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Stanford COP26 Virtual Exhibit

Stanford COP26 Virtual Exhibit

UN COP26 | Glasgow, Scotland | Oct 31 - Nov 12

Tackling Climate Change

Avoiding the worst outcomes of climate change requires both changing our behaviors and deploying new technological solutions. At Stanford, we’re focusing our resources to accomplish both.

On our campus, we’re committed to advancing global efforts to create a sustainable future through research, teaching and more. To that end, we’ve recently announced a new school focused on climate and sustainability that will amplify research and accelerate impact across multiple areas of scholarship, including the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and humanities. The new school will expand on disciplinary expertise in urban environments, climate, the physical and natural world, and in the social sciences, and it will integrate Stanford’s experience fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.

At the heart of the school will be a sustainability accelerator aimed at leveraging knowledge to create policy and technology solutions. The accelerator will support external partnerships and give researchers access to shared equipment, expert staff, specialized training and funding.

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Sustainability at Stanford 2020-21 Year in Review

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Stanford Environmental Research Year in Review

Finding Climate Solutions

In addition to launching the new school, we continue to improve sustainability across our internal operations, building on the transformation of our power production system initiated a decade ago. In 2022 the second of our two new solar plants will come online, producing enough renewable electricity to equal the university’s annual electricity consumption.

We’ve also launched a multiyear effort to reduce Stanford’s Scope 3 emissions—the indirect emissions generated by activities like travel, investments, and producing and transporting food and goods. Our mitigation efforts will bring us closer to our ultimate goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from our operations and endowment by 2050. That’s in addition to our goal of achieving zero waste by 2030.

Alongside these efforts, Stanford recently became the first U.S. college or university to issue bonds carrying dual climate and sustainability designations. These bonds will finance projects that will help us achieve our sustainability goals, curb our carbon footprint, and advance diversity, equity and inclusion. Qualifying for this emerging asset class is a significant recognition of Stanford’s sustainability and social responsibility efforts.

Addressing Climate Goals

Without removing carbon from the atmosphere, there is no way to keep 1.5 degrees within reach. At Stanford, the Stanford Carbon Removal Initiative, a joint effort of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Precourt Institute for Energy, will help develop new technologies for removing atmospheric greenhouse gasses at scale by generating and integrating knowledge, creating scalable solutions, informing policies for technology deployment and governance, and demonstrating approaches and solutions with industry collaborators.

In addition, our on-campus efforts provide a blueprint for how others can reduce emissions and achieve global net-zero. Our energy systems provide a sustainable way of heating and cooling that reduce energy usage and allow campuses or communities to reduce energy needs and more effectively rely on solar power. The technologies that have succeeded at Stanford can be available worldwide. 

Stanford also fosters initiatives that help the global community support natural capital as a way of providing important adaptation benefits for communities. It can also better illustrate the value of ecosystem services, important information for climate finance efforts. The Stanford-led Natural Capital Project brings together interdisciplinary teams of researchers and software engineers to work with decision-makers to develop nature-based solutions to help communities navigate economic growth while building climate resilience. These include preserving opportunities for carbon sequestration through natural systems, or environments that prevent flood damage or mitigate the effects of rising sea levels.

In addition, Stanford is focused on the public health consequences of global environmental change. Efforts at Stanford include: the Action Lab for Human and Planetary Health, which bridges the gap between scientific evidence and implementation by translating new knowledge into strategic messages, policy recommendations, and other solutions; the Program for Disease Ecology, Health, and the Environment, which focuses on finding sustainable environmental interventions for a range of diseases; and the Stanford Center for Innovation in Global Health, which enables collaborative programs in global health for residents, medical students, and others to new generation to work for social change, justice, and increased equity in global health outcomes.

A Systems Approach

Stanford is focused on creating a world where humans and nature thrive. On our campus, we create opportunities for students to be engaged in climate and sustainability research and action, and we foster scholarship across disciplines focused on the societal, environmental and technological aspects of research necessary to produce a world that supports people and the planet.

Our campus efforts produce solutions that other campuses, governments or communities can reproduce to meet their own sustainability goals, and our institutes create new collaborations that produce solutions for climate impacts, mitigation and adaptation.

Because each of these areas are critical to solving the climate challenge and also involve a multitude of issues ranging from social justice and equity to technological feasibility, Stanford takes a systems approach, combining the interdisciplinary efforts of its world class scientists and engineers, medical doctors, economists, humanists, social scientists, and more. This allows us to address each pillar of the climate challenge from different angles and schools of thought to find innovative actionable solutions that will enable the world to meet the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement and further the health and safety of both people and the planet.

Stanford Sustainability Initiative

Sustainable Stanford