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CU Boulder kicks off development of Climate Action Plan

October 21 2022 - News Release News Editorial

CU Boulder has announced that development of a comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CAP) has begun. The 2022–23 CAP will be a living document and lay out a path toward mitigating climate change by mobilizing the university’s strengths to advance just, equitable climate solutions. Additionally, the CAP will examine the full breadth of campus operations, as well as how the university invests in sustainable procurement and design, building renovations and resilience. 

CU Boulder kicks off development of Climate Action Plan

The plan will work toward achieving the institution-wide goal of 50% greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 and total carbon neutrality no later than 2050. The CAP will build on the chancellor’s Call to Climate Action; the 2009 Conceptual Plan for Carbon Neutrality; and the most recent Campus Master PlanEnergy Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan and Housing Master Plan.

Accomplishing the next phase of the university’s climate action plan—reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from a 2005 baseline by 2030, and becoming carbon neutral by no later than  2050—will require a continued shift toward energy efficiency and clean energy as well as addressing opportunities in transportation, food, grounds, waste reduction and water.

“I am pleased we are in the process of developing the Climate Action Plan to move our university toward carbon neutrality, solidifying our efforts in the pursuit of climate action and justice. It is essential for us to begin this process and lessen the effect of climate change on vulnerable communities. We must use the resources available as a leading institution in climate solutions, encouraging leadership within students, staff and faculty to pursue climate action and fostering resilience in the process.” Heidi VanGenderen, Chief Sustainability Officer, CU Boulder

The CAP update comes at a time when CU Boulder is set to partner with United Nations Human Rights to co-host the Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit in December 2022. The CAP Steering Committee recognizes the value of community participation and will be hosting opportunities for our campus community to provide input in the coming months. More information on these opportunities will be shared prior to the events. The CAP is expected to be completed and published in the fall of 2023.

The CAP will follow a three-stage process:

  • Analyze and understand the current sustainability framework and existing gaps.
  • Quantify the costs and year-by-year emissions reduction results of specific strategies.
  • Prepare an action plan to guide the implementation of its recommendations.

The Climate Action Plan Steering Committee has led oversight of this important effort and will continue to monitor and make recommendations intended to help ensure CAP methods and practices support the institutional mission and local engagement.

The Climate Action Plan Steering Committee includes:

  • Chris Ewing, Interim Vice Chancellor for Infrastructure and Sustainability
  • Brian Lindoerfer, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management
  • Heidi VanGenderen, Chief Sustainability Officer
  • David Newport, Director of the Environmental Center
  • Karen Bailey, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
  • Josh Radoff, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Specialist Lead
  • Chuck Kutcher, Senior Research Associate at RASEI
  • Chris Wright, Director of Capital Finance
  • Ida Mae Isaac, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Climate Action Plan Project Manager

Those who have questions about the CAP, as well as other input or ideas, are encouraged to email sustainability@colorado.edu.

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