Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 76.34
Liaison Elida Erickson
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Santa Cruz
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Ellen Vaughan
Water & Climate Action Manager
Sustainability Office
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

UCSC was a founding member of the Monterey Bay Regional Climate Action Compact which is an action network of government agencies, educational institutions, private businesses, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations that are committed to working collaboratively to address the causes and effects of global climate change through local initiatives that focus on economic vitality and reduce environmental impacts for the region.
MBRCAC partners develop and implement initiatives that focus on accomplishing these primary objectives:
Regional Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
Economic Development, Job Creation/Retention
Climate Change Awareness and Education
Strategic Climate Change Adaptation
UCSC Sustainability Office actively participates in the MBRCAC’s meetings and initiatives as they work with local and regional municipalities to advance sustainability. Current efforts include working to improve electric vehicle incentives and get local charging stations funded and installed.

Professors contributing to local efforts to advance sustainable policy:
Karen Holl, Professor of Environmental Studies: served on the Blue Ribbon Panel for the San Lorenzo Valley Water District advising on management of invasive species in Santa Cruz sandhills habitat on their property.

Chris Wilmers, Professor, Environmental Studies Department: Works with the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County and Caltrans to figure out wildlife connectivity in the region. So far that work has resulted in a bond measure that raised $5 million and the land trust has raised much more to construct a tunnel under Highway 17 for wildlife movement.
Lab Web Page: http://wildlife.ucsc.edu
Puma Project: http://santacruzpumas.org
African Lion Project: http://africanlions.org

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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

• 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.
• 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 born 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.

Professors working to advance state/provincial/regional issues:
Michael E. Loik, Ph.D., Professor, Plant Physiological & Climate Change Ecology, Environmental Studies Department was a co-author on the 4th California Climate Assessment which findings aim to influence policy decisions: http://www.climateassessment.ca.gov/

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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

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. Examples include:
-- 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.
-- In October 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency 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. The coalition released a report entitled Research for Solutions: Convening Stakeholders to Galvanize Local Climate Action (https://secondnature.org/wp-content/uploads/SecondNature_UC3_2018ProgressReport-Final.pdf) 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.

Professors contributing to the national policy conversation:
Anne. R. Kapuscinski:
Chair of the Board of Directors of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). A highly respected, national NGO whose entire work involves bringing the best available science to the table to inform policy at the federal and state levels and also in the Climate Treaty processes. As a Board member with expertise in food and the environment, and some expertise in climate and policy, Dr. Kapuscinski has been a prominent signer of various letters sent to the CA legislature, and to members of Congress, on timely policy issues. UCS staff write dozens of influential science-policy reports annually (many get covered in the mass media, social media and inform policy making); although Board members don't get involved in writing these reports and rarely help review certain aspects, Board members do guide the overall strategy, focus and budgeting that make these reports possible.
August 2018 - December 2019), Dr. Kapuscinski chairs a National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine committee on "Strengthening Sustainability in Undergraduate and Graduate Education" and the committee's outputs will inform national policy for sustainability education, for instance, regarding whether to develop a national accreditation program for sustainability higher education degrees.

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, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

International policy contributions from faculty:

Katherine Seto, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies:
A global Analysis of allocation in transboundary tuna fisheries management: https://www.wcpfc.int/node/33278
Tracking Purse Seine Transshipment in the WCPO: Preliminary Findings: https://www.wcpfc.int/node/33282

Karen Holl, Professor of Environmental Studies:
Participated in a site visit and contributed to a report organized by The Nature Conservancy and Center for Global Development providing advice on reforesting in and around the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.

We’re members of AASHE

AASHE has long engaged in advocacy and outreach on behalf of our members and higher education sustainability. In 2018, we aimed to increase our advocacy efforts. As a result, we supported many issues from topics ranging on environmental degradation to educational grant programs Efforts this year included:
Joining the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) and signing the GEEP Pledge to support universal environmental literacy.
Joining the the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), which exists to help bring about a transformation of the economic system, of society and of institutions so that all actors prioritize shared wellbeing on a healthy planet.
Working with the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) to build support for the Climate Change Education Act.
Endorsing of the March for Science for the second year in a row.

AASHE staff went to approximately 15 events around the world such as the Steps towards a Sustainable University Barometer workshop (pictured), the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges (EAUC) Conference, ACTS Power of Partnerships event and the Sustainability Curriculum Consortium Conference. AASHE's presence at these events helps create and strengthen partnerships in order to better serve our members.

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):

UC Santa Cruz does not make political donations.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.