Rausser College helping to mitigate UC Berkeley’s carbon footprint

October 13, 2022

Rausser College of Natural Resources will help mitigate UC Berkeley’s carbon footprint by opting to fully participate in the campus’ new Business Air Travel Carbon Mitigation Program.

Coordinated by UC Berkeley’s Office of Sustainability, the new program will assess a small fee—$10 for every domestic round trip and $25 for every international round trip—on all trips booked using campus funds by students, faculty, and staff. The fees will be reinvested in programs that reduce the campus’ carbon footprint while motivating travelers to consider less impactful alternatives.

Business-related air travel (measured in miles flown) increased by 18 percent from 2009 to 2019, according to the Office of Sustainability, and it is currently the second-largest source of carbon emissions for the campus. Members of the UC Berkeley community take more than 32,000 business trips and log over 100 million air miles in a typical year, which results in roughly 25,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.

All campus units that book travel with unrestricted funds will participate in the program. Twenty-one units—including Rausser College—have opted to cover the costs of the carbon mitigation fee for trips that are booked with restricted funds.

If campus air travel returns to pre-pandemic levels, the Office of Sustainability projects assessment fees will generate more than $370,000 in funding to support initiatives with measurable carbon impacts—such as updating campus spaces with advanced hybrid meeting technology, retrofitting lab equipment to reduce energy consumption, and developing solar and battery storage on campus. Projects will be selected based on criteria that factor in the amount of carbon reduced; innovation; engagement; inclusion and collaboration; and diversity and equity.

Based on opt-in participation levels, the Office of Sustainability believes they are on track to begin funding carbon mitigation projects as early as May 2023. Visit the Office of Sustainability website for more information on the program and other campuswide initiatives.