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
In 2020, many buildings at Yale were not fully utilized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the University realized significant energy savings and emissions reductions, in which Central Campus and Kroon Hall cut down energy expenditures by 20% and 50%, respectively. Additionally, campus emissions were estimated to be 15,000 MTCO2e (Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent) lower than the previous year due to continuing efforts by Yale Facilities to maximize building energy savings.
GHG Emissions Reduction Commitment
By 2050, achieve zero actual carbon emissions with an interim target of net zero carbon emissions by 2035.
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 the 2015 fiscal year (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. In 2020, a new GHG Emissions Reduction Commitment was set, for achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2035, and achieving zero actual carbon emissions by 2050.
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 partnering with multiple departments and the graduate and professional schools for student travel.
Mitigation and Adaptation
Develop, test, and share climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in support of overall regional resilience.
Campus Resilience Plan
By 2023, create a campus resilience plan that aligns with local and regional adaptation approaches for resiliency.
A report on the university’s strengths and vulnerabilities in the wake of the pandemic, major storms, and social unrest was developed and shared with operational decision-makers and municipal leaders from New Haven. Strengthening social cohesion and planning for events likely to affect southern New England are priorities for the coming year.
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.
In April of 2021, Yale adopted a set of fossil fuel investment principles identifying specific behaviors that, if engaged in by a fossil fuel producer, would make it ineligible for investment by Yale’s endowment. The Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility has begun this work primarily by developing specific criteria to apply to fossil fuel producers.