California AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, set groundbreaking goals for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. The CSU chose to go beyond state mandates in its 2014 Sustainability Policy, aiming to reduce GHG emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2040 – ten years ahead of the state goal. Greenhouse gas emissions are broken down into three categories:
Scope 1 – Direct on-site emissions (combustion of fossil fuel, fleet vehicles, ag ops, refrigerants)
Scope 2 – Emissions from purchased utilities (electricity, water)
Scope 3 – Emissions not under direct control (commuting, business travel, waste water, solid waste)
A climate action plan is a detailed and strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and related climatic impacts. Organizations design and utilize climate action plans as customized roadmaps for making informed decisions and understanding where and how to achieve the largest and most cost-effective emissions reductions. Climate action plans, at a minimum, include an inventory of existing emissions, reduction goals or targets, and analyzed and prioritized reduction actions. Ideally, a climate action plan also includes an implementation strategy that identifies required resources and funding mechanisms.
In this report Cal Maritime presents a Climate Action Plan (CAP) and a climate change mitigation strategy to ensure the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions associated with campus operations leading to a carbon neutral campus by the year 2029. This report includes a baseline study of our campus carbon footprint; a target date for achieving carbon neutrality; interim target dates for meeting milestones; recommended changes to campus operations and facilities; mechanisms and indicators for tracking progress; actions to make carbon neutrality a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for students, staff, and faculty; and actions to expand research in carbon neutrality and improve sustainability efforts on campus. The report also includes community outreach and social responsibility elements. The following is a statement from California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy P. White:
"Climate change is a global challenge, but local decisions have a major impact. Our cumulative action is what will make the difference for current and future generations. California is currently and historically a leader on environmental stewardship, and the California State University plays a significant role in our state's work" (White, 2017).
In order to adequately address the threats of climate change it is imperative to develop and maintain collaborative efforts between students, faculty, staff, and the community. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to integrate innovative technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and enhance green economy.
We must also encourage environmental stewardship on campus, in our daily lives, and in the communities. We will do this by regularly conducting research, monitoring, assessing, and implementing strategies to reduce emissions from all on-campus operations. Cal Maritime will also continue to support and encourage hands-on sustainability learning through the collaboration between students, staff, faculty, and industry leaders in the form of coursework, internships, research, green technology demonstration, and programs. In order to provide tangible outcomes, we will track our progress and remember that climate change is constantly evolving, and we must adapt to its dynamic nature by evaluating and modifying our plans as needed. As a university, we believe that our collaborative efforts will help in the fight against climate change.