Task force to probe how quickly Yale can achieve net zero carbon emissions
President Peter Salovey has formed a task force to review and propose new ambitious and transformative goals for Yale’s Climate Action initiative, which is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in campus facilities and operations. The president has specifically charged the task force to explore how quickly Yale can achieve net zero carbon emissions — a goal in line with the Paris Agreement.
“We have an obligation to turn our collective knowledge, expertise, and creativity to tackling the threats posed by climate change,” said Salovey. “This is by no means the only global problem our university is addressing, but scientific evidence tells us that this challenge must be solved immediately. At Yale, we have the range of leadership — in arts, engineering, humanities, science, social science — needed to make a difference and show other institutions how to remedy a problem that we all share.”
The task force will begin meeting immediately, and the president has asked its members to submit their report early in the spring semester.
The members of the task force are John Bollier (chair), vice president for facilities; Deborah Berke, dean of the School of Architecture and professor of architecture; Indy Burke, the Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and professor of ecosystem ecology; Ken Gillingham, associate professor of economics; Ann Kurth, dean of the School of Nursing and the Linda Koch Lorimer Professor of Nursing; and Tim Pavlis, associate vice president for strategic analysis and institutional research.
In 2005, Yale was one of the first universities in the world to establish a greenhouse gas reduction commitment. The university pledged to reach 43% below 2005 emission levels by 2020. In 2016, Yale committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. To achieve these goals, the university has developed a robust set of tactics: updating buildings for energy conservation and efficiency; establishing and adhering to sustainable construction and renovation standards for buildings; increasing efficiency in Yale’s on-campus power plants; and promoting behavioral shifts by members of the campus community. To date, Yale is on track to meet the original commitments, even though there has been significant growth in campus population and square footage.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished through past goals of the Climate Action initiative,” said President Salovey. “However, around the globe, carbon emissions are at an all-time high. We must do our part to change the course we are on. We must reach higher and do more to create a better future.”