UC3: Scaling Up Climate Solutions

April 10, 2020

In 2018 the University of Arizona joined the University Climate Change Coalition (UC3), comprising 20 leading North American research universities. The goal: helping communities accelerate climate action.

Biosphere 2 with overhead clouds

Mission Statement

The University Climate Change Coalition is committed to leveraging their institutional strengths as leading research institutions to foster a robust exchange of best practices and lessons learned in pursuit of accelerating local climate solutions that reduce greenhouse emissions and build community resilience. UA President Robert C. Robbins, a member of the organizing coalition’s steering and advisory committee, QUOTE TK.

UC3 by the Numbers

2018: Year the coalition was formed

2,600: Number of leaders convened from academia and the public and private sectors

2,000,000+: Number of students, faculty and staff represented in UC3

2050: Year by which the coalition has committed to achieving carbon neutrality

12: Number of cross-sector climate forums held in the coalition’s first year

The Mothership

UC3 is a select subgroup of the Second Nature Climate Leadership Network, founded in 1993 to make the principles of sustainability a priority in higher education.

UA Divisions Involved

  • Arizona Institute for Resilient Environment and Societies 
  • Institute for Energy Solutions
  • Transportation Research Institute
  • Water Resources Research Center
  • Biosphere 2


A chief goal of the American UC3 members: meeting the target agreed to in 2015’s Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

5 Elements of Success

  • Institutional Leadership
    The head of each university appoints liaisons involved in several sustainability efforts to build a team.
  • Collaborative Networks
    The university teams meet monthly to share their knowledge and provide peer feedback.
  • Cross-Sector Convenings
    Member schools gather various stakeholders in their region to discuss climate risks, challenges and paths to solutions.
  • Demand-Driven Research
    The coalition evaluates forum outcomes and develops research priorities and ideas on how to engage additional stakeholders.
  • Solutions-Oriented Partnerships​​​​​​
    The coalition leverages existing relationships to establish cross-sector partnerships in each community.

Big-Picture Challenges

Water Shortages

Carbon Neutrality

Clean Energy

Climate-Friendly Investments

University Eligibility

  • Pledges to reduce its institutional carbon footprint, consistent with the Paris Agreement objectives
  • Is designated an R1 research institution by the Carnegie Classification
  • President/chancellor’s office commits to the UC3 mission; appoints and supports key liaisons
  • Agrees to hold a cross-sector climate change forum, convening within a year of joining the coalition

Cross-Sector Collaborators

  • Businesses
  • Local and state governments
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Community leaders
  • Higher education

University Key Roles in Cross-Sector Collaboration

  1. Knowledge Generator, through research performed and innovations undertaken
  2. Community Anchor, as a long-standing and credible local institution
  3. Collaborative Convener, bringing together public officials, business professions and community leaders



  • Arizona State University
  • Boston University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Tecnológico de Monterrey
  • La Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Queen’s University
  • The Ohio State University
  • The State University of New York
  • University of Arizona
  • The University of British Columbia
  • The University of California
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • The University of Connecticut
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • The University of New Mexico
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Toronto
  • The University of Utah
  • The University of Washington
  • Washington University in St. Louis