UC Berkeley News


UC joins higher education's efforts to curb global warming

| 04 April 2007

The University of California has joined the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, a broad effort by the nation's higher-education institutions to address global warming by neutralizing their greenhouse-gas emissions and accelerating research and educational efforts to equip society to re-stabilize the earth's climate.

"The University of California is pleased to take part in this important effort to safeguard the environment," said UC President Robert Dynes in signing the commitment on behalf of the 10-campus system. "As a public research university, we have an obligation to continue our leadership role in the area of environmental stewardship."

The commitment calls for UC to take clear, comprehensive steps to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible. UC's recent policy on sustainable practices already exceeds the requirements laid out by the national group: The system currently sets greenhouse-gas-emission targets of returning to 2000 emission levels by 2014 and to 1990 levels by 2020. University policy also requires each UC campus to develop an action plan to meet these targets and a strategy to achieve climate neutrality as soon as possible after the interim targets are achieved.

UC has already taken significant steps to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions as part of its green-building, clean-energy, and sustainable-transportation policy that preceded the new expanded sustainable-practices policy. These measures include:

. In its current direct-access electricity contract, UC will acquire 17 percent of its purchased electricity from green e-certified renewable-energy sources.

. All campus transportation-demand-management programs encourage access to public transportation. As part of UC transportation guidelines, each campus will implement by January 2009 a pre-tax transit-pass program to facilitate the purchase of transit passes by UC employees, or establish a transit-pass program for employees.

. UC is saving nearly $5 million in annual operating costs as a result of its energy- efficiency projects. UC and California State University recently completed a $3 million program funded by the California Energy Commission to install 13 pilot projects to demonstrate new energy-efficiency technologies. Several technologies proved so successful that campuses are making plans to install them on multiple buildings.

In the last three years, UC has received several grants for energy-efficiency projects. It has also taken advantage of rebates from utility companies and has negotiated a special partnership program with the state's utilities. This partnership has provided nearly $11 million in energy-project incentives, with an additional $10 million expected over the next two years.

For more information on UC sustainability and clean-energy efforts, visit www.ucop.edu/facil/sustain.