|Submission Date||March 4, 2021|
University of California, Berkeley
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy
|2.00 / 2.00||
SDG & OS Engagement Fellow
Office of Sustainability
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level:
UC Berkeley is a member of the Berkeley Climate Action Coalition, which also includes nonprofit groups, the city of Berkeley, faith-based organizations, schools and businesses. University leaders participate in coalition planning producing the Climate Action Plan strategizing ways to comply with the city of Berkeley's voter-approved requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. The coalition has also formed working groups around community choice energy, land use and transportation. Around community choice energy, the coalition advocated for the establishment of an Alameda County Community Choice program, in which the City of Berkeley and UC Berkeley now participates. The coalition was central in lobbying for and establishing the East Bay Community Energy program, which has become the default energy supplier to Alameda County businesses and residents focusing on renewables. The coalition also advocates for land use that minimizes greenhouse gas emissions, prepares for the already-apparent effects of climate change and builds resilient communities. The coalition supports more parks, bike paths and green spaces throughout Berkeley, as well as community gardens, drought resistant landscapes and bee-friendly plants.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level:
UC State Government Relations (SGR) serves as the University’s primary representative to state elected officials and agencies, providing advocacy on legislation and public policies that provide for, extend, and enhance the University’s authority to conduct its business operations in a manner that is efficient and sustainable as well as advocating against measures that would limit this authority.
Additional examples are cited in the Local section of this credit. Due to the nature of out local and regional community, the work at these two levels is closely intertwined.
The UC System continues to pursue state cap-and-trade revenue and other sources of funding for campus energy-efficiency projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower future energy costs. Many of the proposed projects would also serve as highly visible demonstrations for state-of-the-art energy conservation technologies. UC supported the proposed $25 million allocation of cap-and-trade funds for the University included in the 2016-17 budget and requested additional funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects beyond the scope of the proposal that would have provided even greater environmental and economic benefits.
The UC Office of the President’s Wholesale Power Program (“WPP”) Public Policy Involvement: The University of California Wholesale Power Program is in regular communication with UC’s state government relations and policy teams review and track proposed energy-related legislation at the state level. As a regulated load serving entity (“LSE”, a.k.a. an Electric Service Provider or “ESP”) UC often participates in the implementation phase of legislation within state regulatory proceedings.
UC, in its role as an ESP, is regulated by the CPUC and CEC (California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”), the California Energy Commission (“CEC”).) We also have to transact through/via the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) for our energy needs. We also report the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”).
Recent highlights of WPP activity at the state level include:
UC staff attended a series of CPUC En Banc meetings and informal public workshops focusing on consumer and retail choice in California. Mark Byron, the UC Office of the President executive director of renewable energy programs, was a panelist on the topic of “What Consumers Want” for the May 2017 En Banc meeting hosted at the CalEPA building in Sacramento.
UC became a party to two CPUC proceedings related to the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment (“PCIA”), which is an exit fee borne by customers who do not take full service from an Investor Owned Utility (“IOU). UC has approximately 300,000 MWh of load in this category. In the consolidated ERRA proceeding we are seeking PCIA credits that have been withheld by PG&E. In the PCIA Reform/Replacement proceeding, we are advocating for revisions to the PCIA that are transparent, predictable, and prevent cost shifting to departed customers, as well as establishing a PCIA “sunset” timeline and creating a buy-out option for future PCIA charges.
UC also filed comments regarding:
- Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) penalty/waiver reforms,
- Implementation of mandatory Integrated Resource Plans (“IRPs”) for all LSEs, pursuant to SB350, and
- The CEC’s proposal to implement Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”)Accounting methodology as part of the required annual power source disclosure process, pursuant to AB1110. As a regulated LSE, we also routinely file progress reports with all the aforementioned agencies related to capacity obligations, RPS compliance, power supply sources, and retail sales.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level:
UC Federal Government Relations is the University's liaison to the federal government, working with Congress, the administration, federal agencies and national organizations to advocate for the university and its missions in education, research and public service.
-- Convening UC faculty and staff to host Congressional briefings. Congressional briefings that highlight the impact of the University's sustainability efforts on campus operations and showcase UC as a model for other institutions are a part of the University's effort to demonstrate the value of investing in UC and advocate for the federal funding that supports the University's energy and sustainability goals.
