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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.02
Liaison Sara McKinstry
Submission Date March 30, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, San Diego
EN-14: Participation in Public Policy

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Jeffrey P. Gattas
Assistant Chancellor/Chief of Staff
University Communications
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the municipal/local level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the municipal/local level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

UC San Diego is a member of the San Diego Climate Collaborative and advocates for and works on clean tech, clean energy and climate policies and partnerships in collaboration with partners like the Center for Sustainable Energy, San Diego Regional Governments (SANDAG), and other city, county and regional agencies, non-profits, businesses and other partners.

In 2017, UC San Diego signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Project Concern International (PCI) to jointly advance anti-human trafficking efforts in San Diego County. The MoU was signed by UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla and PCI’s President & CEO Carrie Hessler-Radelet. As part of the MoU, UC San Diego intends to officially join PCI’s Business Alliance Against Human Trafficking. This developing coalition of San Diego-based corporations will focus on implementing best practices that actively address the root causes of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/pressrelease/uc_san_diego_project_concern_international_partner_to_curb_human_traffickin


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the state/provincial/regional level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

UC State Government Relations (SGR) serves as the University's primary representative to state elected officials and agencies, providing advocacy on legislation and public policies that provide for, extend, and enhance the University's authority to conduct its business operations in a manner that is efficient and sustainable as well as advocating against measures that would limit this authority.

o The UC System continues to pursue state cap-and-trade revenue and other sources of funding for campus energy-efficiency projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower future energy costs. Many of the proposed projects would also serve as highly visible demonstrations for state-of-the-art energy conservation technologies. UC supported the proposed $25 million allocation of cap-and-trade funds for the University included in the 2016-17 budget and requested additional funding to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects beyond the scope of the proposal that would have provided even greater environmental and economic benefits.

o The UC Office of the President's Wholesale Power Program ("WPP") Public Policy Involvement: The University of California Wholesale Power Program is in regular communication with UC's state government relations and policy teams review and track proposed energy-related legislation at the state level. As a regulated load serving entity ("LSE", a.k.a. an Electric Service Provider or "ESP") UC often participates in the implementation phase of legislation within state regulatory proceedings.
UC, in its role as an ESP, is regulated by the CPUC and CEC (California Public Utilities Commission ("CPUC"), the California Energy Commission ("CEC").) We also have to transact through/via the California Independent System Operator ("CAISO") for our energy needs. We also report the California Air Resources Board ("CARB").
Recent highlights of WPP activity at the state level include:

- UC staff attended a series of CPUC En Banc meetings and informal public workshops focusing on consumer and retail choice in California. Mark Byron, the UC Office of the President executive director of renewable energy programs, was a panelist on the topic of "What Consumers Want" for the May 2017 En Banc meeting hosted at the CalEPA building in Sacramento.

- UC became a party to two CPUC proceedings related to the Power Charge Indifference Adjustment ("PCIA"), which is an exit fee borne by customers who do not take full service from an Investor Owned Utility ("IOU). UC has approximately 300,000 MWh of load in this category. In the consolidated ERRA proceeding we are seeking PCIA credits that have been withheld by PG&E. In the PCIA Reform/Replacement proceeding, we are advocating for revisions to the PCIA that are transparent, predictable, and prevent cost shifting to departed customers, as well as establishing a PCIA "sunset" timeline and creating a buy-out option for future PCIA charges.

- UC also filed comments regarding:
o Renewable Portfolio Standard ("RPS") penalty/waiver reforms,
o Implementation of mandatory Integrated Resource Plans ("IRPs") for all LSEs, pursuant to SB350, and
o The CEC's proposal to implement Greenhouse Gas ("GHG")Accounting methodology as part of the required annual power source disclosure process, pursuant to AB1110
As a regulated LSE, we also routinely file progress reports with all the aforementioned agencies related to capacity obligations, RPS compliance, power supply sources, and retail sales.

UC San Diego Professor David Victor is a professor of international relations and co-director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the School. His research focuses on highly regulated industries and how regulation affects the operation of major energy markets. Victor is author of "Global Warming Gridlock," which explains why the world has not made much diplomatic progress on the problem of climate change while also exploring new strategies that would be more effective. Dr. Victor has actively participated in the state, national and international climate negotiations and meetings. Dr. Victor is also the Chairman of the San Onofre Nuclear Plant Decommissioning Engagement Panel, which is working at the State and National level to find safe and environmental sustainable alternatives for completing the decommissioning of the plant.

UC San Diego hosted the University of California Summit on Pathways to Carbon and Climate Neutrality: California and the World in 2015, an invitation-only event examining how UC research is transforming the possibilities for carbon and climate mitigation. The summit focused on scalable solutions for California, the United States, and the globe for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions and features state and federal officials, corporate sustainability leaders and green technology entrepreneurs. CA Governor Gerry Brown was the guest speaker. http://uc-carbonneutralitysummit2015.ucsd.edu/

UC San DIego works closely with partners like the California Energy Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, CalEPA and others to advocate for policies that support measures that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, like expansion of electric vehicle infrastructure, especially for low income communities.


