As 2020 comes to a close, I feel grateful for the hard work that the entire IDSS community has put into adapting to life and work in a pandemic. Many have additionally applied their time and expertise to exploring solutions to the many challenges posed by Covid-19.
In this update, I want to highlight IDSS work that addresses another challenge of critical importance: climate change. Some of the challenges of the pandemic are acute expressions of chronic problems we see in climate science and elsewhere, whether it is the need for new scientific solutions, the struggle to implement technologies in a society plagued by disinformation, or the difficulty of impacting policy.
Across IDSS, there are many projects addressing the intersecting issues of climate and sustainability, especially in the area of energy. IDSS students and faculty have participated in larger MIT initiatives as well, from this year’s Climate Symposia to the MIT Climate Grand Challenges.
Below you’ll find a sample of some of these efforts, from building better nuclear power plants to adding more renewables into the grid, and from assessing industry sustainability efforts to analyzing the effects of climate policy. Of special note: Noelle Selin's recently published Mercury Stories, which is a tour de force on the subject. The first few chapters are available to read at mercurystories.org.
The energy and dedication of our community, and your commitment to tackling big challenges like these, inspires me and gives me hope that we can make a difference in fighting the many impacts of climate change around the world.
Looking forward to a better and brighter 2021. Have a safe and restful holiday.
Munther Dahleh, Director
William A. Coolidge Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science