Our Commitment to Climate

 October 5, 2022

There is so much that brings me hope at this time of year: meeting our brilliant students in person, the buzzing activity in our building, the changing of the seasons and our strong, supportive community.

One new source of hope is the Duke Climate Commitment. Sanford is a fully active partner in the university’s mission to pursue climate change solutions.

One of the many reasons the Duke Climate Commitment is important is the focus on solutions – on the hope and belief that we can and will make a difference. At Sanford, this is our belief and this is how we work to fulfill our Sanford mission.

Sanford is committed to climate change solutions, especially through our policy research and academic focus areas of energy and environment policy. This fall, we are featuring many of the scholars through the award-winning Ways & Means podcast: Climate Change Solutions. The series features scholarship and stories of climate change – and precisely how policy solutions can make a difference.

Every day, our faculty are generating rigorous research to inform pressing policy challenges, including climate change risks. Here are a few examples of our faculty research under way:

  • Robyn Meeks is investigating the responses of households, firms, and electricity utilities to climate mitigation policies and technologies, such as energy efficient appliances, decentralized renewable energy sources, and infrastructure upgrades, in a number of countries.
  • Marc Jeuland is working to understand the adoption and impacts of clean energy technologies in low- and middle-income countries, including climate mitigation and adaptation impacts, as well as their contributions to climate resilience.
  • Sarah Bermeo is studying patterns of climate-related migration, with an additional interest in understanding how climate finance can be structured to advance both adaptation and mitigation goals in low and middle income countries.
  • Alex Pfaff is evaluating whether interventions to lower emissions, such as eco-payments or protected areas or indigenous rights, actually have their intended impacts on the climate, plus co-benefits like species habitat. He is also investigating what conditions allow the sharing of both natural resources and information, such as rainfall forecasts, to allow poor households in developing countries to avoid disaster and even to profit.
  • Sara Sutherland is measuring the economic value of carbon stored and sequestered by sea grass in NC.
  • Nick Carnes is researching how politicians and citizens think about climate change and the energy transition in the hopes of identifying opportunities for bipartisan climate solutions.

These are just a few examples from Sanford on work under way around climate change. This research infuses our academic programs as well. Sanford offers top-ranked programs and courses to address policy innovations that affect the health of our planet at a crucial time when science is being questioned. Did you know that Sanford’s MPP program is ranked #3 nationwide in environmental policy (2023 US News)?

We are inviting the entire community at large to join us to seek climate policy solutions. In November, Sanford is partnering with Duke Energy Week to bring energy expert Alice Hill for the Rubenstein Lecture.

Join the Duke-wide commitment to making a better world and climate for generations to come. Let’s unite in hope and action.