Climate Solutions

Rising to the challenge together

Emory is committed to meeting the growing challenges of the global climate crisis through education of current and future generations and using the latest scientific evidence to implement climate solutions on campus. Organizations such as Project Drawdown and EAT-Lancet, as well as reports from the UN and IPCC, drive Emory’s goals and visions for moving towards a climate-safe and sustainable future.

So Far

  • Launched in 2011, strategies outlined in Emory’s Climate Action Plan have resulted in a 16 percent decrease in total emissions since 2005. Each of Emory’s academic units drafted school-level Climate Action Plans that align with the University-wide plan.
  • In 2014, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) approved Emory as an accredited, official observer to the UN climate talks. Since then, Emory has sent almost 50 students and faculty to the UNFCC Conference of the Parties.
  • The construction of the Emory University Hospital Tower, opened in 2017, followed Clean Construction Guidelines that ensure construction equipment utilized the best available technology to reduce emissions.
  • Emory conducts regular Greenhouse Gas emissions inventories to track our progress. Read our latest 2014 GHG Emissions Inventory Summary.

Emory’s goal is to reduce total GHG emissions 20% by 2020, 35% by 2035, and 50% by 2050 from a 2005 baseline. Our inventory includes direct emissions from Emory owned or controlled sources (scope 1), indirect emissions from purchased off-site electricity (scope 2), and all other indirect emissions (scope 3). Emissions are measured from University and Healthcare buildings on the Druid Hills campus.

Today

  • Drawing on the expertise of more than 60 faculty and staff from more than 20 departments, Climate@Emory is an interdisciplinary, university-wide initiative to advance climate change scholarship, teaching, partnership and engagement at Emory and beyond.
  • In response to Project Drawdown’s refrigerant management solution, ranked 1st on the list of 100 solutions to reverse global warming, a number of labs on campus participate in Lab Freezer and Refrigerator Challenges that encourage best practices and management strategies to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Emory is committed to reducing our Scope 1 GHG emissions through weekend, evening, and holiday building shutdowns; a temperature control policy; and a minimum LEED Silver requirement for all new construction to ensure efficient building operation at all times.
  • Sustainable commuting options allow approximately 50 percent of Emory’s employees to utilize low-carbon forms of transportation. A No Idling policy for delivery vehicles and consolidation of supply orders further decreases transportation emissions.
  • Emory composts pre-and post consumer food waste, which enhances carbon sequestration in soils and reduces methane emissions from food waste in landfills.
  • Emory continues to invest in renewable energy on campus through utilization of solar photovoltaic power, a cogeneration steam plant, B5 biofuel in the Cliff Shuttles, and geothermal technologies.
  • Emory University does not currently hold direct stock in public companies producing fossil fuels, based on information compiled and maintained by Fossil Free Indexes.

Tomorrow

Our plans for the next decade emphasize reducing our impact on the climate and improving air quality for our communities. Emory commits to:

  • Carbon neutral construction for all new buildings by 2025.
  • Establishing a Carbon Neutral Degree within an academic unit to create the opportunity to offset the environmental impacts of a degree.
  • Developing a carbon offset program to allow students, faculty and staff to offset university travel, commuting, and other activities that produce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Enhancing purchasing incentives and restrictions to increase sustainable refrigerant use and disposal.

Emory's Climate Action Plans

Each of Emory’s schools created their own Climate Action Plan that aligns with the University-wide CAP. These plans outline how the schools will use their unique cultures and positions to advance Emory’s GHG emissions reduction goals and culture of climate action. Read individual CAPs from Emory’s