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Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

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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.

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 Conversation

Writing for The Conversation, John Reilly, co-director emeritus of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, outlines a roadmap for how the U.S. can meet the Biden administration’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions 50% by 2030 below 2005 levels. “By exploiting declining costs of zero- and low-carbon energy sources in a more aggressive and focused way, the U.S. can meet its target within eight years,” writes Reilly, “all while substantially reducing its dependence on fossil fuels, including high-priced gasoline, and cutting back the air pollution, climate and health impacts resulting from their combustion.”

The Hill

In an article for The Hill, Prof. Emeritus Henry Jacoby writes that “government agencies, even as they act to protect U.S. interests, need to try to maintain conditions favorable for international climate research efforts.”

Yahoo News

Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, speaks with Brian Cheung of Yahoo Finance about climate change, the path to net-zero emissions and COP26. “What is extremely important is to send the clear signal that this policy [the Paris Climate Agreement] is going to stay,” says Paltsev of his hopes for COP26. “Because what the investors need, what the companies need, they need to see that these targets are solid, that we are not going to give away and give up, even though we are not there in terms of the emission reduction.”

The Hill

Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, examines the findings of the IPCC report on climate change in a piece for The Hill, underscoring the need to take more aggressive action to cut carbon emissions. “Fossil fuels raised living standards in the U.S and much of the world," Paltsev writes, "but now the U.S. needs to lead the world with technology and policy options that ultimately will eliminate greenhouse gases from power generation, industry, transportation and other activities."

NECN

Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, speaks with NECN about the IPCC’s new report on climate change. “We have learned that we need to take much more aggressive actions,” says Paltsev. The new report “illustrates that we are passing a lot of thresholds. We now know not just from the modeling, but from the observations, that the situation is quite alarming so we better take action pretty soon.”

CNBC

MIT researchers have found that while battery and fuel production for electric vehicles creates higher emissions than traditional cars, those emissions are offset by the greater energy efficiency of EVs. “Currently, the electric vehicle in the U.S., on average, would emit about 200 grams of CO2 per mile,” says senior research scientist Sergey Paltsev. “We are projecting that with cleaning up the grid, we can reduce emissions from electric vehicles by 75%, from about 200 (grams) today to about 50 grams of CO2 per mile in 2050.”

National Geographic

Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, emphasizes the importance of reaching net-zero emissions as fast as possible. “By pushing natural gas—which is indeed cleaner than coal, but it’s still a fossil fuel that releases a lot of CO2 and more importantly, a lot of methane—we are actually hurting renewables,” says Paltsev. 

Climate Now

Sergey Paltsev, deputy director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, speaks with Climate Now hosts James Lawler and Katherine Gorman about climate projections and the tools he and his colleagues use to communicate projected climate outcomes to policymakers and the public.

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.”

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.”

The Verge

Verge reporter Justine Calma writes that states in the Midwest and Great Lakes region could see $4.7 billion in health benefits by maintaining current renewable energy standards. “This research shows that renewables pay for themselves through health benefits alone,” explains Emil Dimanchev, senior research associate at MIT’s Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.

Axios

A new study by MIT researchers examining the impact of energy policies that reduce fine particulates in the air finds that there are “substantial health benefits in Rust Belt states when utilities are required to supply escalating amounts of renewable power,” reports Ben Geman for Axios.

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Jesus Diaz writes that MIT researchers have developed a computer model that shows that rising water temperatures will cause the color of the world’s oceans to change.