Projects

 
 
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New Jersey Climate Policy

The US Federal Government's decision to retract from the Paris Climate Accords in 2017 was a severe blow to nationwide efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change. Fortunately, states, companies and other local actors have begun to step up to fill the vacuum.

One simple, effective, and politically feasible policy is to use a price on carbon to fund investments into New Jersey’s climate future while also sending checks in the mail to households, which will offset cost increases. We have been working with state legislators to design a policy that can work for New Jersey and boost the small business, the working class household and those most vulnerable to climate change and air pollution.

Our objectives are to:

  1. Research and write an effective and feasible Climate Policy for the New Jersey 

  2. Work with stakeholders across New Jersey from diverse sectors to design a policy that can work for New Jersey.

So far, we have:

  • Written a 94-page White Paper detailing our proposed Carbon Fee and Dividend Policy

  • Met with over 30 key stakeholders, including NJ State Senator Kip Bateman, Assemblymen Roy Freiman and Andrew Zwicker, and the Chairman of PSEG Ralph Izzo

If you are interested in working with us, please contact Jonathan Lu (jhlu@princeton.edu). To learn more about the projects, see tinyurl.com/njcp-projects


CAPERS Team

Welcome to the CAPERS team -- a student-community group that’s researching the town of Princeton's Climate Action Plan Emission Reduction Strategies. The group includes members of PSCI, Princeton Citizen Scientists, Princeton High School, and the overall community, with advising from local non-profit Sustainable Princeton and Professor Eric Larson. Our collective research has helped the town understand how it can reach its goal -- an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 from 2010 levels. These results feature prominently in the draft Plan, which is open for public comment until May 31. Our work was also covered in the Daily Princetonian, presented to the Princeton Sustainability Committee, and accepted to Princeton Research Day in May. With the final Plan's submission this summer, we'll be wrapping up our research and looking for ways to spur its implementation.

If you'd like to be involved, please contact Will Atkinson at waa2@princeton.edu.


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Carbon Neutral Campus

The Carbon Neutral Campus campaign, launched in fall 2018, strives to minimize Princeton’s greenhouse gas emissions through advocacy and research. In April 2019, the group successfully passed a USG referendum, with 42% of undergraduates voting on it and 95% voting yes, that calls on Princeton to take more decisive climate action through tracking campus Scope III emissions, establishing a clearer timeline toward carbon neutrality by 2046, and increasing student engagement. We are currently working to implement the referendum as well as design other ways to reduce Princeton’s emissions further. We are actively seeking new members interested in taking on Princeton’s climate impacts — if you’d like to learn more, please stop by our weekly meetings at 2-3 PM on Sundays in the Pace Center (Frist 201), or contact Claire Wayner (cwayner@princeton.edu).


PSCI Climate Incubator

Just as climate-oriented legislation is a critical component of our fight against climate change and society’s efforts to hold individuals and corporations to sustainable practices, there are countless tech-enabled opportunities in the private sector to address climate change as well. Additionally, while the ability to enact impactful climate policy is a lengthy process -- both in terms of lawmaking and enforcement -- and is vulnerable to partisan shifts, the private sector can often bring about change much more quickly and forcefully when sustainable practices become market-competitive and in demand.

For this reason, PSCI created a Climate Incubator to support and grow early student ventures that target any aspect of environmental protection -- from resource utilization to energy to agriculture. The goal of PSCI’s Climate Incubator is to launch student-initiated startups that build a scalable solutions addressing climate change.

Currently, we are working with two student teams -- MTL Solutions and TerraBite -- helping them attain funding, conduct market and technical research, recruit students, access a network of experts, and iterate on their ideas. MTL Solutions is building small-scale turbines that harness wastewater for electricity generation. TerraBite is building an autonomous robot that harnesses machine learning to automate small, organic farms.

To get involved, please contact Claire Adair at cadair@princeton.edu

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Dinner Discussions

Given that climate change is such a complicated issue, PSCI has hosted dinner discussions with various guest speakers in order for students to understand the perspective of experts in the field. Not only do these conversations give us an opportunity to develop as climate policy advocators, but also a chance for anyone outside PSCI to learn more about some of the practical approaches and challenges to resolving climate change. Ultimately, the main goal of this project is to give attendees insight regarding an aspect of climate change that often goes unnoticed.

We have had the privilege of hearing several notable speakers, including public health expert Jessica Metcalf, who explained the effects of climate phenomena on the efficacy of healthcare systems and the spread of disease. Stephen Pacala, an ecology expert, spoke about the potential consequences of carbon pricing and other methods for carbon storage. Leading economist Marc Fleurbaey and international climate policy expert Michael Oppenheimer discussed different pricing systems for pollutants. Furthermore, we have collaborated with organizations such as the Princeton University Energy Association (PUEA) and the Minority Association of Pre-medical Students (MAPS) for hosting events.

If you want to hear a particular speaker or your organization would like to co-host an event with us, please contact Andrew Wu (aw38@princeton.edu). Also, feel free to join our listserv!


Campus Polls

In order to communicate effectively about climate change, it is important to understand the demographic that we are talking with, including what they do and do not know about, and what their various interests are.

To do this, PSCI has conducted a number of polls that were sent out to students at Princeton. The survey enlightened us about the various aspects of climate change that Princeton students wish to learn more about, as well as various attitudes towards climate science and policy. The results of our polling can be found in a summary here.

If you are interested in helping to design questions for our next Climate Poll, contact Sam Moore (sgmoore@princeton.edu).

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Tabling

Tabling at Frist Campus Center is one of the primary ways by which we engage campus. We table on issues such as the diverse effects of climate change, the case for carbon pricing, and the threats posed by the local compressor station. These provide a great way to engage the rest of campus and build lifelong advocacy skills. Let us know if you are interested! Please contact our Vice President, Sam Moore (sgmoore@princeton.edu) if you are interested. Also, feel free to join our listserv!



Public Talks

Everything You Need to Know About Climate Change in 30 Minutes

Climate change is an extremely important issue with significant political dimensions. However, the basis behind this issue is scientific at heart, and understanding the fundamentals behind this is an integral part towards coming up with feasible solutions to the problem. But, discourse on solutions to climate change can be difficult when people don’t know the evidence for and effects of climate change.

Everything You Need to Know About Climate Change in 30 minutes is our attempt to inform the general public about the science, policies, effects, and solutions for climate change. We discuss the evidence from ice cores, policies like the Kyoto Protocol and the Waxmen-Markey bill, and innovative solutions like reforestation and improved meat consumption.

If you are interested in designing or presenting this talk for the 2018-2019 academic year, feel free to contact Sam Moore (sgmoore@princeton.edu)