Although climate change is a global problem, its effects are often felt locally. Recognizing the need for action, in 2007 New York City released PlaNYC, a comprehensive sustainability plan that set out the ambitious goal to reduce the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
In the same year, Columbia signed on to participate in Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC Carbon Challenge for universities, pledging to reduce carbon emissions 30 percent in 10 years.
As an additional part of the challenge, Columbia produces an annual Climate Action Plan, which details strategies to reduce carbon emissions such as replacing old and inefficient equipment, implementing energy standards for labs, installing geothermal and microturbine energy systems and LED lighting and energy-efficient central systems. Columbia University has reduced its carbon emissions intensity per square foot by 16.8 percent since the 2006 base year level.