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.

Emory supports the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and has revised Emory’s Sustainability Vision based on the latest science. According to the United Nations IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F), global net anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions would need to fall by ~45% from 2010 levels by 2030 in order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

So Far

  • Emory conducts regular Greenhouse Gas emissions inventories to track our progress, and has reduced our emissions by 32% from a 2005 baseline, and 23.5% from a 2010 baseline.
  • 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’s goal is to reduce total GHG emissions 45% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050, from a 2010 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:

  • In alignment with the IPCC, reducing carbon emissions 45% by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Investing in a portfolio of innovative projects that provide resilience, research, teaching, and national leadership benefits to Emory by 2025.
  • Achieving 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.