Climate Change

Click to view our 2012 Climate Action Plan

UCSB recognizes the importance of doing its part to reduce its carbon footprint and is taking substantial steps to reduce CO2 emissions. While the mission of the University depends on having energy-intensive lab, classroom, and office space available to learn, study, and research, there are countless ways to mitigate our contribution to global warming. Currently, energy conservation can have the highest impact on energy use and UCSB has a dedicated energy team who work on these projects. Click here for a list of current and completed energy conservation projects.

Logo: Climate Action Leader


UCSB also tracks and certifies all of its greenhouse gas emissions through the California Climate Action Registry. The Registry is a non-profit greenhouse gas emission registry set up by the State of California that seeks to encourage early actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

UCSB joined the California Climate Action Registry in 2005 and entered its CO2 emissions from 2004. In 2007, UCSB began certifying all six greenhouse gases listed in the Kyoto Protocol.

Please click here for all of UCSB’s annual emissions reports.

Total Campus EmissionsOver these past years, UCSB total greenhouse gas emissions have risen slightly. This is largely due to the addition of energy-intensive lab space on the east side of campus. This modest increase would be much higher without continued investment in energy conservation. The graphs below show total emissions for each year since 2004 and total electricity and gas usage per square foot of building space.
Energy useNatural Gas UseSigning up with the California Climate Action Registry has provided many benefits for the campus, including transparency of our environmental impact, assurance of accuracy, ease and standardization in calculating our emissions, and a way to track our progress towards becoming a more sustainable campus from year to year. Also, this certification with the Registry assures that UCSB will be ahead of the curve if/when California begins to regulate carbon emissions. Assembly Bill 32 indicates this could happen as early as 2012.

Documenting our greenhouse gases through the Registry allows UCSB to measure its progress to the California Governor ’s goals for greenhouse gas emission reduction:


  • By 2012, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels
  • By 2020, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels

And to help reach UCSB other long-term energy goals:


  • Use 33% less electricity than our 2010 baseline by 2050
  • Reduce fossil fuel usage to 20% of total consumption (used in natural gas fired cogeneration)
  • Increase photovoltaic production to 7% of total consumption – about 4.2 million kWh/year
  • Increase wind energy production to 20% of total consumption – about 12 million kWh/year
  • Increase new green technology to 6% of total consumption – 3.6 million kWh/year

In partnership with AgCert, UCSB Transportation Services and Housing and Residential Services offset all of their carbon emission from transportation by funding a methane capture facility.