Climate

Climate Goals

climate icon roundGOAL: By 2014, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels.

STATUS: Achieved

GOAL: Achieve climate neutrality from building and fleet use by 2025.

STATUS: In Progress

Campus Performance Overview

Goal: UC to be Carbon Neutral by 2025

In 2013 the UC system announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative (CNI) and pledged to be carbon neutral by 2025 from scope 1 and 2 carbon emission sources.

Berkeley graph -- greenhouse gas emissions

For Berkeley to get to to carbon neutrality, or zero-net carbon emissions from building and fleet energy use, the campus is aiming to reduce emissions by about 80%. This reduction represents 80% of Berkeley’s carbon emissions. The remaining 20% of Berkeley’s emissions outside of the 2025 goal are associated with the campus commute, business air travel, waste, and water. A neutrality date for these other scope 3 emissions is currently 2050.

UC Berkeley has taken the first steps toward neutrality by reducing emissions to 1990 levels, faster than required by California and UC guidelines.  In 2016 Berkeley's 2025 Carbon Neutrality Planning Framework was published providing a high-level course of action and strategies to meet the target. Learn more.

 

STARS Performance Overview

Air and Climate Category

According to STARS: “This subcategory seeks to recognize institutions that are measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. Global climate change is having myriad negative impacts throughout the world, including increased frequency and potency of extreme weather events, sea level rise, species extinction, water shortages, declining agricultural production, and spread of diseases. The impacts are particularly pronounced for low-income communities and countries. In addition, institutions that inventory and take steps to reduce their air pollutant emissions can positively impact the health of the campus community, as well as the health of their local communities and regions.”

Berkeley’s STARS Performance

Total Points Available: 11.00

Air & Climate Points Claimed: 7.50

  • In 2018 UC Berkeley outperformed research and doctoral institutions of its size in STARS by winning 68 percent of available points in the Air and Climate category, compared to 51 percent among all research and doctoral institutions.

  • UC Berkeley scored among the top quartile of all colleges and universities in part by cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 2008 to 2016.  

  • The campus has also instituted strict guidelines on pollutant emissions from vehicles and conducted a complete inventory of emissions from stationary sources.

Research

Watch Bill Collins’s presentation: “What are the most promising strategies for finding cost-effective and equitable climate solutions?”

Evaluating Campus Emissions

In addition to tracking absolute changes in emissions over time, the campus also analyzes emissions, energy use, and transportation scaled to campus population and square footage. This process illuminates how efforts have helped to curb emissions related to growth. For example, between 2008 and 2016 while the population has grown 8% and square footage has grown 3%:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions per square foot have decreased by 23% and emissions per capita has decreased by 27%.

  • Fuel use from the campus vehicle fleet and faculty, staff and student commutes per capita has decreased by 21%.