Climate Neutrality Plan in the Works

Climate Neutrality Plan in the Works

Committed to eliminating greenhouse gas emissions on campus, a study group is putting together an action plan this summer that will guide Cal Poly Pomona toward that goal.

The implementation plan is the next step under the Presidents Climate Commitment, which President Michael Ortiz signed in 2007 along with more than 200 college presidents and chancellors from across the country.

“The focus of this effort is on preparing an action plan that will guide the university's actions over the next two decades,” said Urban & Regional Planning Professor Rick Willson, an advisor to the group. “The study team is inventorying the considerable level of actions taken thus far, interviewing Climate Task Force members on the work of subcommittees and preparing to conduct evaluations of the strategies that are cost effective and support other university goals.”

The proposed action plan will include a target date for achieving climate neutrality, short-term and long term goals, various strategies to fulfill those targets, actions to expand research and a way to track progress.

Willson, Lyle Center Director Kyle Brown and three graduate students are researching and formulating a draft, which will be presented in the fall to members of the Climate Commitment Task Force.

Regenerative studies students Anne Pandey, Cristina Halstead and Michelle McFadden are in the research phase, interviewing task force members and collecting their input and ideas for strategies and initiatives that may help the university reach its goal.

In their early research, students learned that the university has embarked on a couple of initiatives to conserve energy, such as the 4/10 summer schedule and the Presidential Order adopting an Energy Star purchasing policy. Another idea came out of University Housing Services, which had held a competition between residence halls to use the least amount of energy.

“Our goal is to make this a flexible plan, to have a variety of choices of reduction strategies” Pandey said.

Once the draft is complete, it will show how the many actions — both small steps in a department level or large university-wide initiatives — can help Cal Poly Pomona reach its goal of carbon neutrality.

“If everyone does a little bit, it does make a difference,” McFadden said.

For more information about the Climate Commitment, visit Visit to learn more about the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment. To see Cal Poly Pomona's carbon footprint report, visit