Media Release | Mar. 24, 2010

UBC sets aggressive new targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

University of British Columbia President Stephen Toope announced aggressive new greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions targets for UBC’s Vancouver campus today.  Toope made the announcement to delegates at the GLOBE 2010 conference in Vancouver, one of the world’s largest environmental conferences.

UBC has already met international targets established by the Kyoto Protocol for its core academic buildings, which required a six per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2012.  The university will now aim to:

  • reduce GHGs an additional 33 per cent from 2007 levels by 2015
  • reduce GHGs to 67 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020
  • eliminate 100 per cent of GHGs by 2050

“We are undertaking this initiative because, as a leading research university, we believe it’s important to set ambitious standards to address the realities of climate change and show it can be done,” said Toope.  “UBC has the expertise and passion to make its commitment to sustainability a continuing reality through the integration of teaching, learning, research and operations and through innovative technologies and partnerships.”

“British Columbia has set the ambitious goal of becoming one of the greenest and cleanest economies in the world, creating new jobs and wealth for all British Columbians in a new and innovative economy,” said Premier Campbell. “By setting these targets and pursuing new and exciting projects, UBC is playing an important role in meeting that goal.”

Over the next five years, the university will achieve the initial target through a number of initiatives, including a 12 per cent reduction through the UBC Bioenergy Research and Demonstration Project in partnership with Vancouver-based Nexterra Systems Corp. and GE Water & Power.  This project will generate heat and clean electricity through biomass gasification.  The UBC-Nexterra partnership was announced by Premier Campbell on Clean Energy Day as one of the new major clean energy and technology investments in the province of British Columbia.

Energy conservation will provide an additional 10 per cent reduction. This includes a partnership with BC Hydro to monitor and optimize the energy efficiency of UBC’s academic buildings campus-wide as well as educational programs for the campus community. The measurement tools will be provided by Vancouver-based Pulse Energy.  Further reductions will take place by converting the current steam district heating system to hot water and by transitioning to a low-emission fleet.

“UBC has set a challenging course today which will require further planning, research and innovation,” said John Hepburn, VP Research and International.  “We will embark on an inclusive dialogue to explore how the university will achieve the aggressive long-term targets. This rich process is part of making UBC a Living Laboratory for British Columbia, Canada and the world.”

UBC is one of the most sustainable post-secondary campuses in the world, earning top grades in the Sustainable Endowments Institute’s College Sustainability Report Card.  UBC is the first Canadian university to announce it has achieved targets set by the Kyoto Protocol and to set bold GHG reduction targets for the future.

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Scott Macrae
UBC Public Affairs
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Email: scott.macrae@ubc.ca

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