Decarbonization & Electrification Planning and Town Hall

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Tony Cobb, AVC Physical Planning, Development & Operations and Elida Erickson, Director, Sustainability Office Co-chairs, Decarbonization & Electrification Task Force

UC Santa Cruz is embarking on the next phase toward the full decarbonization and electrification of the campus. To reach this goal, Chancellor Cynthia Larive has charged the UCSC Decarbonization & Electrification (D&E) Task Force with developing a long-term plan to end the use of fossil fuels by the university. The ultimate goal is to reduce carbon emissions, ideally to zero, by 2030, using current or emerging technologies and leveraging strategies and projects that have already been identified and are underway.

Our campus efforts build on a University of California systemwide Carbon Neutrality Initiative  announced by the Office of the President in 2013, committing UC to emit net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025, but go beyond carbon neutrality by setting a plan for going carbon free.

Decarbonization & Electrification Task Force

Chancellor Larive has been engaged with the  UCSC Climate Coalition, made up predominantly of students, to form a plan to achieve fossil-free operations on campus. In summer 2022, the chancellor created the D&E Task Force, composed of administrators, faculty, staff, and members of the UCSC Climate Coalition. The task force is also engaging consultants to help plan the university’s sustainable future.

Why ending fossil fuel use is vital  

Global climate disruption is impacting the planet in ways never before experienced in recorded human history. Everytime we use fossil fuel energy we’re contributing to the problem. Scientists say we only have a few years left to change course and avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis. Luckily, California and the UC system are great leaders in this fight. Our regional electrical grid is around 93% carbon free and because of the UC’s Clean Power Program, all of UCSC’s purchased electricity is counted as carbon free. However, UCSC still generates considerable emissions from the combustion of natural gas in our cogeneration plant. This effort will engage consultants in identifying clean, electrical alternatives to our natural gas use. 

Get involved

We invite all UCSC community members, including students, staff, faculty, alumni, Santa Cruz residents and organization leaders, to join us on January 26, 2023, at the inaugural Decarbonization & Electrification Town Hall. The D&E Task Force and the Climate Coalition will update the campus on the task force’s work and lead a discussion on how to plan the next steps for the decarbonization of our campus. Your partnership, comments and suggestions are essential to creating an effective plan. 

Date: January 26, 2023 

Time: 10:00 a.m.- noon 

Location: Stevenson Event Center, Stevenson College

If you have questions you’d like addressed at the town hall or have any questions, comments, or suggestions about the D&E planning process, please submit your thoughts here. 

If you are unable to attend, there will be more opportunities to get involved in this critical work to reduce and ultimately end our use of fossil fuels at UC Santa Cruz. To learn more, visit the D&E website