U-M Sustainability Expert Perspectives

The ConversationU-M sustainability experts regularly contribute to The Conversation, a free and independent source of news and views from the academic and research community. This Blog has received international praise for promoting content from university scholars and researchers with deep expertise in their subject.

New data set explores 90 years of natural disasters in the US
Leah Platt Boustan, Professor of Economics, Princeton University
Maria Lucia Yanguas, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, University of California, Los Angeles
Matthew Kahn, Professor of Economics, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Paul W. Rhode, Professor and Chair of Economics, University of Michigan

Every year, major earthquakes, floods and hurricanes occur. These natural disasters disrupt daily life and, in the worst cases, cause devastation. Events such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy killed thousands of people and generated billions of dollars in losses. Read More.

Is energy 'dominance' the right goal for US policy?
Daniel Raimi, Senior research associate (Resources for the Future), Lecturer (University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy), University of Michigan

In recent weeks, a new energy buzzword has taken flight from Washington, D.C., making stops in Alaska, North Dakota, Texas, Utah and more: “American energy dominance.” Taking a cue from a 2016 speech by then-candidate Donald Trump, top federal officials including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke have begun to trumpet the notion of energy “dominance.” Read More.

When politicians cherry-pick data and disregard facts, what should we academics do?
Andrew J. Hoffman, Holcim (US) Professor at the Ross School of Business and Education Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan

When politicians distort science, academics and scientists tend to watch in shock from the sidelines rather than speak out. But in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” we need to step into the breach and inject scientific literacy into the political discourse. Read More.

To slow climate change, India joins the renewable energy revolution
Arun Agrawal, Professor of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan

On June 3, two days after President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi exchanged a hug with French President Emmanuel Macron during an official visit to Paris. Modi and Macron pledged to achieve emissions reductions beyond their nations’ commitments under the Paris Agreement, and Macron announced he will visit India later this year for a summit on solar power. Read More.

Why Trump's decision to leave Paris accord hurts the US and the world
Travis N. Rieder, Research Scholar at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, Johns Hopkins University
Anthony Janetos, Director, Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future and Professor of Earth and Environment, Boston University
Kevin Trenberth, Distinguished Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Marina v. N. Whitman, Professor of Business Administration and Public Policy, University of Michigan
Matthew Russell, Resilient Agriculture Coordinator, Drake University

Editor’s note: President Donald Trump stunned the world on June 1 by announcing his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, a landmark global agreement to lower greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the harm from climate change. We’ve assembled a panel of academics and scientists to analyze what this dramatic move means for the planet, U.S. businesses and the world’s poor. Read More.

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