Institute at Brown for Environment and Society
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This spring, four members of IBES faculty received awards for their outstanding contributions to Brown and the broader community. This is Part I of a series highlighting the exceptional work of each awardee.
Annual Review of Political Science

International Energy Politics in an Age of Climate Change

Jeff Colgan — IBES Affiliate, Director of the Climate Solutions Lab, and Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs — co-authored this article with MIT's Miriam Hinthorn.
At IBES, we can't overstate the value of interpersonal connection. In the face of climate change, some of the most important work we can do revolves around teaching, learning from, and collaborating with others. Dr. Sekhon — a paleoclimatologist, Voss Postdoc Research Associate, and Presidential Postdoc Fellow in IBES and DEEPS — exemplifies this principle as she strives to make meaningful connections at Brown and abroad.
NOAA announced on June 8 that El Niño has officially returned after a four-year hiatus. "A new global temperature record is by no means an unusual occurrence of late, but I suspect the magnitude of any new El Niño-related new record may be shocking to many, as it was in 2016," IBES Director Kim Cobb wrote to Axios.
IBES Postdoc Jared Heern looked at the bios of more than 800 public utility commissioners serving in all 50 states between 2000 and 2020, finding that 25% had worked in the fossil fuel or utility industries compared to 19% with a background in environmental regulation.
News from the Department of Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences

Professor Amanda Lynch led the WMO Research Report at World Meteorological Conference

On 31st May, DEEPS Professor and Chair of the WMO Research Board Amanda Lynch invited the Nineteenth World Meteorological Congress to adopt eight recommendations developed by her Board to advance key elements of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) mission.
Professor Timmons Roberts penned a letter to the editor advocating for offshore wind's economic, health, and environmental benefits. Offshore wind, he wrote, "is simply the only resource we have in New England that is at the scale to meet the increased electricity demand and get off fossil fuels."
Nature Sustainability

Research Article: Calculating what we owe

Professor Timmons Roberts reflects on a recent study that estimates the amount of money wealthy nations would owe poorer nations for their role in the climate crisis. "Whether a fund for compensating countries for climate impacts will ever move forward is uncertain, but that does not invalidate the need for us to have a clear-eyed perspective of what is owed," he writes.
The fourth annual student-run Future of Sustainable Investing Conference (FSIcon) will take place on Brown's campus this Friday, March 10. The event brings together investors, professionals, academics, and students for a full-day summit, challenging them to think critically about how investing can shape our future.
In an interview with meteorologist Jeff Berardelli, IBES Director Kim Cobb discusses how and why marine limestone functions as a climate proxy. “I’m proud to say that the corals that I work with in the middle of the Pacific Ocean are as good, if not better than the temperature records from satellites,” says Cobb.
NPR's Short Wave Podcast

Prof. Larry Smith: A course correction in managing drying rivers

“The American West is going to have to learn how to do more with less,” says Laurence Smith, IBES Professor and Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Studies. In a recent episode of the NPR Short Wave podcast, Smith argues that strategically managing rivers in the present will pave the way for a better, climate-adapted future.
Even with the decelerated population growth of the past six decades, global population reached 8 billion people on Nov. 15. The climate emergency and the past population growth crisis represent existential challenges requiring sustained global efforts. Our success on the population issue holds key lessons for addressing the climate crisis as well.
Inside Climate News

Prof. Fussell: Americans are 'Flocking to Fire'

Recent U.S. migration data shows that Americans continue moving to areas prone to wildfire, despite increased risk spurred by climate change. In a recent article from Inside Climate News, IBES Associate Research Professor Elizabeth Fussell says the situation demonstrates how “the public has not fully acknowledged the climate emergency.”
New York Times

Prof. Smith: The Mississippi River is Running Dry

This critical river and its tributaries — responsible for transporting more than $17 billion worth of farm products and 60 percent of all U.S. corn and soybean exports annually — has been stricken by drought since September, amid a time of global grain shortage and soaring food prices.