UC announces new approaches to combat climate change

UC Office of the President

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The University of California today (Sept. 10) announced a series of measures to make UC a national leader in sustainability, efforts that range from proposals to actively use its $91 billion portfolio to invest in climate solutions to a major agreement to boost solar energy use.

Among the findings of the president’s Task Force on Sustainable Investing, scheduled for discussion at the UC Board of Regents’ Committee on Investments meeting Sept. 12, are recommendations to:

·        Allocate $1 billion over five years for direct investments in solutions to climate change.

·        Adhere to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the largest university and the first public American university to do so.

·        Establish and implement a framework for sustainable investment with the goal of completion by the end of the current fiscal year.

·        Integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors as a core component of portfolio optimization and risk management. Evaluate all strategies for achieving ESG goals as soon as practical, including whether to use divestment.

In addition, as part of President Janet Napolitano’s goal of bringing university operations to carbon neutrality by 2025, the university has signed agreements to secure substantial solar energy for the university for the next 25 years.

The agreements with Frontier Renewables, a company that develops photo-voltaic solar power projects, include the use of two solar fields to be constructed in Fresno County. The project will enable the university to put 206,000 megawatt-hours per year of solar energy back into California’s electrical grid — enough to power 30,000 homes and avoid more than 88,000 metric tons of carbon annually.

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