Minutes from the September 2017 Climate Action Advisory Committee meeting

September 28, 2017

Climate Action Advisory Committee

Full Committee Meeting: Thursday, September 28, 2017


The meeting began with committee members briefly introducing themselves, given that there are new members for 2017-2018.

Campus resilience

The committee then received an updated presentation from the Office of Sustainability on campus resilience planning. The presentation described three of the potential risks to the campus: flooding due to precipitation, flooding due to storm surge, and heat stress. MIT’s Climate Resilience Committee is working now to better understand these and other risks and determine how to address them. Questions for follow-up included:

  • Could MIT Lincoln Laboratory’s Airborne Ladar Imaging Research Testbed system be used to map the MIT campus to help better identify flooding risks;
  • Could check valves be added to pipes that discharge into the Charles River to prevent them from backing up with water during a flooding event;
  • What solutions can do “double duty” by both strengthening campus resilience and contributing to climate mitigation efforts;
  • What is happening to ensure the resilience of the campus central utilities plant;
  • How does MIT think about/define community resilience; and
  • How is MIT working with partners on understanding and addressing regional-scale risks (e.g., to the airport, major arteries, other infrastructure)?

The committee discussed the possibility of convening a tabletop exercise for MIT and regional partners such as the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. It also discussed ways of engaging students in campus resilience work, including gaming different scenarios and developing responses to them.

For more information, contact sustainablemit@mit.edu

Regional climate summit

Next, the committee discussed plans for the upcoming summit on climate policy in northeastern North America. Points made by committee members included:

  • Industry attendees at the summit should represent not just incumbents (e.g., utilities) but also disruptors in fields like energy storage.
  • The summit should offer opportunities for “matchmaking” – bringing together policymakers (or others) with specific challenges with people who are testing solutions to those challenges.
  • The summit should include representatives of advocacy organizations.

Lincoln Laboratory study

Finally, the committee discussed plans by Lincoln Laboratory to begin a study on climate change, including technical areas that could be addressed by the Lab in order to elucidate and mitigate national security implications. Lincoln Laboratory is interested in securing participation in the study from experts on the MIT campus and plans to invite MIT climate experts to the Lab as guest speakers.

Next steps

  • Committee staff will convene a working group of the CAAC, composed of committee volunteers, to continue working on key issues between meetings.
  • The Office of Sustainability will bring the CAAC’s questions and ideas regarding resilience to the MIT Climate Resilience Committee.
  • CAAC members will offer any suggestions they have for guest speakers or study contributors, and Lincoln Laboratory will update the CAAC on its findings.
  • The new working group will meet between the October and December CAAC meetings.

The committee’s next full meeting is scheduled for October 31, 2017.