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Climate Action Plan 2.0

With the initiation of Climate Action Plan One (CAP 1.0), UO sought to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Hundreds of institutions across the country shared this ambitious goal. UO, having been an early participant in the national sweep toward emissions reduction, made meaningful progress. But by 2019, it became clear that the University could not continue meeting the Oregon Model for Sustainable Development’s commitments. The reason: energy efficiency projects in existing buildings had been completed, so there were no more projects to offset the energy consumption of newly constructed buildings.

In 2019, student leaders met with President Michael Schill to discuss the University’s ongoing emissions reduction efforts. They asserted that the University needed to set firm climate action goals in line with UO’s mission to steward resources sustainably and responsibly. Student leaders also petitioned University leaders to develop specific emissions reduction plans that followed the best available climate science and research. University leaders agreed to set and pursue concrete, shorter-term actions to reduce GHG emissions. This meeting resulted in a re-launch of UO’s Climate Action Plan.

The result, Climate Action Plan Two (CAP 2.0), outlines concrete actions UO must undertake both to reduce GHG emissions and to gather data to inform these actions. This “re-set” of UO’s Climate Action Plan informs the University community of the opportunities, costs, and potential reductions associated with a variety of GHG emissions reduction efforts. As a result of CAP 2.0, the University community will understand exactly what emissions reductions are achievable.

CAP 2.0 Commitments

The CAP 2.0 names the following goals:

  • To reduce GHG emissions
  • To reduce reliance on carbon-emitting energy sources
  • To transition to more sustainable and economical energy sources for thermal utility production and distribution

CAP 2.0 outlines the following specific actions:

  • LEED gold certification continues to be required in all newly constructed buildings.
  • The University must seek to reduce its GHG emissions to 25% less than what is allowable by 2014 Oregon code. (*Note: Oregon GHG regulations consistently increase efficiency requirements over time. The 2014 code is therefore highly efficient, so this new commitment actually seeks to reduce emissions to lower levels than CAP 1.0 required).

CAP 2.0 also commits the University to pursue energy efficiency projects in existing buildings as capital improvement funding becomes available from the state of Oregon. And, importantly, CAP 2.0 initiates a series of studies to identify how UO can pursue a path toward GHG emissions reduction most effectively.