Bringing Clean Energy Development to Marginalized Communities

The Yale Center for Business and the Environment and the Yale Center for Environmental Justice have launched an online certificate program to help professionals in the clean energy field better participate in a just energy transition. Michel Gelobter, executive director at Yale Center for Environmental Justice, and Stuart DeCew, executive director at CBEY, co-developed the 12-week program.

“We are creating a network of community organizers, energy professionals, local leaders, policymakers, and capital providers to unlock the full potential of the clean energy sector. We aim to equip these individuals with the tools and knowledge to drive impact while we build a collaborative community of like-minded optimists around them,” DeCew said. 

The program, designed for long-time and burgeoning energy professionals, will cover foundational energy concepts, environmental and climate justice topics and issues, approaches to energy justice, and the practical aspects of energy project development. 

“Through CEED we hope to not only equip learners with the tools and knowledge to address systemic injustices but also to set them up to successfully access the funds and resources available to them,” Gelobter said. 

To learn more about CEED and the application process, visit: https://yse.to/cbeyceed

solar array assembly

Credit: Charlotte Parker '23 MBA

More News in Brief

YSE Professors Attend Climate Crisis Summit at the Vatican

Dan Esty, Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, and Justin Farrell professor of sociology spoke about climate crisis resilience at the Vatican’s global climate change summit, held May 15 to 17.

 “I was pleased to present my work on revamping the international trade system to better align with the world community’s commitment to climate change action and a more sustainable future in general (see the Villars Framework for a Sustainable Future),” Esty who spoke about his work developing a sustainability agenda for the World Trade Organization said. “And it was a special joy to have the moral authority of the Pope reinforce the push for a just transition to a sustainable global economy.”

Hosted by the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences, the three-day summit and workshop, “From Climate Crisis to Climate Resilience,” brought together hundreds of political leaders, scientists, and policy experts — including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, New York Gov.  McCarthy, and Former White House Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy. Farrell who was inducted last year into the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences and was on the advisory committee that put the event together spoke on historical land dispossession and current and future climate risks of Indigenous peoples which was the focus of his 2021 Science paper.

“This extraordinary convergence fostered global dialogue and collaboration, blending insights from natural and social sciences within the moral context of the Vatican,” Farrell said. “With a truly global perspective, the academy amplifies voices from around the world, especially from the Global South, adding a diverse and inclusive dimension to scientific discussions held here.” 

 Pope Francis addressed participants early in the summit, saying the “stakes could not be higher” and encouraging people “to continue to work together in effecting a transition from the current climate crisis to climate resilience in equality and social justice.” 

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Dan Esty meeting Pope Francis

Photo : Gabriella C. Marino/PAS

Daniel C. Esty

Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy, jointly with Yale Law School; Director of the Center for Environmental Law and Policy

New Initiative Foces on Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Computer Systems and AI

Yuan Yao, assistant professor of industrial ecology and sustainable systems, will be part of multi-institutional research initiative aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the lifecycle of computers.

The project, funded by a $12 million grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation, focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of computing by 45% within the next decade. It will pursue three main goals: create standardized protocols to measure and report carbon costs over the lifetime of a device; develop ways to reduce the carbon footprint of computing; and explore ways to reduce the carbon emissions of fast-growing applications such as artificial intelligence and virtual reality systems. The five-year initiative is one of three projects chosen by the NSF as part of its Expeditions in Computing program.

Yao will lead efforts on carbon modeling, accounting, and validation of semiconductors and computer systems, covering both embodied and operational emissions.

“Artificial Intelligence is advancing rapidly and holds the promise of fostering a more sustainable future. However, it also poses significant environmental challenges, such as the generation of greenhouse gases and waste from the manufacturing and disposal of chips and devices, as well as the impact associated with energy consumed during operations. This project will help support the sustainable development and application of AI,” Yao said.

The team is being co-led by Harvard Professor David Brooks and University of Pennsylvania Professor Benjamin Lee, and includes researchers from California Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University and The Ohio State University.

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Yuan Yao

Assistant Professor of Industrial Ecology and Sustainable Systems

Former YSE Dean Peter Crane Awarded Darwin-Wallace Medal

Peter Crane, former dean of the Yale School of the Environment (then the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies), has been awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal for his work in advancing evolutionary biology.

Crane, who served as dean from 2009-2016, was recognized by The Linnean Society of London for his groundbreaking contributions in the field of living and extinct plant diversity. He will receive the medal May 24, 2024, during the anniversary meeting of the society at Burlington House in London. He is one of nine Linnean Society medal and award winners honored for working to protect the natural world.

His research on plant life focuses on understanding plant evolution and the diversification of flower plants. He is co-author of the highly-cited “The Origin and Diversification of Land Plants” and has published more than 200 articles and essays.

“Professor Sir Peter Crane FRS stands as a world leader in evolutionary biology, globally acclaimed for his groundbreaking contributions to the field of plant diversity, both living and extinct. His extensive body of work spans from the origin and fossil history of plant life to its current state, encompassing themes of conservation and practical utility. His palaeobotanical discoveries, combined with phylogenetic analyses of morphological data, have profoundly altered our outlook on early angiosperm evolution,” the society said in a news release.

Crane  is currently president of the Oak Spring Garden Foundation and served as director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Chicago Field Museum.

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Peter Crane

Peter Crane