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UCSD Initiatives



In November 2013, President Janet Napolitano announced the Carbon Neutrality Initiative, committing the University of California to emitting net zero greenhouse gases from its buildings and vehicle fleet by 2025 — something no other major university system has done.

Through close collaboration between campus faculty, staff and students, UC San Diego now has a new, comprehensive 2019 Climate Action Plan that builds on the original plan and will serve as guide for achieving UC Carbon Neutrality Initiative goals.

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Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions™ is a multifaceted education project initiated by the University of California with participation by all ten campuses of the UC system at: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Santa Cruz, San Francisco. The education is centered around a curriculum designed to empower a million climate champions across the world to solve the climate change problem. It draws inspiration from the report Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions; written by 50 University of California (UC) academics in natural sciences including engineering and technology, social sciences, and humanities. Bending the Curve is a spin-off from the Carbon Neutrality Initiative of the University of California.



Purpose: To advocate for climate action. To organize students and the campus community at large around activism targeted mainly at demanding that UCSD: 1) Teach students about the climate crisis and climate justice. 2) Specify carbon neutral goals and meet them by 2025. 3) Build a UC-wide Green New Deal.

Purpose: To advocate for climate action. To organize students and the campus community at large around activism targeted mainly at demanding that UCSD: 1) Teach students about the climate crisis and climate justice. 2) Specify carbon neutral goals and meet them by 2025. 3) Build a UC-wide Green New Deal.Purpose: To advocate for climate action. To organize students and the campus community at large around activism targeted mainly at demanding that UCSD: 1) Teach students about the climate crisis and climate justice. 2) Specify carbon neutral goals and meet them by 2025. 3) Build a UC-wide Green New Deal.

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The Deep Decarbonization Initiative is a combined effort of faculty across UC San Diego working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. We are focused on helping the world cut emissions of warming gases given the very real technology, economic and political constraints that exist.

To accomplish this goal, we pursue research from the combined perspectives of the social sciences, engineering and the physical and biological sciences. We organize research across academic disciplines that engage energy industry officials, elected officials and other policy makers.


Integrating Climate Change Across Disciplines

Climate change is a multifaceted challenge that is relevant to many academic disciplines. At UCSD we are continually working to bring the climate change conversation into relevant curriculum across disciplines.

UCSD is currently comprised of six colleges, each with their own course requirements. These courses reach a high volume of first- and second-year students, and so provide a great opportunity to introduce the concept and concerns of climate change at an introductory level.



The UC San Diego Sustainability Resource Center (SRC) opened in 2009 and serves as a hub for materials and initiatives related to local, national, and global sustainability. The Sustainability Resource Center is a collaborative effort between UC San Diego Sustainability and the Student Sustainability Collective (SSC).


- Balancing environmental, social and economic stewardship as they relate to sustainability
- Maximizing campus and local outreach and participation
- Reducing campus impact on the environment
- Establishing a model for contributing to local, national and global sustainability
- Providing resources to develop innovative sustainable solutions

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and EarthLab Community Station

The Center on Global Justice (CGJ) is an Organized Research Unit (ORU) at UC San Diego, launched in 2012 to advance interdisciplinary research on poverty and global development, with an emphasis on collective action at community scale.  The CGJ is home to initiatives focused on global ethics and cooperation (the conventional terrain of global justice), but the majority of our initiatives localize the global, focusing on real-word intervention at local scale, in partnership with non-profits, government agencies and civic stakeholders — top-down and bottom-up.

The UCSD EarthLab Community Station is a 4-acre climate action park in the southeast San Diego neighborhoods of Encanto, designed for experiential outdoor education.


The CER Center for Renewable Resource Integration tries to answer three important questions:

  • How much renewable energy can we typically expect for different microclimates?

  • How much can we expect in the next hour or day?

  • How can we balance energy demand with renewable energy supply?

CER's Center for Renewable Resource Integration is composed of the following labs:



The ETI Program objective is to shape and inform public policies and regulatory frameworks pertaining to the energy transition and to enable the region’s transition to a more sustainable energy mix. It also fosters policies to incentivize investment in renewable technologies that will accelerate the de-carbonization of the region and boost energy security and economic development.

In addition to public policy, the ETI will grow to encompass direct engagement with private sector actors. These objectives align with a core pillar of the IOA’s Innovation & Entrepreneurship program: business acceleration.



Among scholars, this question of when and why international laws work has triggered a lively debate that ILAR strives to help settle with better theories and evidence. For policymakers, ILAR helps craft more effective treaties to solve global problems, such as insecure energy supplies and clearing barriers to international trade of goods and services. It is located at UC San Diego's School of Global Policy and Strategy. 



UC San Diego has the largest and most diverse energy technology portfolio of any university worldwide. Strategic Energy Initiatives actively engages the private sector to develop significant cost-sharing agreements to support demonstration and research opportunities that represent quantum innovations in clean energy technologies. Our projects include:

  • Electric vehicle leasing and infrastructure development

  • Energy Storage

  • Big Data: San Diego Supercomputer Center

  • Technology Transfer Engagement

    • Smart City San Diego

    • CleanTech San Diego

    • UC San Diego Advanced Energy Initiative

    • Faculty Recruitment Committee

    • Solutions Working Group



The goal of the Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion (LESC), at the University of California San Diego Nanoengineering department, is to design and develop new functional nano-materials and nano-structures for advanced energy storage and conversion applications. Conversion of raw materials into usable energy and storage of the energy produced are common aspects of everyday life. The development of new materials to improve upon current capabilities is a key technological challenge of the 21st century. Advances will allow smaller more powerful batteries and will provide a greater ability to harness more sustainable energy sources. Our research focuses on the direct integration of novel experimental techniques with ab initio computation methods for rational materials characterization and design.


As algae biotechnology has grown and matured, we recognize that California is an ideal location to build both the research as well as the production aspects of algae biotechnology. The range and diversity of algae biotechnology research and industry throughout California provides a unique opportunity to make considerable advances in the field, and with Cal-CAB, we are creating and maintaining cooperation, and facilitating joint research efforts and commercial partnerships.

Algae take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air while growing, making carbon sequestration a beneficial by-product of large-scale algae production. Algae farms could be located near industrial pollution sources, such as carbon-producing refineries or power plants, and help clean the air by consuming CO2 as they grow. 



Food & Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21) was established in May 2012 as a formal organized research unit at UCSD. FF21 is a campus-wide initiative aimed at:

  • Facilitating collaboration between researchers throughout biology, chemistry, engineering, economics and policy;

  • Providing training and education opportunities for young scientists and students;

  • Facilitating communication between researchers and industry scientists via symposia, seminars, industrial advisory meetings, and round tablediscussions;

  • Facilitating technology transfer with the commercial sector; and

  • Informing regional, state and national policy makers.

FF21 supports the development of innovative, sustainable and commercially viable solutions for the renewable production of food, energy, green chemistry and bio-products using photosynthetic organisms.

This series of art installations around campus at Scripps Oceanography showcases the world-renowned climate research conducted at the institution. The Scripps Science-Art Collaboration Collection reflects objective scientific knowledge in art works both realistic and abstract, and was started with the 2017 collection Weather on Steroids: The Art of Climate Change Science.

Scripps Science-Art Collaboration Collection explores the state-of-the-art scientific evidence of current and impending climatic changes, their causes and impacts as well as related opportunities leading to a natural evolution of society toward a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable way of life.

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