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Climate Action Plan
NAU is committed to carbon neutrality by 2030. Located in Arizona, we face increased climate vulnerabilities such as water scarcity, extreme heat waves, wildfires, and public health issues. As an institutional leader, NAU is responding to this global issue with a focus on adaptability, innovation, and stewardship. We are proud of the City of Flagstaff Climate Emergency Declaration and its leadership within our community. We are focused on community engagement to ensure that we create a plan that reflects the current needs of our greater campus community.
President Cruz Rivera’s Carbon Neutrality Declaration Accordion Closed
In the Earth Day 2022 newsletter, NAU President José Luis Cruz Rivera declared a climate emergency. Our engaged community understands that when it comes to advancing climate solutions with regional applications and global reach, NAU must lead the way. The whole announcement can be read here.
What is a Climate Action Plan (CAP)? Accordion Closed
A Climate Action Plan serves as a strategic document that helps guide a community toward a common stewardship goal. A majority of university Climate Action Plans focus on lessening consumption, and carbon footprint, and creating a more sustainable institution. NAU is a leader in higher education for sustainability and a founding signee of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) and the Second Nature Carbon Pledge in 2007.
Why do we have a CAP? Accordion Closed
Similar to a campus Master Plan, a Climate Action Plan can inform discretionary decision-making regarding the strategic direction of the university. As sustainability-related and environmental science degree programs continue to grow in relevance and demand across the nation, and at NAU in particular, it is a strategic development to institute a Climate Action Plan to reach university and community goals (i.e. carbon neutrality, stewardship, student job skills, etc.) It is essential for the campus community to have a guiding road-map for a sustainable future to help further the Living Laboratory ideal, which is a concept to define how research, campus needs, and student learning can come together to foster an active learning community.
It is a campus-wide effort that extends into the greater Flagstaff and Northern Arizona community.
What are the goals of our Climate Action Plan (CAP)? Accordion Closed
Resource efficiency: NAU can cut 20 percent of its current Scope 1 and 2 emissions by maximizing energy and water efficiency. Maximizing our efficiency yields an estimated $2.8M in annual utility savings by 2030, as well as improved occupant comfort, function, and resiliency of NAU buildings and infrastructure.
Purchased electricity: Transitioning to carbon-free electricity to power NAU’s operations will result in a dramatic 54 percent reduction in NAU’s current operating emissions and signal to the NAU community, state, and nation our commitment and capacity to get to net zero.
NAU’s district heating and cooling systems: Natural gas represents 42 percent of current carbon emissions. Converting NAU’s district heating system to low-temperature hot water and connecting north and south plants are two initial steps necessary to maintain system function and to improve climate resilience before eliminating natural gas.
Electrifying NAU’s fleet: Electric vehicles are a high-visibility way to demonstrate commitment to a carbon-free future and will reduce current emissions by approximately five percent over the next 8 years by right-sizing the fleet and producing cost savings over the lifetime of each vehicle compared to internal combustion engines. Co-benefits include reducing noise and air pollution.
Creating a culture of sustainability: Minimizing waste, reducing campus water usage, supporting behavioral change programs, enhancing commuting options, and community training, and adopting sustainable university-sponsored travel policies will enrich and strengthen the university’s culture of sustainability and reduce associated scope 3 emissions.
Tracking NAU’s progress: By partnering with and supporting NAU’s in-house expertise and certificate program in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting will help NAU quantify its progress and stay accountable to its community. Creating a national model of a living laboratory: NAU has a wealth of expertise and energy in its classrooms and laboratories today. Investing in students, staff, and faculty through the Sustainable Campus Ecosystem Initiative is a cost-effective impact multiplier, enabling NAU not only to realize these sustainability goals in the community as a living laboratory, but to ensure it is preparing students, staff, and faculty to meet the climate challenges of the 21st century.
Previous Climate Action Plans Accordion Closed
2015 Sustainable Action Plan
2015: Sustainability Action Plan
- Goal: Revise and Update the 2010 Plan
- Completed internally by NAU committees and service groups
- Focused on Actionable Items in 7 specific areas:
- Recycling and Waste Minimization
- Energy and Climate
- Academics and Research
2010 Climate Action Plan
2010: Carbon Neutrality; Climate Action Plan
- NAU’s first Climate Action Plan
- Goal: “Carbon Neutrality by 2020”
- Short-term campus changes; creation of campus action teams (i.e. Waste Minimization, etc.)
- Completed externally by NORESCO with Phase 1 efficiencies implemented
- Maintained energy and water consumption levels alongside an increase of campus growth
- Created foundation for Office of Sustainability (Environmental Caucus, Green Fund, etc)
Feedback 2019 Accordion Closed
From our Kickoff meeting with the Environmental Caucus in April 2019, we have been gathering and compiling feedback from the campus community. Review what we heard below!
Climate Action Campus Feedback -2019 (PDF)
CAP Survey Results
In Oct. 2019, we sent out our survey to a random sample of 2,000 NAU community members – 1,800 Student, 100 Staff, and 100 Faculty. We received N=240 responses and have linked to the results below.
City / NAU Collective Actions Accordion Closed
In the Spring of 2019, the City of Flagstaff Sustainability outlined potential areas in that NAU could play a role in the City’s Climate Action and Adaption goals.
City’s CAAP Progress Dashboard
State of Climate Action – Oct. 1, 2020 Accordion Closed
A community-wide presentation with the NAU Office of Sustainability, the Environmental Caucus, the City of Flagstaff Sustainability, and ECOSS on campus. Below you will find the feedback received from the audience, as well as the recording.
Climate Justice Panel – Oct. 21, 2020 Accordion Closed
Opening remarks by Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator Summer Peltzer and Sustainability Manager Matt Muchna. We had a inspiring conversation about climate justice and its impacts within both the Flagstaff and NAU community as a whole. This event took on issues that have been created by climate change, that affect people among different populations within Arizona. The panelists include Mayor Coral Evans, Co-manager for ITEP Nikki Cooley, and Director of Research Experiences for Undergraduates Ted Martinez.
Other Reports Accordion Closed
- NAU GHG Reporting- Second Nature
- AASHE Stars 2017 Sustainability Report
- City of Flagstaff Climate Action and Adaptation Plan
- IPCC 2018 Report
- 4th National Climate Assessment Report