The University of California recognizes the challenges of climate change and has made commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), including those from mobile sources such as business related air travel.
Business related air travel at UCLA continues to grow, increasing by 33% in the last decade and reaching over 75,000,000 miles flown in 2016. Therefore, UCLA will conduct a three-year pilot Air Travel Mitigation Fund program using funds collected from both domestic ($9) and international ($25) round-trip flight itineraries. Funds will be awarded annually to local on-campus projects resulting in lasting, measurable carbon reduction in order to mitigate air travel emissions. Please see the Air Travel Mitigation Fund Program Guidelines and the FAQ below for more information.
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Frequency Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Air Travel Mitigation Fund (ATMF)?
The ATMF is a pilot program set up to reduce the impact of GHG emissions resulting from UCLA business related air travel. Because flying is frequently a necessary part of pursuing the University’s mission, this program has been created in order to mitigate the University’s overall air travel carbon footprint by funding on-campus projects which result in lasting GHG emissions reduction.
Beginning in 2018, a carbon mitigation fee will be assessed to each business related round trip flight. This will occur at the point of reimbursement for the trip and the fee will be assessed to the traveler’s department. Sequentially, this means that travel will be booked, travel will occur, reimbursement for that travel will be requested, and during that reimbursement step, the fee will be assessed to each reimbursement submitted after January 1, 2018.
How much are the carbon mitigation fees?
The carbon mitigation fees are $9 for domestic round trip flights and $25 for international round trip flights. Each itinerary that is reimbursed will be billed—meaning that, if there are multiple legs or stops on the trip, the entire itinerary is billed one fee. If any of the legs or stops involves an international location, the international fee is assessed. If all legs or stops are domestic U.S. locations, the domestic fee is assessed.
What is defined as business related air travel?
Business related air travel includes all travel for University business with the exceptions of study abroad travel, UCLA Athletics charter flights, and grant funded travel.
How will ATMF funds be used?
The funds will be used to invest in on-campus projects that provide measurable reduction in GHG emissions. These will most likely be energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects through 2025 or through the carbon neutrality target date for Scope 3 emissions* by 2050.
Can campus entities apply for Air Travel Mitigation Funding?
Yes, the ATMF will award funding to schools or divisions at the close of each full year of the pilot based on projects that reduce GHG emissions. An application to collect the necessary project information will be available here. All schools and divisions are able to apply for funding. Applications must be supported by their school or division’s senior leadership. For questions regarding the application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will ATMF projects be selected?
A Project Review Committee will provide recommendations to the Executive Sustainability Committee for final funding approval.
How does UCLA calculate its air travel greenhouse gas emissions?
UCLA calculates its air travel GHG emissions by collecting travel reservation data and Express travel reimbursement system data each quarter, augmented by semi-annual surveys to estimate the emissions not captured via the travel reservation system at UCLA. SIMAP (Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform) is then used to calculate final emissions.
What is SIMAP?
SIMAP (Sustainability Indicator Management and Analysis Platform) is the replacement of the Excel Campus Carbon Calculator for U.S. and Canada and the online CarbonMAP tools. The redesigned and expanded SIMAP offers campuses a simple, comprehensive, and affordable online tool for measuring, calculating, and reporting their carbon and nitrogen footprints. The mission of SIMAP is to continue to help academic institutions track their carbon footprint so they can meet their sustainability goals as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Who were the collaborators behind the ATMF program creation?
UCLA Events & Transportation, in collaboration with Corporate Finance Services, developed the ATMF program. Once operational, program management was handed over to the Office of Sustainability, who will administer the program over its three-year pilot period. Initial baseline work was contributed by a Presidio Graduate School team, and the UCOP Office of Sustainability provided early consultation, along with consultation from the UCLA Sustainability Committee and the Council of Deans.
How are the funds going to be extracted?
Each business related round trip flight is associated with a reimbursement for the flight expense. During the reimbursement process, the appropriate carbon mitigation fee (domestic or international) will be assessed to the FAU associated with the person who traveled. The fee is charged to the department, not to an individual traveler.
Who manages the program and funds?
The Office of Sustainability has oversight responsibility for the ATMF and its application process.
Are there any exemptions to the fee?
Yes, grant funded travel is currently exempt from the fee due to prohibitions against using certain grant funds for administrative taxes or fees. Air travel related to study abroad programs is also not included, nor are charter flights for UCLA Athletics teams.
What is the duration of the pilot program?
Effective January 2, 2018, flights submitted for reimbursement will have a carbon mitigation fee assessed for their travel. The pilot program was originally slated to run through the end of the 2020 calendar year, but after a performance evaluation, it was extended through December 2022.
Who is paying the fees?
The traveler’s department pays the carbon mitigation fee based on the FAU used to pay for the airfare. However, for those who do use grant resources to fund travel, an option has been created to enable the payment of the fee via another, non-grant FAU for those grant recipients who desire to mitigate their air travel.
Scaling Up UCLA’s Model Air Travel Mitigation Pilot
As the first UC campus to implement and operationalize an Air Travel Mitigation pilot program, UCLA, with support from UCOP, will replicate its success at two other self-selected UC campuses. UCLA will work with these campuses to develop internal funding sources for campus greenhouse gas reduction projects that help offset air travel emissions, either via local GHG mitigation projects or via the purchase of verifiable offsets. For additional information about this effort, the ATMF Handbook provides guidelines for this project’s scope, along with insights to any UC campus interested in learning more about how to implement an ATMF pilot program.
For more information about the Air Travel Mitigation Fund, please contact Chief Sustainability Officer, Nurit Katz at email@example.com.
For information about air travel emissions in general, please contact Events & Transportation Executive Director, Renee Fortier at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Refers to all indirect emissions such as business related air travel and student and employee commuting.