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The Hill

Prof. Ronald Prinn writes for The Hill about the urgent need for countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to help reduce global temperature increases. Lowering “transition risks toward net-zero-emissions economies will involve integration of both physical and transitional components, a process that requires new and improved models and frameworks,” writes Prinn. “The goal is to empower decision-makers in government and industry to lower the transition risks as an integral companion to mitigation strategies.”

Science

A new study by MIT researchers finds that air pollution can enhance lightning sparked by wildfires, reports Nikk Ogasa for Science.  Ogasa notes that the researchers “also found that air pollution did more than enhance lightning; wildfire smoke more than tripled the intensity of thundershowers.”

New York Times

New York Times reporter Sam Lubell spotlights how Hashim Sarkis, dean of MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning, addressed the theme of how we live together through this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale. “We now have a different set of eyes for how we see the world because of the pandemic,” says Sarkis. “But the issues are still the same. The pandemic helped bring them into focus and accelerate the kinds of responses we had been reluctant to make.”

The Tech

MIT has announced a new climate action plan aimed at helping the Institute tackle climate change, reports Kristina Chen for The Tech. The plan offers increased opportunities for student involvement and a new organizational structure. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, explains that MIT feels “that it’s our responsibility and duty to try to make a genuine difference, and to do that, we’re going to need the help of everyone in the community.” 

WSHU

Profs. Elsa Olivetti and Christopher Knittel speak with J.D. Allen of WSHU about the future of renewable energy in New England. Olivetti notes that the MIT Climate & Sustainability Consortium is aimed at “looking at the role of industry in helping to accelerate the transition to reduce carbon emissions, and the idea is that by convening a set of cross economy, leading companies with the MIT community, we can identify pathways towards decarbonization particularly focused on those industries outside of the energy producing sector.”

BBC News

Graduate student Ashley Beckwith speaks with BBC Radio 5 about her work developing a new concept for growing wood in the lab, as part of an effort to supplement traditional forestry methods. "We dedicate a lot of resources to growing whole plants, when all we use really is a very small portion of the plant,” says Beckwith. “So somehow we needed to figure out a more strategic way to reproduce materials that isn't so reliant on the land."

The Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal reporter Dieter Holger spotlights the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium. Holger notes that in January “IBM joined a dozen other companies—including Apple Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Boeing Co. —as the inaugural members of the MIT Climate and Sustainability Consortium to develop technologies to combat climate change.”

Wired

Writing for Wired, Keith Gillogly spotlights how MIT researchers have devised a new technique that could lead to the development of lab-grown wood and other biomaterials. “The hope is that, if this becomes a developed process for producing plant materials, you could alleviate some of [the] pressures on our agricultural lands. And with those reduced pressures, hopefully we can allow more spaces to remain wild and more forests to remain in place,” says graduate student Ashley Beckwith,

CNN

CNN reporter Ivana Kottasová writes that a new study co-authored by MIT researchers finds there has been a significant drop in CFC emissions and a resumption in the recovery of the ozone layer. Prof. Ronald Prinn, director of the Center for Global Change Science at MIT, said that the results were “tremendously encouraging,” adding that “global monitoring networks really caught this spike in time, and subsequent actions have lowered emissions before they became a real threat to recovery of the ozone layer.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Kristin Toussaint writes about how MIT researchers have developed a new technique for growing wood-like plant tissues in the lab. The work, they say, is still in its very early stages, but provides a starting point to a new way of producing biomaterials. “It’s a process that eventually could help accelerate our shift away from plastics and other materials that end up in landfill toward materials that can biodegrade,” writes Toussaint.

The Christian Science Monitor

The Climate Modeling Alliance (CliMA), which includes a number of MIT researchers, is working on developing a new climate model that could be used to create more accurate climate predications that could be useful at the local or regional levels, reports Doug Struck for The Christian Science Monitor. “It’s always a mistake to say that you shouldn’t try something new,” says Prof. Raffaele Ferrari. “Because that’s how you change the world.”

TechCrunch

TechCrunch reporter Darrell Etherington writes that MIT researchers have developed a new method for growing plant tissues in a lab. “Potential applications of lab-grown plant material are significant,” writes Etherington, “and include possibilities in both agriculture and in construction materials.”

The Boston Globe

Writing for The Boston Globe, Prof. Ernest Moniz, the former U.S. Secretary of Energy, underscores the importance of addressing climate change. Moniz calls for providing “as many options and as much flexibility as possible to meet the deep decarbonization goal — and innovation is key. We need as many low- to no-carbon tools as can be developed. This inclusive approach is what will get us to a shared goal of climate risk mitigation the fastest.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Nate Berg writes that architects from MIT startup Generate have developed a new system that could be used to help make the architecture and construction process more environmentally sustainable. The new systemized approach could “save time and money, while also cutting down on buildings’ environmental footprint.”

BBC News

Prof. Fadel Adib speaks with BBC reporter Gareth Mitchell about a new battery-free underwater navigation system that his group developed. Adib explains that one of the key developments behind the new sensors is that they can “harvest power from sound.”