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An Update on HSU’s Climate Action Plan

The Humboldt Office of Sustainability reports good news for HSU’s Climate Action Plan

Humboldt State University’s 2019 Climate Action Plan Progress Report revealed positive impacts for the Climate Action Plan.

Morgan King, HSU’s Climate Action Analyst, explained how the Climate Action Plan divides campus emissions into three scopes, each categorized by how much control HSU has over reducing them.

“We’re striving towards reducing our scopes one and two,” King said. “Scope one, the majority of that is natural gas so what we need to do is start weaning ourselves off natural gas.”

“We’ve completed almost half of our strategies. But the most expensive ones that also have the greatest impact are the ones that we’re still lagging a little bit behind on.”

Morgan king, HSU’s climate action analyst

Scope one emissions are from burning natural gas on campus and the fuels fleet vehicles use. Scope two emissions are from electricity use. Scope three emissions are from commuting, business air travel and solid waste management.

The report said we are on track to meet the 2020 emissions reduction goal. The Climate Action Plan set a course for the campus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, to 80% below 1990 levels by 2040, and to become carbon neutral by 2050.

To accomplish these emissions goals, the CAP includes 55 strategies that lay out the short and long-term goals necessary to achieve these goals. According to the progress report, 45% of the strategies have been completed.

“We’ve completed almost half of our strategies,” King said. “But the most expensive ones that also have the greatest impact are the ones that we’re still lagging a little bit behind on.”

There are three projects in the works for 2020. First is a faculty learning program intended to teach professors how to incorporate sustainability in their lesson plans. Second, over spring break, King is co-facilitating a student leadership institute in climate resilience. King is also developing a sustainability minor to enable students to better understand the methods behind creating a sustainable environment.

“Within our initial climate action plan we saw it was critical to have an engaged campus population that are making decisions and engaged in actions to improve sustainability for the campus,” King said. “That’s potentially as important as changing out all the lights.”

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