-- Participating in DC lobby days, including the annual Coalition for National Science Funding Day on Capitol Hill. Representatives from UC campuses attend meetings with members of Congress and their staff and contribute to the National Science Foundation (NSF) project exhibit.
-- On June 2, 2017, one day after the White House announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, the University of California released a statement affirming its commitments to the goals of the Paris agreement and doubling down on its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. UC simultaneously launched a call to members of the UC community through the university's UC Advocacy Network (UCAN) urging students to make pledges to support and work with California's Governor, Congressional delegation and state legislators to ensure that California and the UC system stay at the forefront of combating global climate change.
-- The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized the University of California for its commitment to green energy. UC was one of only eight organizations nationwide to receive an Excellence in Green Power Use Award from the EPA. The annual award recognizes the nation's leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation's voluntary green power market. David Phillips, UC's associate vice president for energy and sustainability, attended the 2017 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in New York, where EPA bestowed its award.
--On February 6, 2018, the University of California announced that it had assembled an international coalition of 13 research universities across the United States, Canada and Mexico - called the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3 - who were committing to work together to galvanize local and regional action on climate change. Member institutions represent more than 1.5 million students across North America. In 2018, the coalition released a report entitled Research for Solutions: Convening Stakeholders to Galvanize Local Climate Action that serves as a roadmap for how local, state, and federal lawmakers, higher education institutions, businesses and community leaders can work together to achieve ambitious, research-tested climate goals. The University Climate Change Coalition has also released a beta version of a dashboard to identify climate assets at each campus to facilitate more transparency and ease of collaboration with external stakeholders. 2019 highlights include two new working groups launched, three products released (including the dashboard), over 380 participants engaged across 8 cross-sector forums, and 3 in-person events (including the 2019 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit). Most recently, the Coalition released its 2020-2025 UC3 Strategic Plan with an updated vision and trajectory for the Coalition.
Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level:
In November 2019, University of California as a whole reaffirmed its commitment to the climate. Joining over 300 other universities, UC signed the White House pledge "American Campuses Act on Climate Change" to amplify the voice of the higher education community in advance of the United Nations COP21L climate negotiations in Paris, and to inspire world leaders to commit to action on climate change.
“UC Reaffirms Commitment to Carbon Neutrality” Article: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-reaffirms-commitment-carbon-neutrality-sustainability-goals-following-paris-agreement
“UC President Napolitano’s statement on White House exit from Paris climate accord” Article: https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/press-room/uc-president-napolitano-s-statement-white-house-s-exit-paris-accords
UC Berkeley faculty have, with the university’s support, played pivotal roles in helping to set energy and environmental policy on the international level. Professor Daniel Kammen, of the Energy & Resources Group, served as Science Envoy to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry from 2016-2017 where he helped shape international policy encouraging renewable energy development and tighter restrictions on carbon emissions. Similarly, Bill Collins, director of the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division of the Earth and Environmental Sciences Area of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is a Coordinating Lead Author of the ongoing Sixth Assessment of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In that role, Professor Collins is helping to update the scientific basis of global climate policy and advocate for a range of climate and energy policies going forward.
The International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), is just one example of a valuable network UC Berkeley participates in to further its global reach. Established in 2006, the IARU is a network of network of eleven international research-intensive universities from nine countries. The eleven members share similar values, a global vision, and a commitment to educating future world leaders. Central to these values is the importance of academic diversity and international collaboration as reflected in IARU's principles. The International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) established a campus sustainability initiative in 2009 with the aim of promoting collaboration between member institutions and developing best practices strategies in environmental management.
The Center for Environmental Public Policy (CEPP) at the Goldman School of Public Policy (GSPP) takes an integrated approach to solving environmental problems. By synthesizing scientific, economic, technical, social, financial, and political understanding, CEPP collaborates to support the creation and implementation of public policies based on exacting analytical standards that carefully define problems and match them with the most impactful solutions. CEPP’s primary focus is on climate change, the key environmental challenge of our time. CEPP is focused on the development of global, national, local, and private sector policies that ensure successful implementation of the Paris Agreement. The Center also hosts an ongoing seminar series on International & California Climate Policy & Energy Transformation.
A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
Website URL where information about the institution’s sustainability advocacy efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
The information in this field was provided by the University of California Government Relations Office, both at the federal and state levels, and by the UC Berkeley Office of Sustainability.
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.