SDG Observatory

Goal 13: Climate Action

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.


Climate Action Globally

Climate change is a reality. 2023 was a record year for warm temperatures, carbon dioxide emissions, and the level of other greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere. As a result of human activity, the world is already seeing changing weather patterns, rising sea levels, and an increase in extreme weather events.

Urgent action is needed. Adopted in 2015, the Paris Agreement is one example of an international agreement to implement new technologies and keep global temperature changes to a low. Much of the solution can be found in working towards achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals. Investing in clean and affordable energy, protecting life below water and life on land, and increasing education around the climate crisis will all contribute to the solution.


Climate Action Locally

Approved in May of 2020, the Dallas Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan provides actionable steps to reduce Dallas emissions and work towards environmental protection. The plan recognizes the unique threats the Dallas area will face as a result of climate change, including extreme heat, drought, flooding, and public health concerns.

At UT Dallas, we believe all students can contribute to climate solutions. In providing an education that includes sustainability, we equip students with the tools to become future leaders in their field. Whether it be business, biology, policy, or psychology, everyone has a role to play in the climate solution.



Learning Outcomes

SDG 1: No Poverty
SDG 4: Quality Education

Sustainability is the lens through which student learning is assessed at the institutional level with the Comets to the Core program. In the 2023-2024 academic year, student learning will be assessed based on their collaborative, interdisciplinary projects that address SDG 4 [Sustainable Development Goal 4] : Quality Education in the topic of “How should UTD incorporate artificial intelligence in its curriculum?”

Students walking down a hall in Engineering & Computer Science West.

UTD Comets to the Core

Comets have adopted the learning outcome that students should be able to identify the social, political, environmental, and economic components of a complex world problem, and will provide a solution that address sustainability in each of these areas. Upon graduation, 49.71% of UTD students have experienced a program that adopts at least one sustainability learning outcome.


Environmental Studies Minor

SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
SDG 14: Life Below Water
A student holding her certificate and shaking hands with the Director of Sustainability and Energy Conservation, Gary Cocke.

Photo Source: UTD Sustainability 101

This minor will provide students from all majors with a better understanding of environmental issues and the skills to analyze future environmental problems. The name “Environmental Studies” reflects the goal of this interdisciplinary minor to encourage students to learn to view environmental issues from scientific, economic, political, and social standpoints. The 18 semester credit hours of the Environmental Sciences minor enable UT Dallas students to develop expertise in this important area. The framework provides all students with a policy and science perspective and allows students to tailor the minor, through choice of electives, to their individual goals. Students will be strongly encouraged to include an Environmental Studies Internship/Project (BIS 3310) in their minor though it may not be possible for all students.


Green Libraries

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The McDermott Library provides exceptional resources in sustainability research and learning collectively called “green” libraries. Green libraries emphasize stewardship of resources, impact on the natural environment, economy, ecology, and equity. Economy is the management, or stewardship, of the resources; Ecology is the relationship of the community with its environment, particularly the natural environment; and Equity is fairness to all. These Green Libraries encourage climate action through research, education, and engagement.


Eco Reps

SDG 4: Quality Education
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
UTD Eco Reps gathered near the sign to the Eco Hub.

UTD Eco Reps at the Eco Hub

The Office of Sustainability hires student educators, known as Eco Representatives, and decides on goals and projects for events, communication, and initiatives that align with the short- and long-term sustainability goals of the University. Examples include educating students on how to reduce water and energy consumption with behavior change education and competitions, promoting recycling and composting through demonstration, contributing to social media, and coordinating events such as Earth Week, Sustainable Labs, Tree Campus USA, Bee Campus USA, Monarch Butterfly Way Stations, sustainability service honors, film screenings, and more. Students are also available to partner with any interested student organizations or campus offices on additional programming. For example, the Office of Sustainability can offer mock climate negotiations for classes or organizations upon request. The entirety of the campus community is invited to attend events and participate in programming hosted by The Eco Representatives through the Office of Sustainability.


Student Organizations

SDG 14: Life Below Water
SDG 15: Life on Land
Students standing inf front of piles of recyclables holding an ECO UTD poster.

Photo Source: UTD Sustainability 101

Among the hundreds of student organizations at UT Dallas, several focus on environmental stewardship and climate action specifically. ECO UTD is an organization for sustainability-minded students focused on environmental education, campus clean-ups, and protecting the natural environment. The Sunrise Movement also has a newly founded chapter at UTD; this organization focuses on direct action for progressive climate policies.


Earth Week

During UTD’s 12th annual Earth Week, the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Student Volunteerism focused on local application of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This past year’s theme was “Make it Local, Make it Personal” to highlight sustainability efforts at UT Dallas and north central Texas. 18 programs were hosted and led by the Office of Sustainability during the week, including a 3-part UTD Sustainability Steward Training series, a local Wetland Cleanup and Restoration workday, and on-campus Bee Hive Installation volunteering. The culmination of this jam-packed week was at the famed Earth Fair, where the OSV [Office of Student Volunteerism] and OoS [Office of Sustainability] oversaw the participation of more than 400 student and community members in informational booths and interactive activities from student orgs, campus departments, and community partners.


Goals / Future Work

  • Incorporate climate action into Office of Sustainability events
  • Continue improving Comets to the Core program
  • Engage students through in-person Campus Sustainability Month (October) and Earth Week (April) programming


Learn More

  • Take the online courses regarding Climate Action from SDG Academy
  • Learn more about the targets and indicators at the UN Global Goals website

Compliance with Texas Senate Bill 17
The information on this page predates the signing into law of Texas Senate Bill 17 (SB17Senate Bill 17), and as such, should be considered an obsolete historical document which will either be changed or purged from this site in a future iteration, following the guidance of The University of Texas System.