Statement: Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy

President Richard C. Levin

October 10, 2005

In his recent book, Red Sky at Morning, Gus Speth, Dean of Yale's School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, states that in the face of disturbing polar ice loss and the startling consequences of global warning "addressing CO2 emissions from fossil fuels must be the bedrock of [a successful climate strategy]." This concern has been strongly reinforced by the Advisory Committee on Environmental Management, under the leadership of Professor Thomas Graedel, and by a number of student groups around the university. Yale recognizes the need to respond to and prepare for the unprecedented circumstances that we face with respect to energy production, consumption, and related carbon emissions. As an institution, Yale is committed to becoming a model university that prepares its students for facing the pressing environmental conditions and taking a leadership role amongst higher education institutions to respond to the energy challenge.

In the fall of 2004 the Yale Energy Task Force, a university-wide committee with staff, faculty and student representation, was convened to respond to the challenge of increasing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The task force was charged with making recommendations on Yale's approach to energy - production (from conventional to renewable), procurement, demand, greenhouse gas emission reduction and conservation.

Following a thorough review and analysis, the Officers have adopted the key recommendation from the report presented by the Energy Task Force. We are pleased to announce the following campus wide goal which will become effective immediately:

Yale is committed to a level of investment in energy conservation and alternate energy sources that will lead, based on current projections, to a reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% below our 1990 levels by the year 2020. This is consistent with a similar commitment by the Connecticut State Legislature and the New England Governor's and Eastern Canadian Premiers Climate Action Plan.

By adopting this goal Yale is one of the first universities in the country to commit to a fifteen-year strategic energy plan. We intend to reach our goal through a combination of a strong energy conservation program, investing in alternative energy sources, purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, and implementing on-site renewable and clean energy demonstration projects.

Every one of us on campus has a role to play in helping achieve this goal, by conserving energy and by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that flow from its use. Effective conservation programs can further free up funds within the University budget that will in turn be invested in renewable and non-CO2 emitting forms of energy. Specifically, we are setting out to achieve the following conservation targets:

  • 15% reduction at residential colleges over a three-year period.
  • 10% reduction at all other facilities

Two student groups, New Haven Action and the Student Task Force for Environmental Partnership, will take the lead in engaging and educating students on how to participate in advancing our goals for energy conservation. For every 5% of reduction at residential colleges the University will allocate renewable energy certificates to offset 1/3rd of the electrical energy used by residential colleges.

There will be a great deal of learning to be gained, both here at Yale and outside the campus community, on how to best meet our energy conservation and greenhouse gas reduction goals. We will share this learning internally and externally as it is gained in the months and years ahead.

To learn more about Yale's fifteen-year Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Renewable Energy strategic plan go to


Richard C. Levin, President
Andrew D. Hamilton, Provost
John E. Pepper, Vice President for Finance and Administration