Yale transitions carbon charge to fund zero emissions

October 1, 2021

In conjunction with its pledge to eliminate carbon emissions from campus operations by 2050, Yale is modifying its internal carbon charge.  Beginning in FY23, Yale will use revenue collected from the carbon charge as one important source of funding for the investments required to eliminate emissions of carbon from campus.  The amount of the charge will increase to $50 per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE) by FY25, in line with the White House’s interim social cost of carbon of $51.  The amount will be phased in from $20/MTCDE in FY23 to $35 in FY24, to enable units time to adjust their budgets.

“The Yale Carbon Charge funds campus decarbonization based on the cost to society of each ton of Yale emissions, and it ensures current generations of Yale leaders invest now in the changes from which future generations will benefit.” 

                -Casey R. Pickett, Planetary Solutions Project Director                                          and Director of the Carbon Charge

The new policy builds from the lessons of earlier phases of the carbon charge project and helps to reinforce two crucial principles of Yale’s new climate commitment.  First, it enables intergenerational neutrality.  Since the investments required to reach zero carbon will take decades, the current generation of Yale leaders could pass funding responsibility to future generations.  The charge provides an economically-grounded basis for contributions: current Yale building users should contribute an amount based on the social cost of the emissions from their buildings.  Second, the charge provides information on emissions and a financial incentive for users to reduce those emissions.  If a unit uses its space differently, for example through higher occupancy, it contributes to Yale’s emissions goals.  The charge provides a quantifiable benefit to this choice.

For more information on Yale’s charge please visit What is Yale’s Carbon Charge, and for information on the history of the carbon charge at Yale please visit History.