The University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, is a bold new coalition of 15 leading North American research universities that will prototype a collaborative model designed to help local communities achieve their climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.
UC3 members have already pledged to reduce their institutional carbon footprints, with commitments ranging from making more climate-friendly investments to becoming operationally carbon neutral.
UC3 is committed to fostering a robust exchange of best practices and lessons learned in pursuit of carbon neutrality and reducing greenhouse emissions. In addition to sharing this knowledge with each other, surrounding communities, and public and private sector partners, the coalition will be tracking and reporting progress toward their own aggressive climate goals and serving as models for climate solutions.
Arizona State University is designed to empower discovery and innovation that has a profound impact on our community and our world. ASU researchers work collaboratively across disciplines to adapt to and mitigate the effects of a changing climate to ensure a resilient, healthy and prosperous future. At the same time, ASU is living its climate responsibilities, working to reach its commitments to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from building energy sources by 2025, and from all sources by 2035. Between 2007 and 2016, ASU reduced emissions per on-campus student by 33.9 percent.
Arizona State University President Michael M. Crow
“We are at a precipitous time in human history where the actions of humans are directly affecting the health of Earth. We can either ignore these signals or we can act on them and help make our planet more resilient and able to sustain future generations. At ASU, we are committed to finding solutions to this important problem. Higher education is key in overcoming what has become a threat to the habitability of our planet. This is why ASU established the first free-standing School of Sustainability in the U.S. in 2006, offering the first degree program in sustainability. While college and university campuses across the country are, in aggregate, responsible for only about 3 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions emitted in the U.S., we are educating 100 percent of our future political, business and social leaders. This fact alone places significant accountability on higher education and its leaders to take action.”
Boston University is a large private research university located in the heart of Boston, but with global impact. Boston University’s commitment to sustainability was reaffirmed in 2017, when the Board of Trustees approved an aggressive Climate Action Plan by which the University aims to reduce emissions to net 0 by 2040. Building on the University’s 25 percent reduction of emissions six years ahead of a 2020 goal, the plan outlines efforts that include sourcing 100 percent of electricity from wind farms and boosting energy efficiency by 31 percent. The plan calls for funding of infrastructure improvements to prepare for flooding and heat surges, and calls for the creation of an academic Initiative on Climate Change and Sustainability, which will use the campus and city of Boston as a living laboratory for research and education.
Boston University President Robert A. Brown
“Boston University’s Climate Action Plan provides a critical framework for mitigating the impact of anthropogenic climate change,” says Boston University President Robert A. Brown. “It is a major step forward in the University’s response to threats caused by extreme weather patterns and the increased likelihood of problems caused by flooding and heat waves.”
Caltech is a world-renowned science and engineering institute located in Pasadena, California, that marshals some of the world’s brightest minds and develops transformative and innovative instruments to address fundamental scientific questions and pressing societal challenges. Caltech’s faculty and students are expanding our understanding of the universe and inventing the technologies of the future. The Institute is equally committed to reducing its own environmental footprint, implementing plans that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its campus to 1990 levels by the year 2020 and decarbonize its electricity supply by 2024, and developing a utility master plan to decarbonize thermal utilities. Caltech has achieved a 22% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2008 as a result of a focus on energy efficiency and the deployment of on-site distributed energy resources, and currently has 2.8 million square feet of LEED certified buildings, with an additional 300 thousand square feet under construction, including the Bechtel Residence, the first planned net-zero carbon building on campus.
Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum
“Climate research presents fundamental scientific issues as well as opportunities for technological interventions that can improve the human condition. For decades, Caltech faculty have leveraged scientific discoveries to solve global climate challenges. Our researchers established the link between smog and automobile emissions, identified the toxic impact of lead, which catalyzed the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency, and currently strive to quantitatively understand and potentially mitigate the sources of climate change. Moreover, we are committed to doing our part to help the community meet its climate goals, and have reduced significantly both carbon emissions and water usage on campus.”
More than 50% of the energy consumed at Tecnológico de Monterrey comes from renewable sources, which is why this institution is emerging as a success case in the commitments assumed by Mexico before the international community on the issue of climate change. DistritoTec initiative seeks to be an example of a community where it is demonstrated that the efficient use of resources in the urban environment is possible through citizen participation. We are exploring sustainable mobility, smart buildings that use clean energy generated by themselves, reuse of water; this is something that already happens in some places and our commitment is to show that these success stories are possible in the urban environments of our country.
Tecnológico de Monterrey Chancellor Salvador Alva
“Tecnológico de Monterrey is committed to protecting our planet. The university has been a pioneer in the use of renewable resources, from small actions to big initiatives. The day-to-day activities have become Tec’s trademark, like using recycled water from our own water plant, providing donation bins for separating trash to public elementary schools, reusing our furniture, and planting trees in our nearby communities. These actions are pushing big changes in the Mexican society, where Tec de Monterrey is collaborating with the Ministry of Energy and other institutions in order to provide sustainable resources; with our in-depth projects called “Semana i”; and with the state-of-art research that our professors and students do. To move Mexico to a knowledge economy, we need take care of our natural resources.”
