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Why Should Higher Ed Partner with Business For Climate Change Success?

By Sharon Chen
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In approaching the climate change challenge, it is important to remember that together, we can accomplish much more than we can alone. To that end, the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) focuses on bringing higher ed and industry together in pursuit of climate change mitigation strategies. When different sectors work together to address climate change, the benefits increase exponentially: universities can offer access to cutting-edge research and development, and companies can implement the climate innovations developed by higher ed, which benefits their bottom lines, as well as society and the environment. Conversely, higher ed has much to gain when working with the business sector. From increased research funding, to access to industry knowledge and talent, to the ability to turn an idea into a viable, scalable reality – higher ed benefits greatly from business partnerships.

By working together across sectors, we can make significant headway in decreasing climate change impacts. As MITEI’s Robert Armstrong puts it, “engagement with industry on research and commercialization of technologies vital to transforming today’s energy systems.” Together, we can do it.

Why universities and industry should collaborate on climate change

Robert Armstrong | Christian Science Monitor | November 9, 2015

When nations send negotiators to Paris in December for global climate talks under the UN Framework on Climate Change,  they have an enormous opportunity — and imperative — to develop a strong international accord. To achieve the dramatic global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are necessary to avert the worst impacts of climate change, world leaders will need to put the full force of policy and dedicated resources behind their national commitments. They should also employ an approach we at the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), MIT's multidisciplinary energy research and education hub, believe is crucial: engagement with industry on research and commercialization of technologies vital to transforming today’s energy systems.

While global energy demand is likely to double in the first half of this century, every part of the world is already experiencing the impacts of climate change, from sea level rise and drought to economic instability and scarcity. Even if this year’s climate summit yields robust national contributions towards tackling climate change, experts agree that we will need to do more to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C. Each of us and the businesses, organizations, and institutions we belong to must bring our capacities and talents to bear.

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