CAP 2.0: The plan to make Cal Poly Humboldt carbon-free

Cal Poly Humboldt has a new plan in the works to help combat climate change

by Liam Gwynn

On Jan. 28, Cal Poly Humboldt released an ambitious draft updating the Climate Action Plan. This updated plan promises to have the school completely carbon neutral by 2045. If CAP 2.0 is accepted, the school will implement changes to reduce carbon output and create an ecologically healthier environment.

Changes would include phasing out gas and replacing it with electric power, implementing new carbon offset projects, introducing a zero-waste plan, and making several changes to transportation on campus. The final draft of the plan will be submitted this April. The budget is not yet finalized, however, if the plan is signed off, it will cost anywhere from 4.4 million to 5.5 million.

The Climate Action Plan started in 2016 to lower greenhouse gas emissions to levels last seen in the ’90s. They succeeded at that plan in 2020 and started their planning for Cal Poly Humboldt’s next goal, complete carbon neutrality by 2045. This plan came about after The 100 Percent Clean Energy Act of 2018 passed in California, requiring all California businesses to have 100 percent clean energy by 2045.

Morgan King is a climate analyst at Cal Poly Humboldt and the author of CAP 2.0. For him, this new plan is about more than just meeting the requirements set by the state.

“We are in the midst of a climate crisis and we understand that climate change events and disasters are already having an impact on our communities, our ecosystems, and our infrastructures,” King said.

Graphics courtesy of Facilities and Management

According to King, the main climate threats Humboldt faces are rising ocean levels, wildfires, and extreme weather conditions. These threats are daunting and King is under no illusion that the school has the ability to singlehandedly stop them.

“Even if humanity took big steps today to curb our burning of fossil fuels, we’re still going to see these climate impacts for many years to come,” King said. ”So we need to start planning and preparing now.”

Despite the ominous threat of climate change looming in the distance, plans like CAP 2.0 show that there are still people willing to make drastic changes to soften the damage humanity has caused.

“We are starting to see that resilience and climate protection are becoming part of the culture at this campus,” King said ”We are seeing a greater level than ever before of engagement around these issues.”

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