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Letter to the community on the MIT Climate Change Conversation

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The following email was sent today to the MIT community by Maria T. Zuber, vice president for research.

To the members of the MIT Community:

I am pleased to share important news about the MIT Climate Change Conversation.

Last May, President Reif announced that a team composed of myself, Provost Marty Schmidt, MIT Energy Initiative Director Bob Armstrong and Professor Susan Solomon, Director of MIT’s environmental initiative (now the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative) would launch an open, campus-wide conversation on the challenge of climate change.

Today, I am very pleased to announce the broader community committee that is primed to plan and implement that conversation. As you will see from the roster below, the Committee reflects a range of expertise and perspectives. We would like to thank everyone, including the members of Fossil Free MIT and the MIT Office of Sustainability, who provided input and ideas that helped us build a committee of community members who could do justice to the complexity of the subject, stimulate fresh ideas, and think boldly and wisely together.

The Committee has accepted the following charge:

Charge to the Committee on the MIT Climate Change Conversation
The Committee will plan and implement the MIT Climate Change Conversation, reporting to the Conversation Leadership (Provost Marty Schmidt, Vice President for Research Maria Zuber, Environmental Solutions Initiative Director Susan Solomon and MITEI Director Bob Armstrong).

The Committee should seek broad input from the Institute community on how the US and the world can most effectively address global climate change. The Conversation should explore pathways to effective climate change mitigation, including how the MIT community – through education, research and campus engagement – can constructively move the global and national agendas forward. Possible activities for the Campus Conversation could include a lecture series, panels and a survey in which all points of view of the MIT community are sought, presented and discussed.

The Committee should produce a final report to be delivered to the Conversation Leadership. The report should list, in unranked order, key suggestions with associated pros and cons that encompass the range of views of the community. The Committee should accomplish its work during the FY14-15 academic year and submit its report by Commencement 2015.

The Conversation Leadership will solicit reactions to the report from the MIT community and, from the collective input, recommend to the President a path forward.

*         *         *

As President Reif noted last spring, at MIT, we achieve breakthroughs by encouraging widely different minds to tackle hard problems together. We are very grateful to everyone who has agreed to serve on the Committee. It is worth noting that, without exception, every member of the Committee was deeply grateful for the opportunity to help lead our community forward in meeting the pressing civilizational challenge of climate change.

I look forward to joining with all of you in an intense year of open debate, deep learning and new ideas.


Maria T. Zuber

The Committee on the MIT Climate Change Conversation

Roman Stocker (chair)
Associate Professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Adam Berinsky
Professor of Political Science
Department of Political Science

Kerry Emanuel
Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences

Henry "Jake" Jacoby
William F. Pounds Professor of Management Emeritus
Sloan School of Management

Bernadette Johnson
Chief Technology Officer
Lincoln Lab

Jacqueline Kuo
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Christoph Reinhart
Associate Professor in Building Technology
Department of Architecture

Anne Slinn
Executive Director for Research
Center for Global Change Science

Tavneet Suri
Maurice J. Strong Career Development Associate Professor
Sloan School of Management

Geoffrey Supran
Graduate Student
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Stian Ueland
Postdoctoral Associate
Department of Materials Science and Engineering

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