mission to become carbon neutral in its operations by 2025, in line with the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Last week, the university announced new sustainability standards and practices that will drive further progress toward that milestone, including a move to 100 percent reliance on clean-electricity supplies across all campuses and medical centers by 2025. In addition, UC Health officially joined the U.S. Health Care Climate Council and the California Health Care Climate Alliance, both leadership bodies of health systems committed to protecting the public from the health impacts of climate change and advocating for a sustainable, healthy future.

UC is among the inaugural cohort of 13 distinguished universities from across the United States, Canada and Mexico that formed UC3 in February 2018. The coalition is a network of research institutions committed to mobilizing their resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses, cities and states.