The University of California Office of the President recently released a statement reaffirming their commitment to fighting climate change in light of President Trump’s withdrawal from the historic Paris climate accord.
The 2015 pact between 195 countries to battle global warming worldwide established a goal to limit the increase in Earth’s temperatures below 2 degrees through nation-specific policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“At UC, we will continue to meet our own ambitious climate targets…conducting research and developing technologies that will dramatically accelerate our ability to transition to clean and renewable energy sources,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.
According to the statement, the UC is “doubling down and planning for the future” by pledging to “support and work with California’s governor, congressional delegation and state legislators to ensure that California and the UC system stay at the forefront of combating global climate change.”
In California, transportation is estimated to create almost 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. At UCLA, we are always moving forward on climate progress. Our Sustainable Transportation Plan outlines transportation demand management and vehicle use objectives to reduce emissions and improve campus livability.
Experts agree one of the biggest things that can be done to truly make a difference in reducing emissions is to entice people out of single occupancy vehicles and have them use an alternative mode of transportation or try multi-modal commuting. Significant efforts have been made to educate faculty, staff and students about our sustainable commute programs and incentives. We are constantly strengthening our transit programs to offer free trial passes to any new student, new employee, and any Bruin new to transit.
UCLA is also working to support drivers of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids by expanding EV infrastructure throughout the campus. A project is in progress to build more charging areas that are accessible to permit holders, visitors, and those with disabled parking needs.
Coming this fall, UCLA will launch a bike share program as part of ongoing plans to make biking a safer and more accessible transportation option. There are also efforts to improve the pedestrian environment (with a special focus on health and wellness through walking) via campus infrastructure upgrades.
UCLA has already exceeded its goal of reaching 1990 greenhouse gas emission levels by 2020 and is concentrating on reaching the 2025 goal of carbon neutrality set by the UC Office of the President. A major part of the initiative to eventually emit net zero greenhouse gases will involve improving travel options that impact the climate less and protect the future while still providing convenience and benefits to today’s commuters and visitors.
So, while the federal government considers a possible renegotiation to re-enter the climate accord or a revised deal, Bruin students and employees will continue making positive contributions to the fight against climate change.