MIT will host a summit this December to highlight the regional leadership of the northeast U.S. and eastern Canada in responding to climate change and to explore strategies for building on that leadership.
The summit, to be held on MIT’s campus on Dec. 7 and 8, will bring together policymakers, researchers, and business and civic leaders from the New England states, Atlantic Canadian provinces, New York, and Québec. Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and three-term mayor of New York City, will provide the keynote address at the summit.
The region has a significant history of collaborating on climate and energy policies. In 2001, for example, the New England governors and Eastern Canadian premiers adopted a regional climate change action plan that called for significant long-term reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Continued leadership at the regional level has become even more important in light of the decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate. The summit will focus on key policy issues confronting states and provinces as they work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including improving electricity markets, reducing emissions from transportation, and pricing carbon emissions.
“Now more than ever, state and provincial governments help form the front lines in the fight against climate change,” says Maria T. Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research. “Our goal with this summit is to highlight the important work that is happening in our region, deepen connections between researchers and policymakers, and support the kind of cross-border collaboration that is so critical to making progress.”
Bloomberg is one of the world’s leading voices on the opportunity for subnational governments to lead the effort to address climate change. He serves as the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy for cities and climate change, and along with California Governor Jerry Brown, in July he launched “America’s Pledge,” an initiative to quantify the actions of states, cities, and businesses in the United States to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
“Given MIT’s commitment to advancing effective, science-based climate policy and action, we are delighted that Michael Bloomberg has agreed to join this summit as our keynote speaker,” says L. Rafael Reif, MIT’s president. “No one has a more compelling vision of the pivotal role for state and local governments in confronting climate change, and no one has done more to inspire collaborative action.”
Bloomberg’s new book, Climate of Hope, co-authored with former Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, offers a bottom-up vision for how states, cities, regions, businesses, and organizations can confront the challenge of climate change.