Cal Poly Pomona has developed an approach for achieving climate neutrality that favors local action to improve efficiency and change behavior over offset projects or strategies. In reviewing emission trends, modeling projected emissions, and assessing the impact of various reduction strategies, we concluded that 2030 was an ambitious, but realistic timeline for achieving climate neutrality of campus operations. The vision plan estimates that emissions can be reduced by 65% over our projected “business as usual” level by 2030 through local action. A target emissions level of 20,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent is established for 2030. This target is well below 1 metric ton per capita and represents a substantial, but achievable, campus-based effort for reducing emissions. However it is recognized that neutrality cannot be achieved through local action alone. Some activities, such as commuting and air travel, are indispensible to campus operations and while they may be able to be greatly reduced, they cannot be completely eliminated. Therefore the 20,500 metric tons of residual emissions projected for 2030 will be offset by campus resources and activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.
The 2030 Climate Action Plan will reduce campus emissions across all sectors to a target emissions level of 20,500 metric tons: Transportation, Facilities, Energy, Agriculture and Landscape, Solid Waste and Refrigerants. A number of benchmarks in each sector will be used to guide short-term actions aimed at meeting interim targets between 2015 and 2030. Furthermore, it commits the university to reduce emissions to zero, using partnerships and offsets that reduce emissions elsewhere.
This graph represents our initial assessment of greenhouse gas emissions at Cal Poly Pomona in recent years. Emissions have steadily increased, primarily due to increases in campus population, with an emissions level in 2005 of nearly 65,000 Metric Tons.
Approximately 43% of campus emissions result from purchased energy. Purchased electricity is shown as the dark blue area in the bottom of the graph, and the use of natural gas represented by the yellow. These emissions are primarily associated with the operation of campus buildings, including cooling, heating, and the use of electrical equipment. However, as a commuter campus, the sector that contributes the greatest to greenhouse gas emissions is transportation. Nearly 55% of campus emissions are associated with various transportation activities, including commuting to and from campus by students, faculty and staff, campus fleet operations, and air travel on University business.