La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is Mexico’s largest and oldest institution of higher education and the largest university in Latin America, with undergraduate programs at 22 schools located in Mexico City and the surrounding area, with attendance of some 350,000 students. Scientific research is a primary focus at UNAM, conducted across nineteen institutes, ten centers, and five research programs across Mexico. One of these programs, the Programa de Investigación en Cambio Climatico (PINCC/UNAM), was created in 2010 in the face of the threats posed by climate change to Mexico’s development, with the purpose of coordinating efforts to produce multidisciplinary research useful for policy making.
PINCC/UNAM Director Dr. Carlos Gay Garcia
“Climate change and the depletion of vital resources accompanied by disasters and natural emergencies have acquired such importance and a magnitude that to prepare society for these challenges needs a deep understanding of these very complex phenomena. UC3 provides the opportunity of expanding the knowledge base and human resources necessary to devise the actions and activities to be deployed to adapt to changes and to achieve sustainable development within a low carbon economy and very importantly with a regional reach.”
For nearly 150 years, The Ohio State University has fulfilled its land-grant mission to create and discover knowledge to improve the well-being of our state, national and global communities. Recognized for its leadership in developing durable solutions to the pressing challenges of sustainability, Ohio State supports an evolving culture of sustainability through collaborative teaching, pioneering research, comprehensive outreach, and innovative operations, practices, and policies. In 2015, strategic sustainability goals were developed to support Ohio State’s core goals of teaching and learning, research and innovation, outreach and engagement, and resource stewardship, with a focus on the specific goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
Ohio State University President Michael V. Drake
“Ohio State is deeply committed to reducing our carbon footprint and promoting energy efficiency. Our participation in UC3 significantly advances several long-term sustainability goals, including the university’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As a flagship public research university, we are leveraging our resources to explore cleaner energy sources and solve sustainability challenges in Ohio and around the world.”
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. Announced during Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson’s 2018 State of the University System address, SUNY plans to source 100 percent of its electricity from zero-net-carbon sources, including renewables and energy storage, as soon as possible. SUNY previously committed to improving its energy efficiency performance by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, as put forth by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Order number 88, and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2015 baseline levels, as outlined in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order number 166. With this new net-zero goal, SUNY plans to hit these goals well ahead of schedule.
SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson
“Sustainability is a shared responsibility to preserve our civilization, and I am passionate about the leadership role SUNY can take in educating the next generation of sustainability leaders, researching climate change solutions, and creating energy-efficient environments across our 64 campuses. At my inaugural State of the University System address, I described how SUNY, as the country’s largest comprehensive system of higher education, will achieve our own ambitious sustainability goals through important partnerships and collaboration. Today, by joining the coalition with other leaders in higher education we take that effort international. On behalf of SUNY, we are proud to join the University Climate Change Coalition and I am thankful to my fellow university leaders for their partnership in this effort.”
The University of British Columbia is a global center for research and teaching, consistently ranked among the 40 best universities in the world. As one of the world’s leading universities, the University of British Columbia creates an exceptional learning environment that fosters global citizenship, advances a civil and sustainable society, and supports outstanding research to serve the people of British Columbia, Canada and the world. UBC recently achieved a 34% reduction in its Vancouver campus emissions relative to 2007 levels. In line with the UBC Climate Action Plan, the university aims to reduce emissions by 67% by 2020, with a 100% reduction by 2050, against a 2007 baseline.
University of British Columbia President Santa J. Ono
“At UBC, we have a long-standing commitment to exploring and embracing sustainability through groundbreaking research, education and innovative projects on campus. These efforts helped to significantly reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions on campus, and to promote smart, healthy communities. We look forward to working with other members of this coalition to promote sustainability in our region and beyond.”
The University of California is one of the world’s premier public research institutions, with 10 campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated national labs and a statewide agriculture and natural resources program. UC combines education, research, operational sustainability, and public service to take on the local and global challenges of climate change. In line with its carbon neutrality initiative, UC is working to become carbon neutral in its operations by 2025. Despite increased student enrollment, UC has reduced its systemwide emissions by 15 percent since 2009 through energy efficiency gains and the adoption of solar and other renewable energy generation. In 2016, UC made the largest solar purchase ever made by a U.S. university.
University of California President Janet Napolitano
“The University of California system is thrilled to partner with this group of preeminent research universities on an issue that has long been a major strategic priority for all of our institutions. No one is better positioned than we are to scale up research-based climate solutions. The UC3 coalition believes that addressing climate change is an area where some of the world’s greatest research institutions can, and must, lead.”
For more than half a century, CU Boulder has been a leader in climate and energy research, interdisciplinary environmental studies programs, and engaging in sustainability practices both on campus and beyond. These endeavors fit within CU Boulder’s mission to improve communities through collaborative research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Campus leaders have set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from a 2005 baseline, a 50 percent reduction by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.
University of Colorado, Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano
“With our university partners in UC3, we can meet the challenges of climate resiliency and sustainability. Through leadership and innovation, together we can positively impact humanity now and for generations to come.”
