Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 70.69
Liaison Careen Arsenault
Submission Date March 8, 2013
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.2

Cornell University
PAE-5: Climate Action Plan

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Robert Bland
Sr. Director
Energy & Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have a plan to mitigate its greenhouse gas emissions that meets the criteria for this credit?:

A brief summary of the climate plan’s long-term goals:

As the New York State land grant university and an Ivy League institution, Cornell's comprehensive plan for climate neutrality will have an impact well beyond our campus borders. From students, faculty, and staff to researchers and the administration, our actions and initiatives to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions will engage, educate, and inspire our state, our nation and our world.

Created with financial support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and among the first such comprehensive programs undertaken by a major university, the Climate Action Plan (CAP) sets the goal of reducing carbon-based emissions from the Ithaca campus to net zero by the year 2050, thus achieving carbon neutrality. The carbon neutrality goal includes Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions along with employee air travel and commuting.

Recommended actions in the plan will help the university improve the energy efficiency of its facilities, reducing operating expenses and realizing savings otherwise subject to commodity fuel cost fluctuation, projected carbon legislations, and potential capital expenditure. At the same time, the CAP will help Cornell unify research and teaching around sustainability in its broadest sense: economic strength and stability; research and teaching excellence; and outreach programs that fulfill our Ivy League and land-grant missions.

A brief summary of the climate plan’s short-term goals:

See the wedge chart that plots planned reductions year by year through 2050.

The campus reduced overall emissions by 25% in the first two years of the climate plan (from 2009 to 2011) by aggressive energy conservation, a new combined heat and power plant, and ending the use of coal. Our recent inventory posted in January 2013 to the ACUPCC site showed additional reduction (see the GHG reduction credit).

Year the climate plan was formally adopted or approved:

An indication of whether institution has made a commitment to reduce GHG emissions a specific amount by a target year:

List which emissions (scope 1, 2, and/or 3) are included in its GHG emissions commitment:
Scope 1, 2 and 3 (Commuting & Air Travel)

The reduction level (percentage) institution has committed to:
carbon neutrality (zero emissions)

The baseline year the institution used in its GHG emissions commitment:
June 30, 2008

The baseline emissions level institution used in its GHG emissions commitment:
319,000 metric tons

The target year the institution specified in its GHG emissions commitment :
Jan. 1, 2030

The website URL where information about the climate plan is available:

Our target year for climate neutrality is 2050 (not 2030). The pull down does not allow a commitment year beyond 2030

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.