Campaign 1: Decarbonize

General: we want the UC to change its language and goal from Carbon Neutral to Fossil Free

Specific: We want UC San Diego and the wider UC to specify and meet genuine emissions-reduction (decarbonization) goals by 2025.

Rather than frank emissions reductions (‘decarbonization’) UC has a carbon neutrality by 2025 plan. Unfortunately this is woefully inadequate. Problems include a lack of accountability, a reliance on both dubious offset mechanisms and biogas (about which experts have misgivings), and a very delayed reckoning with emissions from aviation and transportation (deferred to 2050).

Instead, what is needed is decarbonization (i.e. genuine emissions reductions). This must be done by setting specific goals and creating accountability mechanisms. This is especially pertinent at UCSD which is currently one of the biggest emitters (> 300,000 tonnes per year of C02) within the 10-campus UC system.

Concrete recommendations for UCSD to decarbonize were formed by the UCSD Academic Task Force on Climate Crisis report, ably assisted by members of the UCSD Graduate Association Climate Group.

Our October 2020 Electrification Petition to the UC system garnered over 3,500 signatures and support from UC Unions representing nearly 50,000.

We are currently involved in exposing Carbon Offsets and Biogas for what they are – Greenwashing.

Offsets are not a solution:

  • Plagued by problems of additionality and verification
  • Even if done “by the book”, still grossly inadequate
  • Do not scale; not a pathway to stopping warming
  • Even absent these issues, morally questionable

Biogas is not a solution:

  • Additionality issues: what new sources of biogas?
  • Does not scale; not a pathway to stopping warming (Biomass is only 1-2% efficient as solar PV)

UC needs to:

  • Promptly make shovel-ready electrification plans for its campuses
  • Raise the money
  • Get off the fracked gas by electrifying campus energy systems.