The University of Maryland, College Park is the state’s flagship university and one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities. UMD is a global leader in research, entrepreneurship and innovation, educating more than 38,000 students and advancing knowledge in areas of importance to the state, the nation, and the world. UMD is working to achieve a 50% reduction in carbon emissions (from 2005 levels) by 2020 and a 60% reduction by 2025. The university is committed to achieving carbon neutrality for all scopes of emissions by 2050 and will make major updates to CAP at least every five years to include strategies that are based on the best knowledge and technology available at that time.
University of Maryland, College Park President Wallace D. Loh
“As consumers, grassroots organizations, communities, businesses and states all have the power and responsibility to make a difference on climate change. We and other research universities are increasing sustainability on our campuses, and using scientific and policy expertise to assist communities. UC3 will extend this impact.”
The University of New Mexico (UNM) is internationally recognized for its research in renewable solar energy and biofuels energy technology, and has incorporated sustainable energy practices since the 1970s. We are proud to have one of the first sustainability studies program in the country, which culminates in a research or creative expression capstone project. UNM provides heating, cooling, and electricity to hundreds of buildings through an innovative district energy system that uses energy-efficient cogeneration to produce both steam and electricity. Since its installation in 2006, UNM has reduced its energy consumption by 24% despite the significant increase in Main Campus square footage.
Interim University of New Mexico President Chaouki Tanios Abdallah
“We are excited about the possibility of partnering with other research universities to highlight our accomplishments and learn from each other, as each of our institutions strive toward carbon reduction and improving energy technologies for the future.”
The University of Toronto is one of the world’s top research-intensive universities, driven to invent and innovate. The university is an international leader in climate change research, internal energy production, and overall energy-efficiency. With the establishment of a Presidential Advisory Committee on the Environment, Climate Change and Sustainability in 2017, the University of Toronto plans a three-prong approach that will treat the campus as a living lab of sustainability, act as an agent of change for sustainability in the community, and eventually develop an initiative that would make it possible for all undergraduate students to add sustainability content to their programs. From 2008 to 2016, despite a growth of 26% in floorspace, and 18% in the number of students, the University of Toronto’s total greenhouse gas emissions have declined by 32% (over 45,000 tonnes). Under the UC3 climate commitment, the university plans to organize activities around climate change initiatives and has set a target of 37% reduction (about 38,000 tonnes) in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030.
University of Toronto President Meric Gertler
“Universities have a critical role to play in meeting the challenge of climate change. The University of Toronto has an outstanding record when it comes to both research in the field and carbon reduction efforts across its three campuses, and we’re looking forward to working with other universities to maximize our collective impact.”
The University of Washington is one of the world’s preeminent public research universities and has been recognized as a national leader for its deep commitment to sustainability on its campuses and in the community. UW empowers students and researchers to learn, discover and build solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. The UW is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15% below 2005 levels by 2020, and 36% below 2005 levels by 2035, in accordance with laws passed by the Washington State Legislature in 2009. The UW is also working to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, as technology developments allow.
University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce
“Climate change isn’t a future problem — it is affecting people’s health and well-being right now. Universities have the capability to not only help understand the effects of climate change, but to also develop the technologies and policies to reduce carbon emissions. The University of Washington is proud to be part of the University Climate Change Coalition and to renew our commitment to protecting the health of our planet.”
Washington University in St. Louis is building a better world by preparing and supporting more effective leaders with the knowledge, experience, and creativity to tackle complex problems. Through cutting-edge education, research and practice, WashU’s global community is accelerating the discovery and application of solutions to the great energy, environmental and sustainability challenges facing our planet. A leader in green building, the University committed in 2008 to meet or exceed LEED Silver certifications for all new construction or major renovations. The campus is now home to more than 2.25 million square feet of LEED certified space, the majority of which achieved LEED Gold or Platinum certification. In 2010, the university set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 without purchasing carbon offsets. Just five years into this effort, the University updated the goal to make it even more ambitious – to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 including all campus growth, which nearly doubles the reduction required by the previous goal.
Washington University in St. Louis President Mark Wrighton
“Washington University in St. Louis recognizes that it is incumbent upon us, as a leading research institution, to help find solutions for the greatest challenges facing our planet. That includes climate change. Failing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions stands to irreparably harm our communities on a local, regional and global scale. Our university is committed to addressing climate change through our operations, curriculum, faculty research, and partnerships. These efforts have produced meaningful and measurable results: despite nearly doubling our campus’s physical footprint during the past 30 years, our university is on track to reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. We are proud to participate in the UC3 cohort, so together we can lead by example and share best practices to bring about lasting and positive environmental change..”
- 1 Arizona State University
- 2 Boston University
- 3 California Institute of Technology
- 4 Tecnologico de Monterrey
- 5 La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
- 6 The Ohio State University
- 7 The State University of New York
- 8 The University of British Columbia
- 9 The University of California
- 10 University of Colorado, Boulder
- 11 University of Maryland, College Park
- 12 The University of New Mexico
- 13 The University of Toronto
- 14 The University of Washington
- 15 Washington University in St. Louis