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UC system honored for environmental, economic leadership

The university has been honored with the 2017 Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Award in recognition of the UC system’s legacy of environmental and economic leadership. The award is presented annually by the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance (CCEEB), a nonpartisan coalition of business, labor and public leaders.

On July 18, President Napolitano delivered the keynote address at CCEEB’s annual policy conference in Olympic Valley, Calif., before accepting the award on behalf of the UC system.

In her remarks, Napolitano highlighted how UC faculty members and researchers are working to better understand climate change and to combat its damaging effects — from developing greenhouses that use less energy, to exploring the potential of renewable gas as a clean energy source.

“I am thrilled that the ongoing efforts of UC faculty, researchers, students and staff to protect the environment are being recognized through the Pat Brown Award,” Napolitano said. “California has shown that we don’t have to choose between environmental stewardship and economic vitality. As California’s public research university, UC is at the forefront of research innovation and operational reforms that thoughtfully balance these priorities.”

In announcing UC as the latest recipient of the award, CCEEB President Gerald Secundy praised the system for its role in shaping environmental policies and developing technologies that fuel clean energy innovation on a local, national and international level.

“It is no secret that the state of California relies on the work of the University of California for developing and implementing environmental policies and regulations,” Secundy said. “Look at each campus; you’ll see world-class research and ideas being developed by UC faculty, students and staff. California businesses are able to leverage this innovation in cleaner technologies and best practices, just like state and local agencies learn from the university’s forward policy thinking.”

UC’s longstanding commitment to sustainability inspired Napolitano to launch the Carbon Neutrality Initiative in 2013, committing UC to become carbon neutral in its operations by 2025. UC has reduced its systemwide emissions by 15 percent since 2009 through energy efficiency gains and the adoption of on-campus solar and renewables; more than 40 megawatts of renewable energy are now being generated on the UC campuses themselves, enough energy to power more than 10,000 homes for a year. And in 2016, UC made the largest solar purchase ever made by a U.S. university.

The award is named after the late Governor Edmund G. Brown, who signed the California Master Plan for Higher Education into law in 1960 and who served as the Council’s founding chairman. Previous recipients include UCLA professor and California Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols, State Senator Fran Pavley and the late Tom Graff of the Environmental Defense Fund.

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