Climate Action Plan

The Climate Action Plan is Cornell's overarching plan for carbon neutrality for campus operations, the advancement of a living laboratory for climate research and teaching, and global solutions for a low-carbon future by 2035. 

Progress towards carbon neutrality
Explore how our campus has changed, and where emissions have been reduced since 2008 using the Greenhouse Gas Inventory.

We can make a difference by demonstrating scalable low-carbon solutions on campus, advancing climate literacy and research initiatives, and accelerating impact through collaborative partnerships locally and globally.  Our Climate Action Plan is the roadmap to achieving campus carbon neutrality by 2035 and creating a more just and secure future for our community, New York state, and the world. The Sustainable Cornell Council stewards the Climate Action Plan.

Current Actions

The Sustainable Cornell Council is undertaking an update to the Climate Action Plan.  An update on completed, in progress, and critical priorities is coming soon.

Climate Action Partners

Cornell is a member of several national and global partnerships to advance climate leadership. Learn more on our Partnerships page. 

Climate Action Plan Documents

As of 2014, Cornell University began treating the campus Climate Action Plan as a "living document." Thus, the 2013 CAP is considered the basis document rather than a single comprehensive updated report, with new reports added as a supplementary strategy over time.

The 2013 Climate Action Plan Update - commonly referred to as the 2013 Roadmap - can be considered the most recent comprehensive document and is a good place to begin to understand the University's strategy to achieve carbon neutrality goals. Subsequent reports such as Options for a Carbon Neutral Campus have focused on creating plans or research implementation strategies for specific aspects of the CAP but have not substantially altered the initial strategy outlined in the 2009 original plan or 2013 update.

Report cover for Climate Action Plan Update & Roadmap (2013)

Climate Action Plan Update 2013 (PDF)

Published: December 2013

Most recent comprehensive print update to the CAP. Developed by the Campus Sustainability Office and President’s Sustainable Campus Committee (PSCC).


CAP Priority Actions Detailed Appendix (PDF)

Published: December 2013

Detailed list of each priority action in the 2013 CAP Roadmap, with responsibilities and data to support the path forward.

Report cover: Options for a Carbon Neutral Campus by 2035

Options for a Carbon Neutral Campus (Page)

Published: October 2016

Technical and financial analysis of solutions to power & heat the Ithaca campus to meet the goal of carbon neutrality by 2035. 

Report cover: Climate Neutrality Acceleration Plan

CAP Goal Acceleration Working Group Report (PDF)

Published: June 2014

Examined new climate science and recommended accelerating the carbon neutrality date from 2050 to 2035, then adopted by the administration.

Report cover: CAP 2011 Update Summary

CAP 2011 Update Summary (PDF)

Published: January 2012

Summary of the 2011 Climate Action Plan update.

Report cover: CAP 2011 Update Full

Climate Action Plan 2011 Update Full (PDF)

Published: January 2012

After reducing emissions 25% in the first two years of the carbon commitment, the CAP was updated with new strategies.

Report cover: CAP 2009 Original Report

Original Climate Action Plan 2009 (PDF)

Published:  September 2009

After President Skorton committed the institution to carbon neutrality in 2007, the first comprehensive action plan was released in 2009.


Question markHow can I get involved? The best way to support Cornell's progress to carbon neutrality is to read the reports, join a club or sustainability team, and look for ways to reduce emissions or improve sustainability where you live and work using the strategies outlined in our roadmap.