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the national level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the national level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

UC Federal Government Relations is the University's liaison to the federal government, working with Congress, the administration, federal agencies and national organizations to advocate for the University and its missions in education, research and public service. Examples include:
-- Convening UC faculty and staff to host Congressional briefings. Congressional briefings that highlight the impact of the University's sustainability efforts on campus operations and showcase UC as a model for other institutions are a part of the University's effort to demonstrate the value of investing in UC and advocate for the federal funding that supports the University's energy and sustainability goals.
-- Participating in DC lobby days, including the annual Coalition for National Science Funding Day on Capitol Hill. Representatives from UC campuses attend meetings with members of Congress and their staff and contribute to the National Science Foundation (NSF) project exhibit.
-- On June 2, 2017, one day after the White House announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, the University of California released a statement affirming its commitments to the goals of the Paris agreement and doubling down on its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2025. UC simultaneously launched a call to members of the UC community through the university's UC Advocacy Network (UCAN) urging students to make pledges to support and work with California's Governor, Congressional delegation, and state legislators to ensure that California and the UC system stay at the forefront of combating global climate change.
-- In October 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency recognized the University of California for its commitment to green energy. UC was one of only eight organizations nationwide to receive an Excellence in Green Power Use Award from the EPA. The annual award recognizes the nation's leading green power users for their commitment and contribution to helping advance the development of the nation's voluntary green power market. David Phillips, UC's associate vice president for energy and sustainability, attended the 2017 Renewable Energy Markets Conference in New York, where EPA bestowed its award.
--On February 6, 2018, the University of California announced that it had assembled an international coalition of 13 research universities across the United States, Canada and Mexico - called the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3 - who were committing to work together to galvanize local and regional action on climate change. Member institutions represent more than 1.5 million students across North America. The coalition will release a report in fall 2018 that will serve as a roadmap for how local, state, and federal lawmakers, higher education institutions, businesses and community leaders can work together to achieve ambitious, research-tested climate goals.

UC San Diego's Chancellor Pradeep Khosla signed the "We Are Still In" campaign in early 2017 in response to President Trump puling the US out of the Paris Climate Accords. http://wearestillin.com/

US San Diego collaborates with its sister campuses and the UC Office of the President to advocate for funding for research that addresses the scientific, technological and health challenges facing California and the nation. The recent White House budget blueprint for federal Fiscal Year 2018 proposes to cut $54 billion from federal programs that support areas such as medical, energy and environmental research. Federal support for research is key to UC — and California — continuing as a global research leader. These cuts would be devastating to our nation and would stifle UC’s ability to identify solutions to the greatest scientific and technological challenges of our time. The University works with its faculty, students and alumni to reach out to members of Congress and ask them to support investments in federal research funding. UC San Diego and the entire UC system have been strong voices against the proposed cuts to federal funding for scientific, technological and health research needed to help our nation and globe mitigate and adapt to climate change, protect biodiversity and natural resources, cure individual diseases and public health challenges, and address growing inequality. https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/support-uc/ucan/research/take-action

UC San Diego hosted the University of California Summit on Pathways to Carbon and Climate Neutrality: California and the World in 2015, an invitation-only event examining how UC research is transforming the possibilities for carbon and climate mitigation. The summit focused on scalable solutions for California, the United States, and the globe for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions and features state and federal officials, corporate sustainability leaders and green technology entrepreneurs. http://uc-carbonneutralitysummit2015.ucsd.edu/

The entire University of California system signed up to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), making it the largest, and first public American, university to do so. The UC Chief Investment Officer sent a letter to the SEC requesting increased carbon asset risk disclosure requirements for oil and gas companies.

UC San Diego's "Deep Decarbonization Initiative is combined effort of faculty and staff from the University that are working at the intersection of science, technology and policy to help cut green house gas emissions at the national and international levels, given the very real technology, economic and political constraints that exist: https://deepdecarbon.ucsd.edu/


Does the institution advocate for public policies that support campus sustainability or that otherwise advance sustainability at the international level?:
Yes

A brief description of how the institution engages in public policy advocacy for sustainability at the international level, including the issues, legislation, and ordinances for or against which the institution has advocated:

UC San Diego faculty attended the Paris Climate Accords in 2016 and the Bonn Climate Change Conference in 2017. UC San Diego's Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has been a member of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences and advised Pope Francis, top Hindu guru Mātā Amṛtānandamayī Devī, and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist who won the Nobel Peace Prize, on climate science and solutions.

https://scripps.ucsd.edu/labs/ramanathan/about/

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/feature/an_elevator_speech_on_the_need_to_protect_the_planet

UC San Diego hosted the University of California Summit on Pathways to Carbon and Climate Neutrality: California and the World in 2015, an invitation-only event examining how UC research is transforming the possibilities for carbon and climate mitigation. The summit focused on scalable solutions for California, the United States, and the globe for achieving significant greenhouse gas reductions and features state and federal officials, corporate sustainability leaders and green technology entrepreneurs. The summit involved international leaders like Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme and Under-Secretary-General, United Nations. http://uc-carbonneutralitysummit2015.ucsd.edu/

UC San Diego Professor David Victor David Victor is a professor of international relations and co-director of the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation at the School. His research focuses on highly regulated industries and how regulation affects the operation of major energy markets. Victor is author of "Global Warming Gridlock," which explains why the world has not made much diplomatic progress on the problem of climate change while also exploring new strategies that would be more effective. Dr. Victor has actively participated in the international climate negotiations and meetings.

UC San Diego's Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, has advised CA Governor Gerry Brown on climate science and policy, including CA's aggressive greenhouse gas and short term climate pollutant reduction goals and CA's involvement in the Paris Climate Accords. http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/


A brief description of other political positions the institution has taken during the previous three years (if applicable):
A brief description of political donations the institution made during the previous three years (if applicable):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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Other contacts:

Angela Diaz, Executive Director for Government Research Relations, UC San Diego

Stephanie Beechem, Media Relations, University of California Office of the President

Matt St. Clair, Director of Sustainability, University of California Office of the President

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.