Institute at Brown for Environment and Society
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A study released Tuesday in the journal Climatic Change is the first to thoroughly document the role PR firms have had in helping fossil fuel companies finesse their public image and manipulate science to fit their messaging.
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Coauthored by IBES Professor Scott Frickel, "Residues: Thinking Through Chemical Environments", offers readers a new approach for conceptualizing the environmental impacts of chemicals production, consumption, disposal, and regulation.
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Climate Social Science Network

Climate Social Science Network Announces Reporting Fellows

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island – September 13, 2021 – Today the Climate Social Science Network — an international network of social science scholars focused on understanding the cultural and institutional dynamics of the political conflict over climate change — announced its inaugural journalism fellows, Kate Aronoff and Taylor Kate Brown. These experienced journalists will collaborate on investigative research with local and global teams of social scientists.
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Academic researchers say the fossil fuel industry has a new tool to delay efforts to curb emissions – a social justice strategy

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Amy Westervelt
Thu 9 Sep 2021 06.00 EDT

ExxonMobil has been touting its commitment to “reducing carbon emissions with innovative energy solutions”. Chevron would like to remind you it is keeping the lights on during this dark time. BP is going #NetZero, but is also very proud of the “digital innovations” on its new, enormous oil drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile Shell insists it really supports women in traditionally male-dominated jobs.

A casual social media user might get the impression the fossil fuel industry views itself as a social justice warrior, fighting on behalf of the poor, the marginalized, and women – at least based on its marketing material in recent years.
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Summer Gonsalves knows the ins and outs of the U.S. food system, and she knows exactly who it leaves behind.

In an online workshop hosted by the Providence-based Southside Community Land Trust on Aug. 6, Gonsalves dug into the social and environmental factors that limit food access from seed and soil to the supermarket shelf. The U.S. food system, she said, has purposefully and unfailingly disconnected people of color from nutritious and affordable foods.
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James M. Russell received the 2020 Willi Dansgaard Award at AGU’s virtual Fall Meeting 2020. The award is given in recognition of “high research impact, innovative interdisciplinary work, educational accomplishments, such as mentoring, or positive societal impact” and “exceptional promise for continued leadership in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology.”
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Things are changing in America and you either go with the flow or get left behind.

Exxon Mobile Corporation had a board election yesterday and at least two “rebels” were elected. These rebels aren’t members of the downtrodden masses. They were put forward by a hedge fund, Engine 1, in an effort to force Exxon to address climate change.

By the end of the day, Exxon had been shaken to its foundation
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Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Biden’s climate report card: 4 A’s, 2 B’s, 3 Incompletes

Now that we have gotten past the first few months of a Biden presidency, what has his administration’s concerted efforts accomplished? What priorities remain outstanding, and what are in need of further attention as we look toward the upcoming Glasgow Climate Change Conference this November?
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There’s lots of talk from the GOP and fossil fuel companies these days about changing their tune and finally getting really serious about climate change. But new research shows that not much has changed in the world of organized climate denial: It’s still massively funded by mostly anonymous donors shielding major conservative actors, and money has increased at a steady churn of around 3.4% per year over the past two decades. This consistency could be the key to climate denial’s continued success.
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A scientific drilling project in China has retrieved a continuous history of conditions from Earth’s most recent “greenhouse” period that may offer insights about future climate scenarios.
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The River Radius Podcast

The Book: Rivers of Power

Rivers, their water and their usefulness for society has not changed. What is changing is how humans can and do move that water from source to a place of use. This episode explores great canals that are under construction, massive dams that are creating international tensions, efforts to use water over and over and over.
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Limited access to clean water remains a struggle for millions of Americans. And lack of water access is expected to become an even greater problem in the coming years across the U.S. and around the world.
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Australia’s premier tax cheat Exxon is one of a number of companies in the US using conflicting Facebook ads to target both liberals and conservatives, writes Jeremy B Merrill. The left wing sees narratives extolling Exxon tackling climate change while right wing Facebook users see ads asking for support to stop regulation.
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Brown School of Public Health

Humans in Public Health Podcast: Joe Braun

Host Megan Hall speaks with associate professor of epidemiology Joe Braun about plastics and how everyday exposure impacts our health.

Humans in Public Health is a special podcast series for National Public Health Week. Hosted by Megan Hall and brought to you by Brown University’s School of Public Health.
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New research shows that water pressure beneath a glacier influences how fast it flows, a finding that could help in predicting the pace at which glaciers slide into the ocean and drive sea level upward.
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In the Urban Environmental Lab, a small, unassuming building that sits behind a vegetable garden on Waterman Street, students and professors are taking on one of the most powerful forces of the past three decades: the climate denial movement.
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It’s no secret that Providence is at risk from climate change.

There are numerous reports detailing the vulnerability of the Port of Providence, the downtown and other low-lying areas to storm surges and tidal flooding. Other studies detail the risks of heat exposure and respiratory illnesses in such neighborhoods as Elmwood and Washington Park as temperatures rise.
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Meeting Street Podcast

Why We Need the Environmental Humanities

Humanities scholars are at the forefront of the response to climate change. In this show Amanda Anderson talks with two influential and innovative scholars in the field of the environmental humanities: Bathsheba Demuth, an environmental historian who studies the arctic North, and Macarena Gomez-Barris, a cultural critic whose work focuses on the Global South. Topics include the environmental justice movement, extractivism, ecotourism, and the nature-culture divide.
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When the Texas power grid failed during a historic winter storm, millions of people were left in the cold and dark. The operator of that grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said they were only moments away from an absolute nightmare scenario: a statewide blackout that could have lasted weeks — or months.

The storm was unprecedented — but it wasn’t unpredictable. How did this disaster happen, and what can be done to prevent a similar failure?
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A group of Brown University researchers, funded by the Shared Beringian Heritage Program, is tracking evidence that supports a new but disputed theory about when and how human beings first arrived on the American continent. Brown professor Yongsong Huang and his team of researchers believe they have found traces of human fecal matter and fire activity in northern Alaska dating back more than 30,000 years—thousands of years before the archaeological record indicates humans were in Alaska.
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Watson Institute

How to Teach Climate Change

The Watson-based Climate Solutions Lab has created a syllabus bank to encourage more social-science instructors to teach university-level courses on climate change.
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The Public's Radio

This I Believe New England - The Health of the Planet

There is so much to worry about in our world today: political turmoil, civil unrest, a pandemic, climate change. The list goes on . . . and on and on. All of us want to be hopeful, of course, as we stare down all of these challenges. Let’s listen to Curt Spalding’s sanguine words, as he reflects on the future of our precious planet.
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“Faster and Steeper is Feasible: Modeling Deeper Decarbonization in a Northeastern U.S. State,” published in Energy Research & Social Science, uses and updates a energy model originally developed for Rhode Island’s 2016 climate plan to assess the viability of more rapid decarbonization pathways for the state.
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Yale Climate Connections

How long might the Arctic's 'Last Ice' area endure?

An 'ice jam' bottlenecking an Arctic ice exit route shows troubling signs it may no longer serve as a year-round barrier to sea ice flow to warmer waters to the south.
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News from IBES

Shadowy Twitter bots spread climate disinformation

Thomas Marlow and John Cook, scholars with the IBES-supported Climate Social Science Network, are featured in E&E News, where they discuss new research showing that a substantial amount of climate change disinformation online comes from Twitter bots.
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The New Republic

Sea Shanties and the Whale Oil Myth

Oil companies like to point to the demise of the whaling industry as an example of market-based energy solutions. The reality is much more complicated.
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