Covering Climate Now: BU ISE Sustainability & Climate Experts

Laura Hurley
Institute for Sustainable Energy

As the major Boston-area university to join Covering Climate Now, Boston University (BU) is connecting news outlets from around the world with our academic researchers, educators, and practitioners to support media reporting on the climate crisis.

At the BU Institute for Sustainable Energy (ISE), we are dedicated to meeting one of the great research challenges of our time – accelerating the global transition to sustainable, universally accessible energy systems. Our experts are committed media resources with extensive real-world experience that includes energy transition, climate finance, resilient and carbon-free cities, and other key UN Climate Action priorities “recognized as having high potential to curb greenhouse gas emissions and increase global action on adaptation and resilience.”

Climate Week 2020

6 Covering Climate Now story angles + expert interview sources:

  • How does climate “trend” and go viral?
    This is not a change, it’s a crisis – words matter. What words and approaches work (and don’t) to accelerate impactful public engagement on climate solutions? Drawing on established principles of climate change communications and behavioral science, The 51 Percent Project (based at ISE) is tackling this communications challenge as the majority of Americans are now concerned or alarmed about climate change, but not necessarily doing anything about it. ISE expert: Sarah Finnie Robinson, founder, The 51 Percent Project
  • How will the energy systems of the world decarbonize?  
    As the power industry undergoes seismic disruption in the coming decade, what will be the impact of new technologies, competitors, and policy changes? How are political movements influencing these new models? The future of electric power demand from electric vehicles, smart buildings, and other sources is a brand-new world – one that requires new solutions, business models, markets, and regulations to meet electricity needs. ISE Expert: Peter Fox-Penner, author of Smart Power and Power After Carbon (2020)
  • The clean energy challenge for cities: infrastructure, lifestyle, and equity  
    Urgent, wholly transformative action is required to meet aggressive carbon neutrality goals in the next 10 to 30 years. With increasing urbanization, what strategies and policies are cities using to take aggressive steps and accelerate the decarbonization of buildings, transportation, and energy systems. And, in the process, what opportunities exist to create economic and social opportunities for all? ISE expert: Cutler Cleveland, principal investigator, Carbon Free Boston

    BU Climate Change Research:
    The Brink
  • The Achilles’ heel of electric vehicle adoption
    Charging infrastructure. It’s one of the most critical challenges for accelerating EV growth and decarbonizing transportation. But with cities on the frontline of EV deployment – 25 cities account for nearly ½ of EVs in use worldwide – many are unprepared for the expected surge in demand, left questioning the best way to support public charging infrastructure. Who should do it (public/private/jointly), how much, how fast, and at what cost? ISE experts: Peter Fox-Penner and Justin Ren, co-editors, Melting the ICE
  • Could climate change pollute our drinking water? 
    Heavy downpours, becoming more common as the impacts of climate change escalate, are actually putting our clean drinking water at risk. Gushing volumes of rainwater can stress the capacity of our combined sewage overflow systems, discharging untreated rainwater, sewage, and other wastewater into bodies of water where drinking water comes from. What do we know about the public health effects, and what are the solutions? Some communities have implemented green infrastructure to address this issue; others continue to experience the public health, environmental, and economic consequences. ISE One Water expert: Jacquie Ashmore
  • Bracing for Category 5 impact: building resilient power grids
    Can electricity systems be rebuilt with greater resiliency as there’s a global rise in extreme, frequent weather events that are attributed to climate change? The future is self-reliant power grids, called “micro-grids,” capable of providing a locally controlled energy supply that can adapt to disruptions and function independently. If disaster strikes, micro-grids can also ensure critical community centers are up and running to provide emergency services. What are the logistical and funding challenges of re-imagining the grid as we know it? ISE expert: Richard Stuebi

BU ISE Sustainability & Climate Experts: