RFI: UC-initiated Offset Projects


UC is seeking ideas for projects that measurably reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) or sequester carbon and are initiated by UC faculty, students, staff, and researchers.

Most UC campuses will need to procure carbon offsets to meet their Carbon Neutrality Initiative goals. The University community has expressed a strong preference for offset projects that support the research, education, and public service missions of UC (see this report).

The purpose of this RFI is to build a portfolio of potential UC-initiated offset projects and explore the viability of supporting those projects with payments for GHG emission reductions achieved. The total funds UC expects to invest in these projects is substantial, given UC’s projected offset needs of 250,000 to 500,000 tons of CO2 equivalent in 2025 and declining amounts thereafter.

UC is currently offering seed awards through the Carbon Neutrality Initiative of up to $70,000 to help bring a set of potential offset projects closer to implementation. The size, use, and timing of the awards would vary as per the needs of the specific projects chosen.

We particularly hope to identify several large projects that can generate reductions at a reasonable cost per ton of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e), and at a scale meaningful to UC's anticipated offset needs. We encourage big ideas for how UC can apply our research to transformative climate mitigation.

We also welcome smaller projects that have high research, educational, and public service benefits, as we assemble a portfolio of projects that meet UC’s offset priorities.

Submissions are due by June 9, 2019

Please refer to the project eligibility requirements, timeline, proposal evaluation criteria, submission guidance, and FAQ.

Project Eligibility

Eligible projects must:

  • reduce GHGs, or permanently remove GHGs from the atmosphere. While eligible projects can have a research component, we will assess projects based on the quantity of emissions they reduce or sequester;
  • have connection to UC;
  • not reduce emissions covered under UC's Carbon Neutrality Initiative emissions target. Such non-eligible emissions include those:
      • Scope 1: directly from campus buildings and vehicle fleet
      • Scope 2: from electricity UC campuses procure
      • Scope 3: from commuting to campus and business travel

If you have an idea for how to reduce these CNI-covered emissions, please contact your campus representative to share that idea.

  • be additional to what would have happened without UC's climate targets. For a new activity or an expansion of an existing activity to be considered additional, funds and support provided by UC's Carbon Neutrality Initiative must cause this new or expanded activity to happen.

Projects can be anywhere in the world.

Project that sequester carbon on campus or off campus are eligible.

UC’s involvement in projects can take many forms: from fully conceiving, constructing, and managing the project, to coordinating with another organization that is carrying out the project. If the project is a collaboration between UC and another organization, the main contact listed on the RFI submission should be someone at UC, and proposals should describe UC's role in the project. (LBL employees are considered to be UC employees.) If the project does not have a lead who is at UC, but has another connection with UC, such as being led by a UC alum, we welcome the idea submission as a possible UC-initiated offset project, but the project would not be eligible for an award at this time.

If you are unsure if your project idea is eligible, please come to an information workshop on your campus, or send an email to both Barbara Haya, the project lead, (offsets@uc-ciee.org) and your campus representative.



April-early May – Information workshops on each UC campus (workshop calendar).

June 9 – RFI submissions are due for UC-initiated offset projects

mid-July – You will be notified whether you are invited to submit an expanded proposal, which will include a more detailed project plan, and answers to specific questions asked by the review committee.

Aug 30 – Expanded proposals are due

mid-October – You will be notified if you have been chosen for an award for 2019-20 and/or are being considered for an award for 2020-21.

Awards for the 2019-20 fiscal year will be distributed approximately one month after the award announcement.

Awards for the 2020-21 fiscal year will be distributed in July 2020.