UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Campus joins state climate registry

– The University of California, Berkeley, has joined the California Climate Action Registry, pledging to measure, report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a means of mitigating climate change.

The campus joins more than 75 major companies, cities, government and non-governmental agencies that have committed to tracking and making public their greenhouse gas emissions through the registry. Three other UC Campuses - San Diego, Santa Barbara and Davis - joined earlier this year.

"Our decision to join the climate registry is an important early milestone in our longer-term effort to address the effects our campus has on climate change," said Edward Denton, UC Berkeley vice chancellor for facilities services. Denton signed a statement of intent to join the registry on Oct. 18, with reporting starting in 2007.

The registry was created by the California legislature in 2000 to help companies and organizations throughout the United States track, publicly report and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. It has been widely recognized as a gold standard for public reporting of greenhouse gases.

At the campus's third annual Sustainability Summit this April, UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau announced the initiation of a program to implement a campus-wide climate protection plan, which had been recommended by a Campus Climate Protection Steering Committee. The chancellor's support of this steering committee, which is made up of faculty, staff and students, expands the administration's action toward a "greener Berkeley" and recognizes the coalitions that have developed in the campus community around sustainability issues.

These actions began three years ago, when then-UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl established the Chancellor's Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS) to integrate principles of sustainability into existing campus educational, operational, research and public-service programs, and to instill a culture of sustainability into the campus's long-range planning and design.

Two years ago, the committee published a Campus Sustainability Assessment, providing a snapshot of the campus's sustainable performance, recognizing recent accomplishments and identifying potential opportunities for decreasing the campus's environmental footprint. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is an important step in that direction, and CACS's goal is to quantify the campus's greenhouse gas emissions and possible ways to reduce them by next April.

Earlier this year, in partnership with Berkeley Institute of the Environment (BIE), the committee launched the Cal Climate Action Partnership (CalCAP) to develop and implement a long-term strategy to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the campus.

"CalCAP is a student-faculty-staff-administration collaboration which demonstrates the university community's commitment to developing solutions to society's greatest challenges," said Daniel Kammen, co-director of BIE and a professor of energy and resources, public policy and nuclear engineering.

With the commitment to identify greenhouse gas reduction possibilities, UC Berkeley will create an interdisciplinary and innovative model for climate change mitigation that other universities and organizations committed to climate change mitigation can adopt, according to Fahmida Ahmed, project manager of CalCAP.

Membership in the climate registry also prepares UC Berkeley for emissions regulations that could be mandated by the state. California Assembly Bill 32 (AB-32) became the first law to comprehensively limit greenhouse gas emissions at the state level and recognizes organizations like UC Berkeley that take early action in reporting their greenhouse gas emissions with the registry. It further calls for registry members to "receive appropriate credit for early voluntary reductions" in their greenhouse gas emissions.

CACS has initiated other efforts to bring the campus closer to sustainability. The committee has funded 14 student interns who are working on projects that could help the campus reduce carbon emissions. These projects include a pilot program to reduce energy use through education and behavior change; development of an "energy dashboard" for campus buildings; and a search for green chemicals that can be used by campus custodians. Other internships in partnership with the community include work on understanding the "green collar" job sector and managing pharmaceutical waste, which means fewer pills into the bay.

In addition, a demonstration "green apartment" is scheduled to open in one of the campus residences later this month.

"The University of California, Berkeley, is well known for its forward thinking approach to education. Committing to the Registry's rigorous program to measure and certify their emissions is a natural extension of this demonstrated leadership," said Diane Wittenberg, president of the California Climate Action Registry.