UC Davis and all other UC campuses are among more than 200 universities and colleges that recently signed the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge.
By so doing, the universities and colleges reaffirmed their commitment to sustainability and encouraged world leaders to forge “a comprehensive, ambitious agreement” during the U.N. climate change conference in Paris, Nov. 30-Dec. 11.
“We recognize the urgent need to act now to avoid irreversible costs to our global community’s economic prosperity and public health and are optimistic that world leaders will reach an agreement to secure a transition to a low-carbon future,” the colleges and universities said in their pledge.
Each school committed to accelerating its transition to low-carbon energy while enhancing sustainable and resilient practices on campus.
The White House worked with Second Nature, a nonprofit public benefit corporation, to develop the pledge. Second Nature’s involvement stems from the organization’s work in coordinating the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which dates back to 2006 and includes UC Davis’ participation.
According to the White House, the American Campuses Act on Climate Pledge has 218 signatories, and they represent more than 3.3 million students.
"As institutions of higher education, we applaud the progress already made to promote clean energy and climate action as we seek a comprehensive, ambitious agreement” in Paris, the pledge states.
The signatories are already taking significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase campus sustainability and resilience, and incorporate environmental action into academic curriculum, according to the White House.
And, more than 100 of the participating schools have set goals to be carbon-neutral within the next few decades. Indeed, the UC system has pledged to do so by 2025.
UC Davis continues to develop and nurture its own carbon-reduction strategies. For example:
- A 16.3-megawatt solar power plant, dedicated Nov. 20, is generating 14 percent of the electricity the campus needs and cutting the university’s carbon output by an estimated 9 percent.
- Energy efficiency and conservation programs have cut energy consumption in buildings by 28 percent, on average, compared with eight years ago.