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Climate change

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Bloomberg

Katie Rae, CEO of The Engine, an entity created by MIT to help support tough tech startups, speaks with Akshat Rathi of Bloomberg about the importance of investing in climate technology. “We have fundamental risks that, if we don’t tackle with real deep science and engineering, that will take us a full step forward, or two steps forward, we’re in trouble,” says Rae.

New York Times

Prof. Esther Duflo speaks with New York Times reporter Peter Wilson about how climate change can impact global inequality. “The responsibility for the emissions that lead to climate change rests mainly with rich countries and their consumers, but the cost is mainly going to be borne by citizens in poor countries,” says Duflo. 

Fortune

Researchers from MIT’s Research Laboratory for Electronics have developed a portable desalinator that can turn seawater into safe drinking water, reports Ian Mount for Fortune. Research scientist Jongyoon Han and graduate student Bruce Crawford have created Nona Technologies to commercialize the product, writes Mount.

Bloomberg

Researchers from MIT, the University of Southern California, Redfin, and the National Bureau of Economic Research found that property listings with flood risks were less likely to be looked at and bid on by potential homebuyers, reports Leslie Kaufman for Bloomberg.

New York Times

Principal Research Scientist Randolph Kirchain, co-director of the Concrete Sustainability Hub, speaks with Jane Margolies of The New York Times about how the Inflation Reduction Act expands eligibility for tax credits for installing emissions-reduction equipment at manufacturing plants. “These credits are really valuable to keep technology coming down in cost,” says Kirchain.

Bloomberg

Writing for Bloomberg News, Prof. Carlo Ratti and Robert Muggah of the Igarapé Institute make the case that cities should use venture capital strategies to manage risk and spur innovation. “To do so, local governments need to change their approach to procurement,” they write. “If administrators pay more close attention to what venture capital can teach them, then the city — one of the first, greatest ventures in human history — will be able to continue to invest in a shared, prosperous tomorrow.”

The Hill

Hessam Azarijafari, incoming deputy director of the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub, Ronnen Levinson of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Andrew Laurent of the Concrete Sustainability Hub write for The Hill about how cities can combat extreme heat by implementing more reflective pavements. “To protect vulnerable communities, federal and local officials must cool cities with high-reflectance pavements before the opportunity to limit the impacts of global warming vanishes,” they write.

Bloomberg

Researchers from the MIT Energy Initiative have found that “without restrictions on carbon-dioxide emissions, the Northeast will have even higher per-kilowatt emissions from electricity generation in 2050 than it does now,” reports Justin Fox for Bloomberg. Fox writes that the “modeling results are an indication that the Northeast faces unique challenges in decarbonizing.”

Fortune

This summer’s heat waves and droughts have brought forth a series of issues including disruption of crop production, further inflation, and electrical issues, reports Colin Lodewick for Fortune. “I think it’s too early to quantify, but I have no doubt that these extreme events are contributing to high prices,” says Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. “In the future, if we don’t change the course of action, it’s going to be worse.” 

The Boston Globe

Prof. Mircea Dincă and Grama Sorin co-founded Transaera, a company dedicated to designing air conditioners that require significantly less energy, reports Scott Kirsner for The Boston Globe. “Grama and Dincă cofounded Transaera in 2018 and supported their early work with about $2 million in state and federal grants, from agencies that included the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center,” writes Kirsner.

WBUR

The Emerald Tutu, a climate resiliency project in Boston led by Gabriel Cira ’08, is developing a system of floating wetlands designed to reduce coastal flooding by knocking down waves, reports Hannah Chanatry for WBUR. The Emerald Tutu was the winning project at the 2018 MIT Climate Changed Ideas competition. “Fundamentally, it’s like a giant sponge that fits around urban coastlines like we have here in Boston,” said Cira. “It buffers those coastlines from the intense effects of coastal storms.”

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Sammy Roth spotlights Prof. Lawrence Susskind’s study that finds common sources of opposition to delayed or blocked renewable energy projects include concerns over land use and environmental impact. Roth writes that Susskind’s “research has convinced him that speeding up the clean energy transition will be possible only if developers take the time to make a good-faith effort to gather input from communities before dumping solar and wind farms on them.”

NPR

Quaise Energy co-founder Carlos Araque BS ’01 MS ’02 speaks with Guy Raz, host of NPR’s How I Built This, about his time on the MIT Electric Vehicle Team, starting his company and the future of geothermal energy. “We would build these cars together, literally from scratch,“ said Araque about the EVT. "Very hands on, a lot of engineering went into that. And it [offered] very early experience with building things that work -- not only work, but work reliantly and consistently.”  

The Wall Street Journal

Prof. Miho Mazereeuw speaks with Wall Street Journal reporter Lindsay Ellis about courses she is teaching at MIT focused on environmental risk and disaster-resilient design. During her course last semester, “students weighed how to build environments that can cope with a changing climate as well as the social inequities that disasters reveal,” writes Ellis.

Newsweek

Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), an MIT spinout, has signed an agreement with the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to “support the fastest path to clean commercial fusion energy,” reports Ed Browne for Newsweek. “CFS says its agreement with UKAEA could involve exchanges of knowledge and collaboration on things like fuel, modeling, manufacturing and maintenance,” writes Browne.