GHG Goals & Science-Based Targets

The table below sets forth the science-based targets (SBT) and goals for those Scope 1 and 2 emissions sources related to campus energy. The targets with respect to absolute emissions reductions and maximum cumulative emissions are consistent with those set forth in the Trajectory to Net Zero Emissions section. Separate, proportionate targets are set forth for each of the three existing inventory reporting boundaries, i.e., Morningside+ (MS+), Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) as well as for Columbia as a whole.

Net Zero GHG Emissions Goals and Interim Targets - Columbia University Science-based Targets Applied

Table Description: Net Zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission Goals and Interim Targets with Columbia University Targets Applied.

Sample Mitigation Opportunities, in Line with Carbon Hierarchy

Starting in 2018, Columbia offset reported emissions for 100% of purchased electricity through the application of Green-e certified, The Climate Registry (TCR)-compliant Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Columbia will expand on this short-term purchased electricity strategy to strengthen the associated environmental benefit by applying the following areas of opportunity as they are determined to be timely and appropriate measures to support Columbia’s carbon reduction commitment:

  • Accelerate efforts to maximize energy efficiency from all energy types consumed in Columbia buildings.
  • Evaluate and apply technological alternatives for campus heating and cooling that allows Columbia to abandon fossil fuels for electric options that can be supplied by zero emissions electricity.
  • Only until there are higher quality zero emission electricity alternatives, continue procurement of National TCR-eligible RECs as required to meet TCR reporting standards and maintain Columbia’s commitment to 100% zero emissions electricity.
  • As the New York State and City-delivered zero emission electricity markets mature, Columbia will seek out commitments for bundled and unbundled RECs from specific renewable electricity projects whose characteristics (e.g., location) enhance the leadership quality and regional value of Columbia’s renewable energy decisions.
  • Evaluate and contract for purchased zero emission electricity, both physical supply and environmental attributes (RECs), from generating sources that meet Local Law 97 (LL97) eligibility. This evaluation will include assessment of active and anticipated power generation and transmission projects, including Canadian hydroelectric power.
  • Procure LL97-compliant RECs through the upcoming class of new RECs from generating projects that deliver into the NYC grid (i.e. Tier 4 RECs).
  • Leverage the “greening” NYS grid precipitated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), as the NYS power market transitions to net zero emissions by 2040.

The future of the New York electricity market is promising. The nature of transforming energy markets is, however, uncertain, as regulators, investors and renewable energy developers coordinate to grow zero emission electricity supplies that meet state and local NYC requirements. To address uncertainty of timing, regulation, cost, and other factors, Columbia will design and employ an action plan for zero emission electricity characterized by resilience; a plan capable of adapting to the emergence of technologies and market opportunities as they become viable, actionable alternatives.