The University of California Fossil-Free Energy Memorial

The UC-wide Academic Senate recently passed a ”Memorial” resolution on climate 98-2% that would largely decarbonize the UC by 2035. Votes will now go to each campus where Senate Faculty will have the chance to vote on it over the next two months. Our goal is to send an unmistakable message to UC admin: students, faculty, and staff are ALL calling on the UC to act NOW!

Watch the ~2 min video below for a brief breakdown.

DESCRIPTION OF THE MEMORIAL:

Global heating has reached 1.1C above pre-industrial levels and the number of extreme weather events has increased about 400% since the 1970s. Without rapid and substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions we are on course for 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels as soon as 2030, and, beyond that, we can expect a disruption to organized existence within mere decades. It is essential that governments and institutions cut emissions now, and this applies to the University of California too; an institution that emits over 1 million tons of CO2 per year from burning fossil gas for electricity generation and heating/cooling and whose climate policy — Carbon Neutrality — has not entailed actual emissions cuts. Recently, leadership on at least one campus has acknowledged the obvious reality that Carbon Neutrality (mainly relying on offsets) was only a stepping stone. Now we have a chance to change UC’s goal to be mostly fossil free for energy generation.

Senate Faculty at all 10 UC campuses will be voting on the following proposition, known as the Memorial (supporting documents here):

“The University of California Academic Senate petitions the Regents for investments in UC’s infrastructure that will reduce on-campus fossil fuel combustion by at least 60% of current levels by 2030 and by 95% of current levels by 2035.”

If a majority of voting faculty approve this Memorial, it will be sent by the Chair of Systemwide Faculty to President Drake for submission to the UC Regents. The likelihood that the Regents heed this request will be increased if the faculty vote is not only overwhelmingly Yes, but also reflects more than the typical 20% level of faculty voting. 

Voting has already started at some campuses with more soon to be underway in the coming months. Let’s get out the faculty vote!

UCSF: Now – May 31

UCLA: Now – May 24 at 12 PM

UCSC: Now – May 19

UCSD: From May 19 – TBA

UCD: May 10 – May 25 at 5 PM

UCI: TBA

UCR: TBA

UCM: TBA

UCSB: TBA

UCB: TBA

Check back here frequently for updates on other campus vote dates.

HISTORY & PROSPECTS FOR SUCCESS OF THE MEMORIAL:

The Memorial arose from initial efforts at the UCSD Academic Senate Task Force on Climate Crisis, which were carried through to the resulting UCSD Campus Committee on Climate Change, and then leveraged throughout the 10 campuses by system-level faculty leadership. These efforts were heavily buttressed by grassroots social movements. The UCSD Green New Deal launched the 2020 Energy System petition – which was supported by 3,500 UC members, including unions representing 50,000 – and the UCSD GND then developed the subsequent campaign, joined by the wider UC GND Coalition. These efforts have elevated consciousness throughout the UC’s of the need to Get Off The Gas, including having an impact on the Chief Regent, the Chief Financial Officer, multiple Chancellors, President Drake, campus sustainability officers and the Global Climate Leadership Council that advises UCOP. Notably, several campuses are already making electrification plans and asking for more monies to do so from the state.

We Need Your Help!

More resources for Senate Faculty outreach that you can use will be updated here as soon as they are available. In the meantime, we encourage you to draft your own emails to your colleagues and professors (depending if you’re a student, Senate Faculty, or non-Senate Faculty (ie. non-tenured)) encouraging them to vote ”yes” on the Memorial.

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