The world’s megacities are on the forefront of efforts to deal with climate change for a variety of reasons, says guest speaker Rit Aggarwala: Most are located in coastal zones where the impacts of climate change are strongly felt by their residents. And the mayors of those cities, he says, have jurisdictional authority to address those impacts.
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Jason Munshi-South, associate professor of Biology at Fordham University’s at Fordham University’s Louis Calder Center, describes ongoing efforts to develop species such as New York City’s white-footed mice as models for examining the evolutionary implications of urbanization. Also discussed are potential similarities between evolutionary responses to climate change and urbanization. Jason’s lab integrates complementary approaches from landscape ecology, urban ecology, and population genomics.
Karen Hussey is Associate Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University (ANU) where she undertakes research on policies, institutions and governance for sustainable development. She leads several projects assessing the effectiveness of Australian laws and policies for supporting adaptation to climate change.
The Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City of Bridgeport discusses the city’s innovative reconstruction plans in the face of rising sea levels, how they would be complemented by a regional climate assessment, and the benefits for other cities along the Connecticut coast.
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Connecticut-born Marion McFadden, Chief Operating Officer of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task describes the history of the task force and how it’s helping the region rebuild “smarter and stronger than before” with science as the foundation of the world. Her presentation was part of a YCEI-sponsored town hall meeting entitled, “Climate Change in New England: What’s Next?” which explored how global warming will affect New England in the 21st century and how the region is preparing for the coming changes.
Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, shares his experience and perspective on key decisions made while working with the City of New York to mobilize scientists for a rapid assessment of the damage in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. He also discusses another project involving the loss of Arctic sea ice and its potential for effecting mid-lattitude climate.
Emily Grubert studies electricity fuel cycles, focusing on integrating knowledge about various environmental and social impacts of fuel extraction, use, and disposal to aid decision makers at a local level using life cycle assessment, textual analysis, and multi-criteria decision analysis. Her particular focus is on fuel extraction and water resources. This talk, based on a recent paper published in Environmental Research Letters (Grubert, Beach, and Webber 2012), addresses freshwater consumption for the natural gas- and coal-fired electricity fuel cycles in Texas. Specifically, I will focus on fuel extraction, power plant cooling, and power plant emissions controls, which account for an estimated 95% of the freshwater consumption associated with electricity production. Most of this water consumption (~80%) is for power plant cooling, but fuel extraction and emissions controls have become increasingly important with the advent of unconventional natural gas production that requires hydraulic fracturing and stricter sulfur dioxide control standards for power plants.
Annie Harper discusses Yale’s Community Carbon Fund, a joint project of the Office of Sustainability and the Center for Business and Environment at Yale to support local carbon mitigation projects that go beyond Yale’s immediate campus. When money is donated, the Yale Community Carbon Fund staff invests it in ways that enable low income people or organizations in New Haven to become more energy efficient and save money.
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Radley Horton, Associate Research Scientist, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University Earth Institute, shares his experience and perspective on key decisions made while working with the City of New York to mobilize scientists for a rapid assessment of the damage in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. He also discusses another project involving the loss of Arctic sea ice and its potential for effecting mid-latitude climate.
David Keith explains how solar geoengineering may enable a significant reduction in climate risks by partially offsetting climate change due to increasing greenhouse gases, however this emerging technology entails novel risks and uncertainties along with serious challenges to global governance. He provides a rough summary of the physics of solar geoengineering and present recent findings regarding (a) the climate’s response to radiative forcing by stratospheric aerosols, (b) methods of producing appropriate aerosol distributions, and (c) risks. In closing I will discuss the trade-off between solar geoengineering, emissions reductions and adaptation in climate policy.