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Let’s Make Plans to Electrify the UC

The climate crisis requires promptly retiring the UC’s

methane-burning fossil fuel infrastructure

News Highlights

  1. Nov 2023: The MIT Technology Review carries the story of how the UC has killed its carbon offsets strategy – it credits the very insiders who assiduously opposed our activism, but we know that much of the credit is due to us, the grassroots. Our scrutiny won’t end!
  2. April 2023: Major Win! Chancellor Khosla of UC San Diego accounts his “hope, dream and desire of an electric UCSD by 2030“.
  3. November 2022: The 10 campus Fossil Free Pathways Task Force gets to work, and related task forces continue their work at UCD and UCSC – a new day for UC climate action dawns
  4. September 2022: With President Drake’s support, a Fossil Free Pathways Task Force is formed with the aim of delivering plans for all campuses by August 2023.
  5. June 2022: 85% of voting UC Faculty say YES to the memorial resolution for campuses to reduce fossil combustion!
  6. April 2022: UC Berkeley starts advocating with lawmakers for $325M to Get Off The Gas.
  7. March 2022: UCSD reluctantly releases its first set of electrification plans arising from the 250K spend – they are 63% redacted.
  8. October 2021: The Berkeley administrators have received $1M for an electrification study. Three consulting firms have been hired!
  9. October 2021: UCSF Academic Senate sets an Electrification-of-Campus discussion for Nov 4th
  10. August 2021: More clarity about how UC’s biogas program functions like an offset, with the same core problems.
  11. June 2021: Members of our team publish an exposure in the Sacramento Bee of the offsets purchases of UC Merced and UCLA (further exposing the bankruptcy of ‘carbon neutrality’) – alternative open access link here.
  12. May 2021: Our public records request to the UC reveals key data on campus emissions and offsets policy.
  13. April 2021: Chancellor Khosla of UC San Diego announced $250,000 for first electrification planning
  14. April 2021: President Drake’s representative announced that the President is “not ready to abandon carbon neutrality as our 2025 goal”
  15. November 2020-March 2021: Our team meets with Chancellors and also UCOP staff (President Drake declines to meet). We urge a shift of goal from carbon neutral to fossil free.
  16. October 2020: Energy Systems Petition, with 3,500 UC Signatures and supported by UC Unions representing nearly 40,000 submitted to UC administration.

The UC Burns Methane Gas on its Campuses

The campuses burn methane in cogeneration plants to generate electricity and heat.

The UC’s Massive Emissions Exacerbate the Climate Crisis

The burning of methane emits over 1 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide per year (Scope 1 emissions)

Scope 1 is mostly burning fracked methane

The UC’s Current Approach to Climate Action is Outdated

The UC’s climate action plan is called “Carbon Neutrality 2025”. At this point, this depends heavily on purchasing carbon offsets, which is deeply problematic.

Stanford’s Campus Energy Runs on Electric Input

There is an Alternative: Early Retirement of the UC Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

The UC needs to make plans now to run its campuses on electric input instead of (mostly) methane. The electric input would come from a mix of on-site solar and the wider grid, which is increasingly sourced from utility-level wind and solar.