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.
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.
Climate Action Partners
Cornell is a member of several national and global partnerships to advance climate leadership. Learn more on our Partnerships page.
Current Climate Action Plan Strategies & Key Actions
Cornell's CAP strategies and actions are informed by two decision-making frameworks, our quadruple-bottom-line sustainability framework (people, planet, prosperity and purpose) and a carbon reduction hierarchy (avoid, reduce, replace, then offset).
Explore the tabs below to find key actions identified for each carbon reduction strategy.
Alternative Transportation Actions
- Increase commuter use of alternative transportation
- Improve intra-campus transportation
- Optimize use of virtual participation and remote work
- Support improvements to regional mass transit
- Reduce carbon intensity of air travel
- Increase efficiency of Cornell fleet: convert to alternative fuel vehicles
The Ithaca campus Climate Action Plan is a "living document." Thus, the 2009 CAP is considered the basis document with new reports evolving and informing the strategy over time. This positions Cornell to leverage new technology and funding opportunities, and with flexibility to pivot as external regulatory, policy and market factors evolve. Some 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.
Published: September 2009
After President Skorton committed the institution to carbon neutrality in 2007, the first comprehensive action plan was released in 2009. This includes basis documents, reports and analysis of options.
Published: June 2022
Examines the sustainable design of carbon-neutral energy systems, considering earth source heat, lake source cooling, on-site renewable electricity generation, and sustainable peak heating systems.
Published: June 2014
Examined new climate science and recommended accelerating the carbon neutrality date from 2050 to 2035, then adopted by the administration.