SUNY Partners With Leading Research Universities to Form International Coalition on Climate Action

February 7, 2018

University Climate Change Coalition Will Accelerate Transition to Low-Carbon Future

Albany – Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson today announced The State University of New York’s partnership with the University of California and 11 other leading research universities to create the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3). The coalition will focus on helping communities achieve climate goals and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future.

All UC3 members have already pledged to reduce their institutional carbon footprints, with commitments ranging from making more climate-friendly investments to becoming operationally carbon neutral, in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Under2 MOU for subnational climate leaders.

"Sustainability is a shared responsibility to preserve our civilization, and I am passionate about the leadership role SUNY can take in educating the next generation of sustainability leaders, researching climate change solutions, and creating energy-efficient environments across our 64 campuses," said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. "At my inaugural State of the University System address, I described how SUNY, as the country’s largest comprehensive system of higher education, will achieve our own ambitious sustainability goals through important partnerships and collaboration. By joining the coalition with other leaders in higher education we take that effort international. On behalf of SUNY, we are proud to join the University Climate Change Coalition and I am thankful to my fellow university leaders for their partnership in this effort."

The coalition was announced in Tempe, AZ at the 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit. Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr. represented SUNY at the summit to engage with scholars, business leaders, and elected officials about UC3 and its plans to combat climate change.

"It’s certainly an honor to be a part of this coalition, but more than that, this is an opportunity to pool our resources with other institutions and make a lasting impact on climate change," said President Stanley. "This is a critical time that calls for decisive action. Thanks to our long history of green initiatives, Stony Brook continues to be at the forefront of this effort to protect our world. We are continually working toward a healthier, more efficient and sustainable campus, and everyone in our community reaps the rewards."

SUNY’s Climate Goals

Announced during Chancellor Johnson’s 2018 State of the University System address, SUNY plans to source 100 percent of its electricity from zero-net-carbon sources, including renewables and energy storage, as soon as possible. SUNY previously committed to improving its energy efficiency performance by 20 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels, as put forth by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Executive Order number 88 and to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2030 compared to 2015 baseline levels, as outlined in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order number 166. With this new net-zero goal, SUNY plans to hit these goals well ahead of schedule. In addition, Chancellor Johnson announced the goal of incorporating deep energy retrofits into capital maintenance projects across its campuses. SUNY is also working to install renewable energy at each of its 64 campuses by 2020, with 50 percent renewable generation by 2030.


In launching UC3, an initial cohort of distinguished universities from the United States, Canada, and Mexico has committed to mobilize their resources and expertise to accelerate local and regional climate action in partnership with businesses, cities and states.

  • Cross-sector forums: Every UC3 institution will convene a climate change forum in 2018 to bring together community and business leaders, elected officials and other local stakeholders. Meetings will be tailored to meet local and regional objectives shared across sectors and will aim to speed the implementation of research-driven climate policies and solutions.
  • Coalition climate mitigation and adaptation report: A coalition-wide report, to be released in late 2018, will synthesize the best practices, policies and recommendations from all UC3 forums into a framework for continued progress on climate change goals across the nation and the world.

UC3 will operate in close partnership with Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Network, a group of hundreds of colleges and universities that have committed to taking action on climate.

In 2016, the U.S.-based members of the UC3 coalition together performed about one-quarter of the environmental science research conducted by all U.S. institutions, according to data collected by the National Science Foundation. From 2012 to 2017, researchers at UC3 member institutions were responsible for 48,518 publications on climate science-related topics, including environmental science, agricultural and biological sciences, energy, engineering, earth and planetary sciences, and more.

Participating institutions of the coalition include:

  • Arizona State University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey
  • The Ohio State University
  • The State University of New York (SUNY) system
  • La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • The University of British Columbia
  • The University of California system
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • The University of New Mexico
  • The University of Toronto
  • The University of Washington

For more information about the UC3 coalition, visit

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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