An Erasmus+ Collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice & Studying Climate Change Adaptation
Fruitful International Exchange Leads to More Students & Scholars Exchanged Over Next Three Years
CAS Professor Ian Sue Wing of the Department of Earth & Environment leads an Erasmus+ collaboration with Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (UNIVE), with the fruits of this collaboration affording the exchange of several students and scholars. A European Union program designed to support education and training in Europe, Erasmus+ has given millions of people the opportunity to study, train, or work across Europe and beyond.
For Boston University and UNIVE, the collaboration has meant Sue Wing and Professor Enrica De Cian of UNIVE have been able to work together – with De Cian visiting BU and Sue Wing visiting UNIVE – to study climate change adaptation, including the barriers and trade-offs. An Erasmus grant provided resources for their research, and as part of that work, De Cian came to BU last spring for an in-person research seminar where she presented results from a European Research Council-funded research project: ENERGYA. The project examined a leading example of a potentially dangerous form of climate change adaptation: the adoption and utilization of air-conditioning.
A professor in the Department of Economics at UNIVE, De Cian’s thoughtful presentation focused on three papers that covered developing and developed countries as it relates to their usage of air conditioning. While at BU, she also gave a guest lecture to the Dept. of Earth & Environment’s introductory statistics and data analysis course, delivering insights from her research on how to apply statistical tools to analyze climate change impacts.
The Intersection of Climate Change, Economics, & Social Sciences
Sue Wing and De Cian have published papers together on “Global Energy Consumption in a Warming Climate” as well as “Amplification of Future Energy Demand Growth due to Climate Change.” They also recently worked with a UNIVE PhD candidate and researcher for the Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change, Francesco Pietro Colelli. Colelli visited BU this fall as part of his Erasmus mobility program and worked with Sue Wing on research that’s at the intersection of economics, social science, and climate science.
Specifically, Sue Wing and Colelli are studying ways to improve our understanding of adapting to climate change and how greater energy consumption (for cooling) will contribute to a cycle of global warming. “What consequences will this additional energy usage have on societies and on mitigation?” asks Colelli.
Additionally, they have been analyzing high frequency data, like electricity consumption data, and peak electricity load in India and Europe. The aim is to understand how extreme weather events and the use of air conditioning in the future will pose challenges to the power system.
“Let’s say it’s like a stress test for future electric grids,” explains Colelli.
Communicating the Urgency & Necessary Change
While Colelli and Sue Wing (and other researchers studying climate change) try to impart the urgency of the situation, Colelli also notes the complexities involved in getting governments to create and enact effective policy.
“There is a gap between understanding what we do and then understanding the impact on policymaking or society right now,” says Colelli. “It’s related to the fact that we often do projections of the future impact – to even the year 2050… the next 20 to 30 years can seem like a lot of time and way off their radar.”
He explains that when he talks about how the climate will be permanently altered in 20 to 30 years because of global warming, the challenge is getting people to act now to prevent future damage.
Colelli is grateful for Sue Wing’s dedication to helping PhDs and postdocs. “It is something that I feel is very important for early career researchers…I felt valued as a colleague, as a peer, even if we are not peers in terms of academic years and experiences.”
Want to learn more about Erasmus+ and how Global Programs can help you with international mobility activities?
UNIVE was recently awarded the next phase of the Erasmus project, which will allow for the short-term exchange of faculty and graduate students over the next three years. If you are a faculty member or PhD student interested in this project, please contact Professor Ian Sue Wing at email@example.com or Lauren Thorman, Associate Director for Global Partnerships and Support, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to apply for the opportunity to spend research time at UNIVE.