Emissions reductions has been a priority for UBC for the past two decades. UBC achieved its Kyoto Protocol targets for academic buildings five years ahead of schedule through major energy efficiency upgrades, and in 2010 and 2015 developed the university’s first two Climate Action Plans with a focus on campus operations.
Building on this, the UBC Climate Action Plan 2030 (CAP 2030) puts the university on an accelerated path to net zero emissions for buildings and energy supply as well as to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions for extended impact areas over the next 15 years, aligning with the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise within 1.5°C.
Distinct CAP 2030 plans for both the Vancouver and Okanagan campuses were developed simultaneously and will be presented for endorsement by the UBC Board of Governors in December 2021. Included, for the first time, is UBC’s explicit commitment to reducing emissions from extended impact sources beyond the University’s direct control – these include emissions from UBC-related commuting, food systems, waste and materials, and business air travel.
Alongside clean, renewable and low carbon energy solutions, energy-efficient technologies, and institutional change, meeting these targets will require deep community participation. Through emerging and expanding climate-related programs, policies, tools, resources, campaigns and engagement, UBC is committed to supporting students, faculty and staff in taking climate action, and championing research, staff expertise and student collaborations related to the climate emergency.
Please visit the Climate Action Plan 2030 websites (coming soon) for the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses to see all the UBC Climate Action Plan targets and projects, and to view our progress. Below are only some examples of the many actions that UBC is implementing to reduce emissions.
SHORT TERM (1-3 YEARS)
|Biomass Energy Centre Expansion: A new 12 MW biomass fuelled hot water combustion boiler installation in the Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Facility (BRDF) on the Vancouver campus. The boiler will generate 70% of the hot water needed for the Academic District Energy System, improve efficiency, save costs, and significantly reduce GHG emissions associated with natural gas use. Nov, 2021. Learn more.|
|Business Air Travel Emissions Reduction Project, Phase I: Explore systemic barriers and opportunities to reducing air travel emissions between UBC campuses and across the university ecosystem, and establish a coordinated approach to addressing them.|
|Develop UBC Food Systems Strategy: Create a campus-wide food system strategy which will address all components of UBC’s food system, including food production, service providers, consumers, and food waste recovery.|
|Supporting Community Climate Action: Develop and expand sustainability and climate engagement and outreach programs, campaigns, tools, and resources to ensure the UBC community is well-supported in taking action, with ongoing rollout of community support over the course of the decade. Learn more.|
MEDIUM AND LONG TERM (4-10 YEARS)
|Decarbonize Vancouver Campus: Increase the use of low-carbon sources to heat and operate campus buildings through strategic building retrofits and decarbonization of the Academic District Energy System.|
|Implement the UBC Okanagan Transportation Plan: This plan serves as a roadmap for meeting the transportation needs of the Okanagan campus community and to support sustainable transportation choices. If all strategies and actions in the Transportation Plan are successfully implemented, the campus can achieve a 40% GHG emission reduction by 2030. Learn more.|
UBC GHG emissions reductions targets
85% reduction in campus operations emissions
This reduction would significantly exceed the 45% Paris Agreement emissions reduction target to keep global warming to 1.5°C. Reducing emissions by 85% translates to eliminating virtually all conventional fossil fuel use from campus operations.
45% collective reduction in emissions from extended impact sources
Encompasses emissions associated with commuting, business air travel, food, waste and materials, and embodied carbon. This will keep the university’s reductions in alignment with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target.
100% reduction in operational greenhouse gas emissions
This target accelerates 15 years ahead of UBC’s original net zero target (2050).