Climate Action Plan Provides Road Map to Net-Zero Emissions 

Georgia Tech’s Climate Action Plan outlines mitigation and adaptation strategies for reaching net-zero emissions on campus by 2050 and contributing to global solutions through education and research.
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Georgia Tech unveiled its first Climate Action Plan (CAP), an actionable road map for halving Institute emissions by 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. It provides strategies for mitigation, adaptation, climate education, and research, while finding equitable, cost-effective solutions.  

The CAP is a deliverable of Sustainability Next, Georgia Tech’s 10-year strategic sustainability plan, and it is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Institute’s strategic plan, and the Comprehensive Campus Plan.  

“As one of the world’s leading research universities, Georgia Tech has the opportunity, and the obligation, to create and share solutions that can help curb climate change and mitigate its harmful impact on our planet and our lives,” said President Ángel Cabrera. “Our Climate Action Plan is bold and ambitious, aiming for 100% clean ground transportation by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2050. These goals are not easy, but they reflect the seriousness of the challenges before us.”    

The CAP was led by Georgia Tech’s Office of Sustainability, with engagement across the campus community. The CAP Advisory Task Force, comprising experts and Institute leadership, helped guide the effort. Nine working groups in key focus areas developed climate action strategies, and additional stakeholder outreach with students, staff, faculty, and the Atlanta community took place at workshops, events, town halls, and webinars.  

The plan’s nine focus areas and guiding principles are:  

  1. Community, Equity, and Accessibility: We seek to ensure that fair and just climate policies and strategies are in place at Georgia Tech and that they prioritize affordable climate change solutions that support our internal and external community. 

  1. Building Energy: We are committed to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.  

  1. Renewable Energy and Offsets: We prioritize clean energy technologies to eliminate emissions. 

  1. Mobility: We optimize campus mobility through a variety of transportation modes that are accessible, affordable, and low- to no-emissions, considering environmental and human health impacts when determining and implementing transit and land use actions.  

  1. Materials Management: We support a thriving circular economy that focuses on upstream systems for achieving zero waste, ensures sustainable procurement, and supports our local community.  

  1. Water Management: We adapt our water infrastructure to be resilient to the impacts of climate change.  

  1. Education: We prepare all students, regardless of discipline, to address climate-related challenges in their personal and professional lives. 

  1. Research: We expand support for faculty, staff, and students to advance innovative research and projects to address climate-related issues.  

  1. Carbon Sequestration: We leverage the natural and physical resources of our campus to sequester and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

The plan has 30 strategies for reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and advancing climate research and education. The most ambitious strategies include: 

  • Transition to electrification of combustion-based heating systems. 

  • Increase energy efficiency in building operations. 

  • Increase on-site renewable energy production, and procure energy generated from renewable and zero-emissions sources.  

  • Transition the campus vehicle fleet to zero-emissions vehicles and increase sustainable and affordable commuting options. 

  • Implement blackwater reuse systems and increase water efficiency and conversation. 

  • Become a Zero Waste campus. 

  • Prioritize climate education across Georgia Tech’s curriculum. 

  • Identify and shape future climate research opportunities in which Georgia Tech aspires to lead.  

“Georgia Tech is committed to sustainability and the environmental stewardship of our campus community,” said Jennifer Chirico, associate vice president of Sustainability and chair of the CAP Advisory Task Force. “The CAP was developed in partnership with leadership and with our own experts from within Georgia Tech. As we move toward implementation, it will require a whole-community approach, and we will continue to work together to reach our goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.”   

To read or download the full plan, visit the Office of Sustainability’s webpage here. If you are interested in participating in an implementation committee, please fill out the form on the CAP website.