MIT Sloan to launch new climate policy center with $25 million investment

As part of the new Climate Project at MIT, the center will create and strengthen connections between leading climate researchers and policymakers

Cambridge, MA, March 06, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The MIT Sloan School of Management is launching a new center aimed at providing evidence-based climate policy research to help inform and support local, state, national, and international policymakers. Jump-started by a $25 million investment by MIT Sloan as part of an emerging MIT-wide effort, the MIT Climate Policy Center will engage on a broad set of climate policy issues. 

Christopher Knittel, the George P. Schultz Professor of Energy Economics at MIT Sloan, will serve as the center’s faculty director. “It is critical that universities contribute meaningfully to these conversations, ensuring research is accessible to decision-makers on an accelerated time scale,” said Knittel. “We are proud to introduce the MIT Climate Policy Center, because we know climate change is an urgent problem we can address if we focus our resources and expertise on it in a systematic way.” In addition to serving as faculty director of the new center, Knittel will be named associate dean at MIT Sloan, effective July 1.

The center will connect current and future climate research to policy, measuring the impact and implications of a variety of technologies on the climate system as a whole, both regionally and across the globe. It will explore what climate goals can be met with existing technology, what relevant new technologies are on the horizon, how best to bring those technologies to fruition, and how to make them viable in the marketplace. 

The MIT Climate Policy Center will:

  • Collaborate with existing climate efforts across MIT, working with all faculty, departments, centers, and initiatives engaged in climate policy research and outreach. 
  • Forge ongoing relationships between MIT and relevant policymakers.
  • Direct new policy-oriented research efforts to serve as a resource for policymakers who wish to advance evidence-based climate policy.
  • Be a central resource for students, providing them with opportunities to engage more deeply with, and to affect, public policy.
  • Work closely with the MIT Washington Office on matters of federal policy.

The center is part of the new Climate Project at MIT, which aims to develop and deliver practical climate solutions at scale as quickly as possible. With an initial commitment of $50 million in Institute resources, the new project is the largest direct investment the Institute has ever made in funding climate work, and just the beginning of a far more ambitious effort. 

“After extensive consultation with more than 150 faculty and senior researchers across the Institute – and building on the strengths of Fast Forward: MIT's Climate Action Plan for the Decade, issued in 2021 – Vice Provost Richard Lester has led us in framing a new approach: the Climate Project at MIT,” MIT President Sally Kornbluth wrote in a message to the MIT community on February 8, 2024. “Representing a compelling new strategy for accelerated, university-led innovation, the Climate Project at MIT will focus our community’s talent and resources on solving critical climate problems with all possible speed — and will connect us with a range of partners to deliver those technological, behavioral and policy solutions to the world,” she continued. 

International, federal, state and local policymakers will be able to contact the center to identify existing research or to begin work with world-class researchers to develop targeted projects that could inform the development of new rules, regulations, or legislation. 

"I'm grateful for the incredible collaboration with many colleagues across the Institute and MIT Sloan in this process — such as efforts by David Goldston, who leads the MIT Washington Office, Bethany Patten, director of policy and engagement at the Sustainability Initiative at MIT Sloan, and especially for the vision and leadership of former MIT Sloan Dean David Schmittlein — all of whom contributed to the planning, advocacy, and engagement that helped make this center a reality," Knittel said. “The MIT Climate Policy Center will enable our faculty and our students to fulfill MIT Sloan’s mission to ‘develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world’ even more directly by producing research that will shape policies to combat climate change.”


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