UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative

call_to_actionThe UC Office of the President announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in November 2013. The Initiative aims for the University of California to emit net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025. To get there, President Napolitano created a Global Climate Leadership Council (GCLC). The GCLC harnesses the research, teaching, service, and operations strengths of the ten UC campuses to:

  • Advise senior leadership on successful implementation of the system-wide plan for achieving carbon neutrality by 2025,
  • Disseminate campus sustainability best practices,
  • Coordinate all relevant stakeholders to integrate sustainability goals and policies into the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, and
  • Connect the Initiative to UC’s teaching, research and public service mission.

UC Irvine offers significant leadership to the GCLC:

  • Vice Chancellor Wendell Brase co-chairs the Council,
  • Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham was a member of the Council and chaired the Student Engagement Working Group in 2014-15,
  • Director Abby Reyes co-chairs the Faculty Engagement and Education Working Group,
  • Professors Jack Brouwer, Steven Davis, Michael Prather, and Eric Rignot are members of the Research Working Group,
  • Professor Travis Huxman is a member of the Faculty Engagement and Education Working Group,
  • Professors Debra Richardson and Bill Tomlinson are leading development of GCLC’s system-wide Climate Education Gateway, and
  • Earth System Science student Ashley Payne was the system-wide graduate student representative to the Council in 2014-15.

To get involved, please email sustainability-initiative@uci.edu.

For Faculty


Faculty Engagement and Education

The purpose of the Faculty Engagement and Education Working Group of the GCLC is (1) to develop broad faculty support and participation in UC’s 2025 carbon neutrality goal and (2) to advance UC leadership in climate change and sustainability education. The work group aims to make sustainability and climate neutrality part of the curricular and/or other educational experience of all UC students by 2020.

Faculty Climate Action Champion Award

President Napolitano has created one year-long climate action fellowship award to be given to one faculty member on each campus for the 2015-2016 academic year. The award will promote faculty leadership in scholarship and teaching about climate-action solutions. Each campus will select a faculty climate action champion after soliciting proposals from faculty of all disciplines for activities that engage students and provide campus-wide leadership in carbon neutrality and sustainability issues. Faculty champions will receive a $25,000 grant to fund their proposals. UC Irvine will solicit applications for the award during Summer 2015.

Faculty Curriculum Workshops and Networking Events

President Napolitano has also enabled the creation of a series of campus workshops to incentivize, support, and connect faculty across campuses who voluntarily choose to infuse existing course curriculum across various disciplines with relevant climate and sustainability concepts. Each campus will identify two co-leaders for the workshop and networking events who will attend a system-wide training session in Fall 2015 and lead a subsequent workshop at their home campus for their colleagues during the 2015-16 academic year. The program also includes a follow-up networking event in 2016-17 that is open to all faculty and showcases the revised courses. Enriching existing courses in this way is very cost-effective and enhances the educational experience of many students, especially those for whom sustainability and climate may not be a major focus. Participating faculty will receive up to $1200 to incorporate sustainability and climate into existing curriculum. At UC Irvine, Professors Jessica Pratt and Miryha Runningstrom are the campus co-leads.

Climate Education Gateway

With a goal to increase climate and sustainability literacy system-wide, an online portal will be developed to enable UC faculty to share educational resources across campuses and disciplines. The UC Irvine Center for Research on Sustainability, Collapse-Preparedness, and Information Technology (RISCIT) is leading the development of the Gateway. RISCIT welcomes collaboration from peers across the UC system.


For Students