Freshman Seminar: Environments at MIT: Climate Change, Cities, Resources and the Coming Decarbonized Age

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Global society finds itself at a technological and societal inflection point. We now face challenges of a +400 ppm carbon-loaded atmosphere and the specter of known and unknown environmental transformations. We are also witnessing the possibility of new global resolve on two prominent fronts:  reducing carbon emissions with the COP 21 agreement crafted in Paris, and addressing critical environmental concerns and development priorities with the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This freshman seminar will introduce the rich landscape of environmental work at MIT; from climate science and earth systems research, to the relationship between bio- and geo-physical systems, to engineering and design for mitigating carbon emission and adapting to climate change, to energy, carbon storage, novel batteries, innovative transportation and other topics. Short talks and discussions will be given by a Nobel Laureate, a National Medal of Science winner, key people involved in the latest climate agreement in Paris and leading engineers, designers, planners, policymakers, philosophers, historians, and others at MIT. 

The seminar will be coordinated alongside the activities of MIT’s main environmental effort, the Environmental Solutions Initiative (ESI). Prof. Fernandez is the Director of this Institute-wide initiative. Also, students will be invited to attend meetings of the Undergraduate Sustainability Committee and other energy and environment groups on campus.