PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — One of the greatest obstacles the world faces in the fight against climate change is inertia — the force that maintains the status quo and inhibits individuals and societies from making the most impactful changes that could mitigate the effects of climate change on a large scale.
“There are many well-meaning people who understand how our future will be negatively impacted if we don’t take radical action, but who don’t take the actions that are required,” said Stephen Porder, assistant provost for sustainability at Brown University. “That’s because the world we live in isn’t set up to combat climate change.”
For example, homeowners might be interested in heating and cooling their homes more sustainably with an air-source heat pump — but they may have difficulty finding technicians who can do the job. On a global scale, leaders of many nations may believe in the urgency of taxing carbon emissions but face the reality that a carbon tax may negatively affect their trade relationships.
A new initiative at Brown will launch a series of efforts focused on overcoming climate inertia, with the ultimate goal of inspiring universities, cities, regions and international governing bodies to take action to halt and reverse the effects of climate change.
The Climate Solutions Initiative, a three-year undertaking managed by University leaders, the Office of the Provost, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society (IBES), aims to curb climate inaction locally and globally through scholarship, learning and research-informed infrastructure changes. It will also establish a Climate Solutions Lab, housed at the Watson Institute, that will harness Brown’s faculty expertise on energy, trade and finance to create public-facing policy analyses and offer courses on climate policy and finance, training the next generation of climate action leaders.