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
Our Objectives and Goals
Achieve carbon neutrality for Yale University by or before 2050
Since its launch in 2021, the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture has made remarkable progress in advancing research for nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change. The Center’s scientists aim to reduce carbon from the atmosphere by sequestering it in natural systems such as oceans, forests, and rocks, while also contributing to biodiversity conservation, agricultural productivity, and coral reef protection. In 2023, Yale hired four new faculty members to expand expertise in natural carbon capture in the planet’s oceans, coastal ecosystems, tropical forests, and soils. In addition, the Center has funded four major research initiatives, as well as seventeen research projects led by faculty from across campus.
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 levels. As we work toward our 2035 goal, we have made significant advances in planning for decarbonization, and have reduced our emissions by 28% below 2015 (our baseline year for reporting). For additional information about GHG reductions, please visit our Greenhouse Gas Emissions webpage.
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 and services, and waste.
Yale is in the process of setting new reduction targets for relevant scope 3 categories. For the category of student travel, we are defining our methodology and approach. For the remaining categories, we’ve observed the following emissions trends since 2020:
- Employee commuting: 23% increase
- Business travel: 1% increase
- Purchased goods and services: 6% decrease
- Capital goods: 22% decrease
- Waste: 28% decrease
For additional information about scope 3 emissions and our approaches to each category, please visit our Scope 3 Emissions webpage.
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.
In 2023, the Yale Community Resilience Building Workshop convened representatives from twenty-five administrative departments, four professional schools, and several students and alumni. The group shared their observations and perspectives on how Yale can best prepare for future climate-related emergencies resulting in a report to help prioritize strategies to address climate adaptation across Yale and beyond.
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.
Following the adoption of the Fossil Fuel Investment Principles by the Yale Board of Trustees in April 2021, the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility continues to work on the implementation of the five Principles to Yale’s endowment. To date, dozens of oil and gas producers and all coal producers have been deemed ineligible for investment under the Principles.