UCSC Climate Action Plan open for public comments

The University of California, Santa Cruz has just completed its first draft of the Climate Action Plan and has opened it for public comment.

The UCSC Climate Action Plan outlines the current UCSC Greenhouse Gas Inventory which is 79,726 metric tons of CO2 Equivalents. The plan provides strategies to attain the goals that UCSC has signed on to, which are to reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2014; to 1990 levels by 2020; to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; and to achieve carbon neutrality as soon as possible.

Strategies highlighted in the plan include aggressive implementation of energy-efficiency projects across campus, a new alternative-energy cogeneration plant, solar photovoltaic projects, creation of a climate action fund (mostly funded by a fee on all air travel reimbursements), supporting teaching- and research-oriented demonstration projects, and enhancing the Campus Sustainability Office.

The Climate Action Plan has been released for public comment in order to ensure an inclusive and comprehensive plan. The public comment period is open until May 8, 2009. The plan and highlights of the 10 Climate Action recommendations can be downloaded from the STEPS Institute web site (steps.ucsc.edu), and comments can be e-mailed to climate@ucsc.edu.

"This is a perfect opportunity to identify areas that are missing and that need to be expanded, and to build support around strategies that are perceived as economically unfeasible," said Chancellor Climate Action intern, Tony Bautista.

The UCSC Climate Action Plan is a product of the Chancellor Council on Climate Change, which was created by UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal. The council is composed of the following faculty, administrators, and students:

Daniel Press, co-chair, professor and chair, Environmental Studies

Lisa Sloan, co-chair, professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and dean of the Graduate Division

Alan Spearot, assistant professor, Economics

Ali Shakouri, professor, Electrical Engineering

Ilse Kolbus, director, Physical Plant

Patrick Testoni, energy manager

Aurora Winslade, campus sustainability coordinator

James Barsimantov, doctoral candidate, Environmental Studies

Larry Pageler, director, Transportation and Parking Services

Abby Young, program coordinator, STEPS

Tony Bautista, UCSC undergraduate, CUIP Intern

Charlie Lewis, UCSC undergraduate, Luce Foundation intern

Jasmin Vargas, UCSC undergraduate, Luce Foundation intern

For more information, contact Aurora Windslade (sustainability coordinator) at

aurora@ucsc.edu, or Daniel Press (chair of the Chancellor Council on Climate Change and chair of the Environmental Studies Department) at dpress@ucsc.edu.