2019-2020 Academic Year

News and Highlights in November 2019

An article in the Daily Targum discusses the Rutgers Climate Institute’s 14th Annual Climate Symposium held November 20th , 2019 on Rutgers’ Livingston Campus. The symposium featured Naomi Klein as a keynote speaker and addressed the science and policy surrounding legislation to combat climate change.

Rutgers experts featured prominently in scientific news this year, providing their expertise to help contextualizing key issues. The top 50 Rutgers faculty this year includes a number of Rutgers Climate Institute affiliates, including Cara Cuite, Malin Pinsky, Alan Robock, Dave Robinson, Jennifer Francis, and Dina Fonseca.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order committing the state to producing 7500 megawatts of wind energy by 2035, reports NBC. According to Vice President Al Gore who attended the announcement, no other renewable energy resource could provide the potential electricity and economic growth as offshore wind.

An editorial in the Daily Targum calls for transparency in the creation of a Rutgers climate task force to achieve carbon neutrality.

Oyster farming is one of the most sustainable farming industries and can play a role in combating climate change, according to a Press of Atlantic City article. The oyster industry in New Jersey has been revived thanks in part to the Rutgers University Haskins Shellfish Research Laboratory according to RCI affiliate Daphne Munroe.

In a Daily Targum article on the Stuart Meck Memorial Lecture in Land Use Law and Affordable Housing at the Edward J. Bloustein School, RCI co-director Robin Leichenko discusses cities considering equity as they are forced to adapt to climate change. Issues of inequality, gentrification, and climate justice are already present in discussions about the Green New Deal as a way to ensure solutions to climate change address all communities equally.

New Jersey company Solidia Technologies is seen as one of the most promising companies to substantially reduce the carbon footprint of concrete production, reports Quartz. Based on a process developed at Rutgers which was tested in France over the summer, production of concrete could end up cheaper and with a 70% smaller carbon footprint. 

According to a new study published in Nature Communications and co-authored by RCI affiliate Debashish Bhattacharya, despite red algae losing 25% of its genetic material one billion years ago in response to an adaptation to a very extreme environment, the species thrived and became dominant in near-shore coastal areas around the world due to its development of light-harvesting apparatuses for photosynthesis. This study answers important questions in evolution and may assist in creating genetically altered seaweed to combat climate change.

Two Rutgers professors, including RCI affiliate Judith Weis have signed onto a report declaring a ‘climate emergency’ along with over 11,000 other academics, reports the Daily Targum. The report cites six policy goals to combat climate change such as ending fossil fuel extraction in favor of renewable energy and minimizing emissions from methane. Weis hopes the report can serve as a wake-up call to alert students, faculty, and administrators that climate change is an urgent problem.

RCI affiliate Alan Robock writes about the sudden climate change that would accompany a regional nuclear war between India and Pakistan in an article for the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. According to research recently published in Science Advances, smoke from firestorms over Indian and Pakistani cities would reach the lower stratosphere, allowing sunlight-blocking aerosols to encircle the earth and reduce global temperatures and precipitation, threatening food security.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order aimed at refocusing the state’s efforts at combatting climate change, reports the Daily Targum and the Press of Atlantic City. The order creates an Interagency Council on Climate Resilience to devise short and long-term action plans for mitigation and adaptation to climate change and orders a scientific report detailing the effect of climate change to be delivered to the Governor within 180 days and be updated every two years.

A new report by The Rhodium Group in collaboration with Rutgers University finds that Hudson County (NJ) has experienced the greatest increase in climate change related risk since the 1980s reports the Hudson Reporter. It is estimated that Hudson County experiences $660 million more in annual hurricane-caused damages now compared to 1980.

After a very active year for tornadoes in New Jersey, the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article discussing the possibility of a link to climate change with experts around the region. According to RCI affiliate Steve Decker, while temperatures have been warmer in New Jersey, this is only one of many ingredients for tornado development and scientists haven't conclusively linked climate change and tornadoes.