Leading on Climate

UC is committed to understanding the climate crisis and implementing practical solutions to build a more equitable, resilient and healthy world.

Global climate disruption is impacting the planet in ways never experienced in human history. Warmer temperatures are contributing to changing weather patterns that cause more intense storms and heavier rainfall in some places, while elsewhere drought is parching the land. Glaciers are melting at an accelerated rate and oceans are rising.

The overwhelming scientific consensus is that climate change is being driven by the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels.

The University of California has responded to this growing environmental crisis with direct action aimed at ending its reliance on fossil fuels.

UC launched the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, which commits UC to emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025, something no other major university system has done. UC is pursuing fossil-free operations by building upon UC’s pioneering work on climate and sustainability across its operations, research, education, investments, and public service.  

Harnessing UC’s leadership in sustainability

The initiative capitalizes on UC's historic standing as a sustainability leader. In 2004, UC enacted a systemwide Sustainable Practices Policy, which positioned the University as a leader in environmentally sound operations. And in 2007, all 10 UC chancellors signed the American College and Universities Presidents’ Climate Commitment.

UC is taking bold steps to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 and accelerate the path to decarbonization. The University continues to expand its energy efficiency efforts and increase its use of energy from renewable sources.

The Global Climate Leadership Council advises the UC President and Chief Financial Officer on achieving the ambitious goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, and pursuing fossil free operations while also providing guidance for furthering its other longstanding sustainability goals. The council also provides guidance on advancing teaching, research, and public service on climate change and sustainability.

The council is comprised of scientists, administrators, students and experts from inside and outside UC. It engages the entire University community in its effort to seek out the best practices, policies and technology to achieve carbon neutrality and to advance teaching and research in climate change and sustainability. 

The UC Bonnie Reiss Climate Action Fellowship Program funds student-generated projects that support UC’s climate action efforts. All 10 UC campuses plus the UC Office of the President, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory participate in the program.