Building a Greener Belt & Road

This piece is part of a series of posts looking to highlight the Global, Interdisciplinary and Entrepreneurial character of F&ES. It’s hard to keep track of all the initiatives students are involved in, and we hope to provide a spotlight for them. For prospective students who wish to know more, and current students who wish to have their work featured in this series, please email fesinfo@yale.edu.

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When it comes to the potential ramifications of international development and trade, F&ES students Tina Huang M.E.M. ’19 (China), Kate Logan M.E.M. ’20 (United States) and Nicholas Lo M.E.Sc ’19 (Hong Kong) share the goal of creating awareness among their peers, by making sure they spread dialogue in the U.S…

Global Climate Action Summit: A Tale of Two Climates

The Global Climate Action Summit had many powerful moments. During the three-day event, held last week in San Francisco, former Vice President Al Gore brought the crowd hope by asserting that the U.S. is still officially in the Paris Agreement, and that the next president could easily reverse President Trump’s decision to withdraw. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley of Barbados reminded us that the intense storms, which have been fatal to her neighboring countries, happened at a higher rate than ever recorded with only a 1-degree C rise — and that we are on the path to a 4-degree rise. Jane Goodall reminded us to protect forests, and to not let them be “the forgotten solution.” Deforestation represents one-third of greenhouse gas emissions globally, while efforts to control it…

F&ES Treks to Quito, Ecuador

During the October fall break, a group of roughly 30 students from three Yale graduate schools (FES, School of Management, and Public Health) traveled to Quito, Ecuador. The majority of these students were FES-ers, who 1) attended the UN Habitat III conference as accredited stakeholders and 2) either presented research related to urban resilience or participated in a consultancy project.

The UN Habitat III conference was a unique occurrence. It is an event that only happens every 20 years, where national and subnational governments gather to discuss urban development. In this past Habitat, the New Urban Agenda was adopted. This is a guidance document that will dictate how urbanization will occur worldwide, and encompasses many areas including but not limited to social inclusion, ending poverty, environmentally sustainable…

Who Owns the ‘Right to the City’? Moving Towards Urban Inclusivity

Henri Lefebvre’s famous idea, Right to the City, has stirred up numerous discussions as preparations for the Habitat III conference is in full swing. Right to the City has been interpreted and used in many different ways, often in the sense of human rights and access to urban resources. In his 1968 book Le Droit à la ville, Lefebvre proposed the novel definition of Right to the City as a “demand…[for] a transformed and renewed access to urban life”. David Harvey, Professor of Anthropology and Geography at

Thinking Beyond the City: Regional Climate Adaptation Planning and Habitat III

Climate change threatens cities worldwide, but urban leaders face a myriad of funding, logistical, and political challenges in trying to reduce the associated risks at the local level. When planning for climate adaptation, or “climate-proofing,” some urban planners and civic leaders are thinking beyond their jurisdiction to develop creative solutions and partnerships at the regional level. From California to Nepal, organizations are demonstrating that taking a collaborative, regional look at climate change adaptation planning can help leverage resources and increase community resilience.

The upcoming UN Habitat conference, Habitat III, in October will be one of the largest gatherings of global urban decision makers to date. It presents an ideal forum for catalyzing new regional climate adaptation planning partnerships already happening across the world.

A Regional Approach…

Habitat III: From Global Conversation to Creative Commitment

Habitat III
Habitat III, a global summit born out of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, is set to take place in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. This round of global gathering is the third in a series that began in 1976 with the goal to reinvigorate a global, political commitment to the sustainable development of rural and urban human settlements. Termed the New Urban Agenda, Habitat III delegates have the auspicious goal of setting a global strategy for the next two decades of urbanization (“New urban agenda”, 2016). On the docket are topics such as poverty, environmental degradation, quality of life, development patterns, and – last but not least – global climate change.

With more than 50 percent of the world’s population…

The Paris Agreement: Spotlight on Climate Migrants

Earlier this month, the world celebrated a great achievement- an international climate change agreement. While the Paris Agreement contains a number of ambitious provisions, there’s one urgent area where it doesn’t go far enough: climate-induced migration.

On December 10th, International Human Rights Day, I attended a COP21 panel that explored the links between human mobility and climate change. I learned that a staggering 19 million people from over 100 countries were forced to flee their homes last year for reasons linked to climate change. This amounts to one person displaced by climate change every second. Migration is the “human face” of climate change and it’s not receiving the international attention and resources it demands.

Climate-induced migration: What? Where? Why?

Climate-induced migration is a global…

COP21 Week 1 Data Analytics from the #DataGeeks at Parisagreement.org

The opening of the UNFCCC COP21 conference saw 150 world leaders gather together in an act of global solidarity like no other. According to the UN, never before have so many Heads of State come together for a common purpose under one roof. Many leaders gave speeches that day, but none moved me more than the words of President Obama. In his opening speech at COP21, he said:
“For all the challenges we face, the growing threat of climate change could define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other…..That future is one that we have the power to change.  Right here.  Right now.  But only if we rise to this moment.  As one of America’s governors has said, “We are the first generation

Photo Credit: http://zeenews.india.com/ 25 May 2015

If you’ve been following the first week of COP21 events, you’ve likely noticed there’s one word consistently in the spotlight – ‘resilience.’ Over the last decade, resilience has moved from the field of ecology to a central concept in debates on climate change adaptation, vulnerability, food security and disaster risk reduction. While definitions differ, resilience at its heart focuses on the ability of people and ecosystems to recover after a shock.

In the face of rapid climate change and extreme weather events, building the resilience of vulnerable areas has become a goal for the international community. However, resilience is an abstract concept that can be difficult to quantify. How do we know if a community is becoming more resilient? What metrics and framework can we use to…