The global challenge of climate change poses both an immediate and a long-term threat to people and our planet.
Acting on climate is part of Harvard’s broader commitment to transform our campus into a low-carbon community that enhances the well-being of people and the planet.
Harvard's Climate Action Plan
We are tackling climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions with solutions that improve building efficiency, clean our energy supply, and promote renewable energy. The University is also preparing for the impacts of climate change already being felt. View our Sustainability Plan
Short-term climate goal
In 2008, Harvard built upon its longstanding research and teaching on climate change by setting a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2016, from a 2006 baseline, inclusive of campus growth.
The target was science-based, stemming from what climate scientists said was necessary, instead of what was achievable through on-campus reductions alone. Thousands of students, staff, and faculty embraced the challenge, helping the University achieve our historic goal.
Preparedness and resiliency
Harvard is proactively working with our neighboring cities of Cambridge and Boston to better understand and plan for the impacts climate change.
The University is paying special attention to how extreme weather events and sea level rise will affect the region in order to make our campus more resilient.
As part of Harvard's risk management efforts, Environmental Health & Safety, Harvard Planning & Project Management, and the Office for Sustainability are working on climate preparedness building standards (for new buildings) and a University-wide preparedness plan for construction and renovation, and emergency planning.
Harvard is leading partnerships across higher education, government, and business to develop shared solutions to climate challenges on a local, regional, and global level.
Through its work on different commissions and organizations, such as the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, Cambridge Compact for a Sustainable Future, International Sustainable Campus Network and Ivy Plus Sustainability Group, Harvard is collaborating with its peers to confront a broad range of issues, including GHG emissions accounting, renewable energy purchasing, climate preparedness, high performance computing, and laboratory energy use.