Climate Commitment Advisory Council

Duke University has created a new representative governance structure to bring life to the ambitions of its Climate Commitment.

The Climate Commitment Advisory Council, or CCAC, is an advisory body to provide diverse campus and community constituents’ voices a chance to be heard during our planning and implementation. The CCAC will allow for high-level oversight and input into the climate and sustainability work at Duke, while providing an inclusive structure for stakeholders to engage in decision making and prioritization.

The CCAC meets regularly to provide guidance, develop recommendations and formulate implementation steps and accountability measures. There are four subcommittees that report up to the CCAC Leadership Team, with the priority of community partnerships infused across all subcommittees. The subcommittees are comprised of faculty, staff and students whose responsibilities, interests and expertise are aligned with the Climate Commitment’s mission:

The Climate Commitment Advisory Council (CCAC) serves as an advisory body to the Executive Leadership of the University (President, Provost, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, and the Executive Vice President) to drive the vision articulated in the Duke Climate Commitment.

The CCAC is led by Vice President and Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability, Toddi Steelman, with co-vice chairs Tavey Capps, Executive Director of Climate and Sustainability, and Brian Murray, Interim Director of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability. Co-chairs of the four subcommittees also serve on the CCAC Leadership Team. View the full list of CCAC members (PDF).

Toddi Steelman Portrait

Toddi Steelman, Ph.D.
Vice President and Vice Provost for Climate and Sustainability

Brian Murray portrait

Brian Murray, Ph.D.
Interim Director of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment, and Sustainability

Tavey Capps headshot

Tavey Capps
Executive Director of Climate and Sustainability, Sustainable Duke

Subcommittees

During 2023-2024 CCAC subcommittees will focus on developing actionable work plans that build upon existing efforts, connect across campus and the community, and define explicit deliverables with measurable accomplishments. Subcommittees will meet at least quarterly; CCAC will meet monthly.

Education Integration

Duke will educate and empower a climate- and sustainability-fluent campus community and alumni network that understands anthropogenic climate change and its origins and is well-equipped to address it by innovating and implementing creative, scientifically informed, just, and responsible solutions.

This subcommittee will focus on the following:

  • Develop strategies to infuse climate and sustainability into educational programming at all ten schools at Duke, preparing Duke students to lead in the 21st century.
  • Identify opportunities, resources and incentives to support faculty in incorporating climate and sustainability into new and existing courses.
  • Consider co-curricular opportunities to engage students, faculty, and staff to deepen their knowledge and agency on issues related to climate and sustainability on campus and beyond.
  • Explore career service programming across Duke to expand opportunities for students to enter the workforce with the goal of contributing to climate change solutions.
  • Support and expand the developing Sustainability and Climate Applied Learning program to use Duke’s campus as a living laboratory and provide applied learning opportunities for all students.
  • Provide climate and sustainability literacy and fluency opportunities for alumni through lifelong learning and digital education partnerships.
  • Ensure authentic community partnerships supporting the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion as a part of the climate and sustainability educational strategy.

Research Innovation

Duke will prioritize investments in climate research areas in which the University already has strength: transforming energy, fostering climate-resilient communities and ecosystems, elevating environmental and climate justice, and developing data-driven climate solutions.

This subcommittee will focus on the following:

  • Expand and further refine Duke’s climate research in four core areas — energy transformation, climate and community resilience, data-driven climate solutions, and environmental and climate justice.
  • Support and identify research projects related to climate through new initiatives, such as the Climate Research Innovation Seed Program (CRISP), University-Wide Collaboration Grants on Climate Change, and Data Expeditions.
  • Develop strategies and infrastructure to engage faculty, students, and staff from across the university to foster new collaborative and interdisciplinary research connections.
  • Ensure authentic community partnerships supporting the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion criteria as a part of the climate and sustainability research strategy.

External Engagement for Impact

To amplify its total societal impact, Duke will challenge its units and scholars focused on external engagement to work with partners in the public and private sectors and civil society to pursue impactful opportunities where Duke can advance action on climate change solutions and contribute to building a just and sustainable future.

This subcommittee will focus on the following:

  • Develop a community of practice for external engagement professionals across campus to provide mutual support and shared learning.
  • Develop a program to build engagement capacity across campus that includes both financial resources, and hiring of engagement professionals, so that units across Duke can engage local, state, and federal policymakers, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations over equitable climate and sustainability solutions.
  • Develop approaches and identify resources needed to support experiential learning opportunities for students associated with external engagement.
  • Deepen Duke’s involvement with green entrepreneurs, investors, and industry leaders in the Research Triangle and beyond.
  • Coordinate and leverage resources set aside for annual convenings that expand and elevate climate impact work across campus.
  • Oversee the Climate Leaders Residency Program, which brings climate leaders to campus to share their work and engage with the Duke community.
  • Develop a program and manage resources enabling current Duke faculty and staff to spend time in government and in other external roles and return with new relationships and knowledge that will enhance Duke’s capacity for impact.
  • Ensure authentic community partnerships supporting the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion as a part of the climate and sustainability engagement strategy.

Sustainable Operations

Duke will further build on existing sustainable operations and facilities efforts to demonstrate how a complex institution can proactively tackle the climate crisis. The University will look beyond its 2024 carbon neutrality goal to develop next-level sustainable operations that focus on campus energy use, transportation, waste management, and procurement.

This subcommittee will focus on the following:

  • Support progress towards carbon neutrality in 2024 with a continued focus on internal emissions reductions while working to develop goals for adaptability and resilience
  • Explore opportunities to reduce reliance on offsets by 2030 while continuing to work with a staff, faculty and student advisory committee to evaluate carbon offsets projects that meet Duke’s high standards
  • Expand Duke’s sustainability strategic planning and identify leadership opportunities in key priority areas such as energy, waste management and diversion, supply chain, and campus mobility
  • Explore opportunities to support and increase sustainability efforts in the Duke Health System
  • Ensure authentic community partnerships supporting the principles of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion as a part of the climate and sustainability operational strategy