Cal Poly Pomona Committed to Achieving Climate Neutrality

Cal Poly Pomona Committed to Achieving Climate Neutrality
Cal Poly Pomona President Michael Ortiz

Cal Poly Pomona is taking a stand on global warming, and it is starting so by addressing its own impact on the environment. A comprehensive plan is being developed to assess and reduce the university's greenhouse gas emissions in order to become climate neutral.

University President Michael Ortiz has joined more than 200 presidents and chancellors of colleges and universities across the country by pledging his support to the Presidents Climate Commitment Leadership Circle. This consortium of educational leaders aims to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in an effort to ward off impacts of global warming.

Ortiz is one of three California State University presidents to sign this commitment.

“This commitment requires Cal Poly Pomona to develop a comprehensive plan of action that will lead to climate neutrality and increase the critical education and research necessary for society to re-stabilize the world's climate,” Ortiz says. “The urgency for dealing with global warming is well documented.”

To carry out the plan, Ortiz created the President's Climate Commitment Task Force, which includes individuals from each division and auxiliary on campus. The task force is co-chaired by Ed Barnes, interim vice president for Administrative Affairs, and Kyle Brown, director, Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies.

“Cal Poly Pomona is well positioned to complete this charge. For nearly 15 years, the Lyle Center has sparked research and education in environmental sustainability, which includes efforts to reduce the affects of global warming,” Ortiz says. “There is also a strong desire by many on campus to increase the teachings of climate neutrality and sustainability in our curriculum and in other educational opportunities for students.”

The task force will begin this process by completing a comprehensive inventory of the university's greenhouse gas emissions (including emissions from electricity, heating and commuting) and update the inventory every other year thereafter.  

Within two years, this group is charged with developing an institutional plan for becoming climate neutral.  This will include a target date for achieving climate neutrality, interim targets for goals and actions that will lead to climate neutrality.

The plan will also include actions to make climate neutrality and sustainability a part of the curriculum and other educational experiences for students, actions to expand research and other efforts necessary to achieve neutrality, and mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions.

While the task force is at work on the comprehensive plan, the campus must initiate two or more of the following actions to reduce greenhouse gases:

  • Establish a policy that all new campus construction will be built to meet at least the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Silver standard or equivalent              
  • Adopt an energy-efficient appliance purchasing policy requiring purchase of ENERGY STAR certified products in all areas for which such ratings exist              
  • Encourage use of, and provide access to, public transportation for all faculty, staff, students and visitors              
  • Within one year of signing the plan, begin purchasing or producing at least 15 percent of the university's electricity consumption from renewable sources              

The Task Force will be required to make the plan, inventory, and periodic progress reports publicly available by providing them to the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) for posting and dissemination.  

“This is a daunting task, but one that must be addressed,” Ortiz says.   

President's Climate Commitment Task Force Members:

  • Co-Chair Ed Barnes  Interim Vice President for Administrative Affairs               
  • Co-Chair Kyle Brown  Director, Lyle Center for Regenerative Studies               
  • Marvin Campbell Programmer, IIT Applications               
  • Steven Cosmas Professor, International Business and Marketing               
  • Cora Culla Executive Director, ASI               
  • Julianna Delgado Assistant Professor, Urban and Regional Planning               
  • Doug Freer  Vice President for Student Affairs               
  • Ron Fremont  Associate Vice President for University Relations               
  • Peter Graves  Lead, Auto Equipment Mechanic                
  • Carrie Geurts  Director of Development, Environmental Design               
  • Scott Johnson  Associate Director, Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning               
  • Pablo La Roche  Professor of Architecture               
  • George Lwin, Manger of Energy Services               
  • Ray Morrison  Director of Facilities Planning and Design and Construction               
  • Dave Patterson – Director of Environmental Health and Safety               
  • Megan Stang – Director of University Housing               
  • Paul Storey  Executive Director, Cal Poly Pomona Foundation               
  • Zora Tucker  Co-President, Green Team, a student club               
  • Al Viteri  Director of University Accounting Services               
  • Richard Willson  Chair/Professor, Urban and Regional Planning               
  • Lin Wu  Professor, Geography and Anthropology               
  • Henry Xue,  Professor, Mechanical Engineering