Climate Action Plan
Making climate neutrality a reality...
The Climate Action Plan (CAP), released in 2009, provides a roadmap for the Ithaca campus to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by the year 2050—and achieve carbon neutrality. CAP brings together campus stewardship in research, teaching, and outreach programs. Faculty, students, staff, alumni, and regional communities partner to create a unique “living laboratory” for low-impact behaviors and innovative technologies. The David R. Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future advances research and collaborations to foster a sustainable future for all. The President’s Sustainable Campus Committee guides the implementation of CAP and Cornell’s other sustainable campus commitments.
Award Winning. CAP was recognized by Second Nature, the founders of the national American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, and in 2010, Cornell received the first annual Climate Leadership Award for Institutional Excellence in Climate Leadership.
Unprecedented Success. In two short years, Cornell reduced its campus greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent through smart investment in facilities and energy efficiency, exceeding 2009 CAP projections.
Local to Global Engagement. Cornell partnered with local governments and organizations through the Tompkins County Climate Protection Initiative to reduce local carbon emissions. Cooperative Extension launched a statewide climate and energy team to help businesses, governments, and homeowners reduce energy costs and emissions. Meanwhile, faculty members Jefferson Tester (chemical and biomolecular engineering) and Natalie Mahowald (earth and atmospheric sciences) authored reports for the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- Download the 2011 Climate Action Plan Update
- Download the 2011 Climate Action Plan Executive Summary
- Download the archive of the 2009 Climate Action Plan
(The first iteration of the CAP, the original online 2009 version, which has served as a resource to many other institutions, has been preserved in this pdf document. It contains valuable documentation of the process and tools used to create Cornell’s Climate Action Plan, and the plan’s original 19 actions.)
A Five-Step Approach to Climate Neutrality
Integral to the CAP are 19 actions that work together towards eliminating greenhouse gases, broadening research, and enhancing educational opportunities and outreach efforts. These actions fall under various Focus Areas, and have been organized into the five categories (a.k.a. wedges) below. Look for these icons throughout the website that indicate which initiatives are part of the Climate Action Plan:
||Fuel Mix & Renewables|
Discover more information about these categories and their associated actions using the links below. The plan was the result of efforts made by key project leaders as well as hundreds of ideas and contributions from students, faculty and staff, from whom feedback was taken and whose contributions are reflected in the plan and it’s updates.