Minutes for March 31, 2017 Climate Action Advisory Committee Meeting

April 3, 2017

Climate Action Advisory Committee

Full Committee Meeting: Friday, March 31, 2017


The meeting began with a presentation of the proposed goals developed by the working group on goal-setting.

The working group developed criteria for identifying goals; specifically, that the goals should: be ambitious; be able to be built upon over time; reinforce MIT’s Plan for Action on Climate Change; have a meaningful impact in reducing GHG emissions; permit MIT to have a big impact in achieving goals; leverage MIT’s strengths; be politically pragmatic; and be rooted in evidence of effectiveness.

With these criteria as a basis, the goal-setting group developed the following list of proposed goals:

  • Help Massachusetts to achieve its 2050 climate goals;
  • Help countries and U.S. states to develop their climate action plans;
  • Support federal funding for clean energy R&D/climate research;
  • Support enactment of a price on carbon;
  • Work with fossil fuel companies on efforts to align their business strategies with a two-degree future;
  • Enhance understanding of climate impacts among business leaders in targeted sectors;
  • Recruit emerging nontraditional sources to fund climate and low-carbon energy research;
  • Promote understanding of climate science, opportunities with key audiences in the U.S.; and
  • Strengthen interest among MIT students in climate and sustainability.

After the presentation, the committee discussed how to refine the goals. Among the items discussed were:

  • Finding ways to engage faculty members in how to advance climate solutions not just from a technical perspective, but socially and economically;
  • Broadening the first two proposed goals to include corporations and subnational governments at different levels (i.e., including cities);
  • Finding ways to help individuals learn about opportunities to take action on climate change;
  • Learning how MIT is perceived among diverse audiences when it comes to climate change (i.e., is MIT seen as a trustworthy messenger)

The committee also discussed ideas for implementing the goals, such as:

  • Partnering with a university in another part of the country;
  • Hosting a fall climate convening;
  • Developing curricula on climate change for use in secondary schools in the U.S.;
  • Hosting trainings on effective climate communications and on the use of tools developed at MIT, such as Climate Interactive;
  • Helping Massachusetts to improve home energy efficiency and increase use of renewables, particularly in low-income communities.

Next steps:

Committee staff will refine the list of goals based on members’ discussion and feedback.

The next full committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 23, 2017.