By Ben Geman
New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic’s rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.
Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.
- It also signals the need to prepare students for jobs in clean tech and climate-related fields, and help researchers see the field through new lenses.
- The various efforts are wide-ranging and span hard sciences and other fields. There’s often an interdisciplinary structure to match how cross-cutting and multidimensional the problem is.
The big picture: Those are just a few schools rolling out new degree programs, bolstering in-house energy and climate think tanks and more in recent years.
- For instance, last year the University of Dayton introduced new bachelor’s programs in sustainability and this year the University of Miami launched a new master’s program in urban sustainability and resilience.
- Or take the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. In 2014, it had two full-time staff and three junior-level researchers, and now has over 60 staff and researchers, per Institute-supplied figures.
- And that tally does not include staff working with the Climate Impact Lab, an initiative launched a few years ago with Rutgers, the University of California and the Rhodium Group.