CSU among first universities to join DOE Better Climate Challenge’s pledge to half carbon emissions by 2030

DOE Better Climate Challenge logo

Consistent with Colorado State University’s Climate Action Plan goals, CSU has joined the U.S. Department Of Energy’s Better Climate Challenge. The pledge commits CSU to cutting Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% within 10 years. 

As an inaugural partner, CSU has been invited to join a virtual executive roundtable at 11 a.m. Feb. 28 that will be led by DOE Secretary Jennifer Granholm and White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy. 

“Dropping our emissions by half is a huge deal,” said Carol Dollard, a utility engineer for Colorado State University’s facilities management team and co-chair of the President’s Sustainability Commission. “It highlights our sustainability leadership by demonstrating that it is important and showing how it can be done.” 

In a letter to CSU President Joyce McConnell, Better Climate Challenge Director Maria T. Vargas invited CSU to take part in the roundtable and be recognized for the university’s sustainability commitment. 

As a partner, CSU will share its carbon reduction progress and strategies with other organizations. Interested parties can learn more about the Challenge here. 

Dollard said the commitment is vital to CSU’s journey to carbon neutrality by 2040. This commitment targets Scope 1 emissions – direct emissions such as natural gas burned for heating and hot water, fleet vehicles, refrigerants and agricultural emissions. It also targets Scope 2 emissions such as indirect ones associated with electricity use. 

“If we do not hit this milestone on the path to 2040, we are not likely to hit the final goal,” she said. “That being said – this is actually ‘easy.’ CSU and the local utilities are committed to 100% renewable electricity by 2030 and are on a path to hit that.  

“Since electricity is currently 51% of our GHG footprint, hitting that 100% RE target will achieve the 50% reduction goal,” Dollard added. “We anticipate reducing emissions in other areas, but just electricity will get us there. So, we should hit that target, and it is critical to help reduce the impact of global climate change.”