2016-2017 Academic Year

News in June 2017

The EPA released a guide intended to encourage partnerships between park agencies and storm water agencies to promote the use of green infrastructure on park land, titled Green Infrastructure in Parks: A Playbook for Collaboration, Funding, and Community Engagement. The guide provides an approach for building relationships with potential partners, including recommendations on the types of projects that are most likely to attract attention and funding for parks.

A joint study by researchers at Princeton and Rutgers, including RCI affiliate Robert Kopp, uses probability distributions of historical flood frequency and sea-level rise to better understand local differences in the changes of the frequency of floods of a given height in coastal areas of the United States. Under a business as usual scenario for greenhouse gas emissions (with little action to curb global carbon emissions), the authors estimate by 2050 a median 40-fold increase in the annual number of local 100 year floods by 2050 along the US coast (i.e., floods that typically occur every 100 years).  Read more here.


Rutgers University President Robert Barchi, as well as Rutgers-Camden Chancellor Phoebe Haddon and Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Nancy Cantor have joined with other university and college leaders, as well as mayors, governors, businesses, and investors to pledge support on climate action to meet the Paris Agreement in an open letter to the international community and parties to the Agreement.  Rutgers issued the following statement,  “Building on our existing renewable energy research and progress, we will extend our commitment to educating not only our students but the public on the benefits of renewable energy and low-carbon energy through several programs and initiatives," which can be found here. This continues Rutgers November 2015 commitment in which it was a signatory to the American Campuses on Climate Pledge leading up to the Paris Agreement. Learn more about initiatives within the Rutgers community to address climate change here.

RCI affiliate Paul Falkowski has published new research  in the journal Science showing that stony corals are more resilient to ocean acidification than was once thought. Although these corals face several other threats such as bleaching, nutrient pollution, and the physical destruction of reefs, these findings provide optimism for these vital organisms in the ocean ecosystems.


Managing Extreme Weather at Bus Stops has just been published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. As research indicates that various types of extreme weather will become more frequent with climate change, adaptation strategies for transit systems are important to ensure maximum access to public transportation during such events.  

Review of the Draft Climate Science Special Report has been published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This report details current scientific findings relating to climate change and its physical impacts to inform future United States Global Change Research Program (USGRCP) products.

RCI affiliate Daniel Van Abs discusses his work in water supply planning for the state of New Jersey in a NJ Spotlight opinion article. Van Abs suggests improvements to the legislation authorizing the Water Supply Plan including requiring that projections of water supply availability, water demands and threats to water supplies include consideration of reasonably potential impacts of sea-level rise, changes in rainfall patterns, and temperature increases to the planning horizon plus at least 20 years.

President Donald Trump announced June 1st that the United States would withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Accord; despite this intention, several U.S. states, cities, businesses and universities have formed subnational coalitions committing to the goals of the Paris Climate Accord (additional information here) .

RCI affiliate Robert Kopp discusses the possible ramifications of the United State’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord in a piece published online at The Conversation.

Valuing Climate Damages: Updating Estimation of the Social Cost of Carbon has just been published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.The social cost of carbon is an attempt to monetize the positive and negative net impacts of increased carbon dioxide emissions and has been used in federal regulatory impact analyses since 2008.


As initiatives to mitigate climate change come under threat with the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, the option of geoengineering continues to be discussed. RCI affiliate Alan Robock describes the limitations of solar geoengineering by injecting sulfate particles in the stratosphere in Nexus Media News. He suggests to counter the current radiative forcing of carbon dioxide, each year we would need to inject the amount of sulfate aerosols equivalent to Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 eruption.

Global sea level rise is having a profound local impact on New Jersey’s back bays according to the New York Times. RCI affiliate Ben Horton as well as other Rutgers researchers project that by 2050, seas off New Jersey will rise by 1.4 feet, exacerbating the local issue of back bay flooding in places like Ocean City, NJ.

Congratulations to RCI affiliate Michael J. Kennish, the recipient of the 2017 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, for his research of anthropogenic effects on estuarine, coastal, and marine environments.


Viruses transmitted by mosquitoes are a major threat to public health across the world. RCI affiliate Dina Fonseca’s research studies the movement of mosquitoes and has been working towards better strategies to identify and monitor insecticide resistance in mosquitoes to improve epidemiology.


The EPA released an updated State and Local guide to U.S. EPA Climate and Energy Program Resources. Click here to view the document.