Climate change and other environmental concerns have led the University of California a formal Sustainable Practices Policy with goals in nine areas, including transportation. At UCLA, growth in air travel in particular has resulted in efforts to reduce impacts from air travel through the Air Travel Mitigation Fund.
The three-year pilot program, in initiated in 2018, is testing the efficacy of reducing carbon emissions through mandatory fees on all business flights. Fees of $9 for domestic flights and $25 for international flights are billed to the traveler’s department. The exceptions to the requirement are allowed for travel related to study abroad, UCLA Athletics charter flights, and grant-funded travel. There is an option for grant-funded travel to be mitigated through a separate source of non-grant .
Funds collected are invested on campus, in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Schools and divisions at UCLA can apply each year for Air Travel Mitigation Fund money for relevant projects, and the Project Review Committee will choose funding recipients.
To encourage other schools to develop their own air travel mitigation funds, UCLA makes available a case study of their system. According to that report, “The ATMF development team notes that sufficient political will among university staff was crucial in order to successfully implement the program.” An evaluation of the pilot program at the end of 2020 will lead to a decision on whether or not to make the program permanent.