Climate Action Plan

Global WarmingRedwood treegame day challenge 2014

HSU is a leader in the integration of sustainability into its operations and academics, yet many of HSU’s operational and business activities generate greenhouse gases (GHG), which contribute to global climate change and its associated affects on social, economic and environmental systems. 

HSU has joined other CSU campuses to reduce its GHG emissions through the development of a Climate Action Plan (CAP), a planning and policy document designed to guide and prioritize emissions reduction measures. The CAP aligns with the CSU Sustainability Policy, which calls for campuses to reduce their facility GHG emissions to levels seen in 1990, or below, by 2020, and to further reduce emissions to 80% or more below 1990 levels by 2040.   

Important components of the CAP include:

  • Climate action goals in the areas of academics, research, and campus operations
  • Target dates for achieving goals
  • Strategies and actions to:
    • ​Integrate climate change and sustainability into the curriculum and other educational experiences
    • Expand research on climate change, mitigation measures and resiliency
    • Reduce HSU's direct and indirect GHG emissions
  • Mechanisms for tracking progress on goals and actions

In December 2016 the CAP was completed, and following university adoption was made public in March 2017. View the complete Climate Action Plan.

This plan presents strategies to curb greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the university's energy consumption, from indirect emissions from related activities - business travel, student and employee commute, and solid waste disposal, and for integrating sustainability into academics and student life. The plan calls for cutting energy related emissions through a number of energy efficiency and conservation projects, combined with on-site renewable energy generation and the purchase of power generated by renewable sources. Indirect emissions will be reduced through campus-wide waste reduction strategies, as well as alternative transportation and public transit programs that will lessen business travel and lead to reductions in single occupant vehicle (SOV) commuter trips. The CAP includes 50 strategies for reducing emissions and expanding a culture of sustainability. You can view example Strategy Brief Papers from the CAP by clicking on the links below:

CAP strategies to curb emissions from energy and utilities:

CAP strategies to curb transportation-related emissions:

CAP strategies to curb emissions from waste, purchasing and food:

CAP strategies to integrate sustainability into the curriculum and student engagement:


The Office of Sustainability tracks HSU's greenhouse gas emissions.  HSU is on track to meet or exceed the 2020 target of reducing GHG emissions below 1990 levels:

 Page 3 from the 2019 Climate Action Progress Report: Campus Carbon Emissions

You can view the CAP Progress Report to see a snapshot of how HSU is working through the CAP strategies to achieve its GHG reduction goals. Also, share your ideas on the Climate Action Plan and how HSU can reduce its emissions! To access our comment form online, click here.

HSU is also paying attention to its nitrogen footprint – the total amount of reactive nitrogen released to the environment as a result of resource consumption. Nitrogen is necessary in some form for all species on earth – however, when emitted in high concentrations, nitrogen can be a pollutant, causing smog, acid rain, dead zones, and other negative impacts to ecosystems and to human health. Fossil fuel combustion and food production are the two main ways nitrogen is released to the environment. 

To learn more about nitrogen footprints, and to calculate your personal nitrogen footprint, go to