Taking Action in a Changing Climate
Yale is committed to achieving zero actual carbon emissions by 2050 with an interim goal to reach net zero emissions by 2035. Net zero will be attained primarily by reducing campus emissions 65% below 2015 levels and, as needed, retiring high-quality, verifiable carbon offsets. Zero actual carbon emissions will be accomplished by fully minimizing campus emissions and deploying clean energy technology.
Our approach to climate action is university-wide. We are expanding Yale’s teaching and learning opportunities to address the complexity and scale of global climate challenges, investing in our campus infrastructure and emerging technologies to reduce our impact, and have adopted fossil fuel investment principles to help facilitate a shift toward a decarbonized energy future.
- We strive for responsible energy use through conservation, efficiency upgrades, and creative approaches to campus use.
- We work to ensure that energy generation on campus is as efficient and clean as possible.
- Our greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategy steadily moves us toward our zero emissions targets.
- We are purchasing and retiring high-quality, verified carbon offsets to meet our emissions goals when necessary.
What You Can Do
- The Yale Carbon Charge is testing how price signals impact behavior.
- Help us save energy while at work, in class, and as you go about your daily activities.
Our Objectives and Goals
Achieve carbon neutrality for Yale University by or before 2050
In 2022, Yale Facilities Engineering and Operations leaders initiated the development of a “zero-carbon-ready” standard for all new construction and renovation projects, as part of the portfolio of strategies to achieve a zero-emissions campus by 2050. A zero-carbon-ready building is a highly energy-efficient building that exceeds energy code requirements and is ready to meet all building energy demands with clean electricity, renewable thermal energy generated with heat pumps, and no fossil fuel-based systems.
GHG Emissions Reduction Commitment
By 2035, achieve net zero carbon emissions, and by 2050, achieve zero actual carbon emissions.
We achieved our original GHG emissions reduction goal in 2020, when we reduced our net emissions by 43% below 2005. As we work towards our 2035 goal, we have reduced our emissions by 28% below 2015 (our baseline year for reporting).
Carbon Neutrality Strategy
By 2019, develop a strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by or before 2050.
This goal was achieved in 2019. The new commitment to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035 and zero actual carbon emissions by 2050 has strengthened our planning for campus decarbonization, including establishing a zero-carbon-ready standard for campus development and planning for campus geothermal infrastructure.
Scope 3 Emissions Reduction Program
By 2025, set targets and achieve emissions reductions for business travel, student travel, employee commuting, purchased goods & services, and waste.
Yale is in the process of setting new reduction targets for employee commuting, business travel, student travel, purchased goods and services, capital goods, and waste. This process includes a vendor engagement strategy for purchased goods and services and capital goods and creating a Sustainable Waste Committee to facilitate streamlined efforts around waste management.
Mitigation and Adaptation
Develop, test, and share climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in support of overall regional resilience.
Campus Resilience Plan
By 2025, complete the Yale Resilience Plan.
A report on the University’s strengths and vulnerabilities in the wake of the pandemic, major storms, and social unrest was shared with University leaders. Planning for a more formal workshop to address climate vulnerability and adaptation planning is underway.
Incorporate the risks and opportunities associated with climate change and possible governmental responses to climate change in the evaluation of investment opportunities.
Yale Investments and Climate Change
Encourage Yale’s external investment managers to consider the risks and opportunities associated with climate change in their investment processes with respect to Yale’s portfolio.
Since adopting fossil fuel investment principles in April 2021, and upon the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility, the Corporation Committee on Investor Responsibility determined that all coal producers and certain oil and gas producers are no longer eligible for investment by the Endowment. The work of applying the principles to fossil fuel producers remains ongoing.