New research on northeastern forests is examining how the earlier arrival of warm weather might clash with genetic programming tuned to lengthening days and the duration and depth of winter cold.
Season Spotter is a citizen-science project that aims to recruit Internet users to assist researchers analyzing images of natural scenes.
Chilean preservationists have turned to a Harvard scientist with a record of solving mysteries around threatened cultural artifacts.
A team of researchers has developed a novel class of materials that enable a safer, cheaper, and more energy-efficient process for removing greenhouse gas from power-plant emissions.
A Harvard-led study reveals that an aging natural-gas distribution system short-changes Boston-area customers and contributes to greenhouse-gas buildup. Depending on the season, natural gas leaking from the local distribution system accounts for 60 percent to 100 percent of the region’s emissions of methane.
A team of Harvard scientists and engineers has demonstrated a new type of battery that could fundamentally transform the way electricity is stored on the grid, making power from renewable energy sources such as wind and sun far more economical and reliable.
Emissions of methane from fossil fuel extraction and refining activities in the United States are nearly five times higher than previous estimates, according to researchers at Harvard University and seven other institutions.
A report co-authored by Professor Michael McElroy and D. James Baker, a former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, connects global climate change, extreme weather, and national security.
By tailoring geoengineering efforts by region and by need, a new model promises to maximize the effectiveness of solar radiation management while mitigating its potential side effects and risks.
A team of researchers led by James G. Anderson, the Philip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, warns that a newly discovered connection between climate change and depletion of the ozone layer over the U.S. could allow more damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the Earth’s surface, leading to increased incidence of skin cancer.
Atmospheric scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Nanjing University have produced the first "bottom-up" estimates of China's carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for 2005 to 2009, and the first statistically rigorous estimates of the uncertainties surrounding China's CO2 emissions.
Climate scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have discovered that particulate pollution in the late 20th century created a "warming hole" over the eastern United States — that is, a cold patch where the effects of global warming were temporarily obscured.
U.S. Undersecretary of Energy Kristina Johnson said the United States plans to have 80 percent of its energy come from alternative and unconventional fossil fuels by 2050. She spoke as part of the “Future of Energy” discussion series sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment.
Harvard Kennedy School professor Robert Stavins will work behind the scenes at the 2009 U.N. summit on climate change with his Harvard-led initiative on global warming.
Green '13 is a new initiative from the class of 2013 that aims to change the culture of personal behavior, starting with being more sustainable.
Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS) will present the 2009 Roy Family Award for Environmental Partnership to the Mexico City Metrobus, a bus rapid transit system that reduces air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions while improving the quality of life and transportation options in one of the largest cities in the world.
As the hurricane bears down on the village, the people do what many all over the world do: head to the local school for shelter. A place of learning in normal times becomes a place of refuge during disasters.
As of June 4, Harvard has celebrated 358 commencements. Add to that the simultaneous celebration of untold thousands of reunions.
ENERGY: Daniel P. Schrag, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
The leader of one of the nation’s largest coal mining companies said Tuesday (Feb. 3) that coal is a vital part of the nation’s energy mix and that clean coal technology must be developed if the atmosphere is to stop warming.
An analysis of global temperatures between 1850 and 2007 has illuminated some climate change details, showing that winter temperatures have risen more rapidly than summer temperatures and that the seasons are coming nearly two days earlier than they were 50 years ago.
The world today uses enough power to illuminate 150 billion light bulbs for a year. According to some estimates, by 2050, demand will double, creating irreversible climate change without reductions in humanity’s carbon output.
Climate change has so much momentum behind it that “either/or” discussions about options are meaningless because it’ll take all we can do just to arrest carbon dioxide at levels double those in preindustrial times, a top climate scientist said Dec. 11.
Electric cars with zero emissions. Powered by renewable energy. All over the world. That is Shai Agassi’s dream. The 40-year-old Israeli entrepreneur left a lucrative corporate software track last year to found Better Place, a transportation company based on sustainability and independence from oil.
As U.S. automakers plead for a government bailout, the next great automotive revolution is already under way, as Japanese automakers plan for a generation of lightweight cars that vastly increase mileage and whose advanced materials pay for themselves through dramatically streamlined assembly and smaller engines, an energy expert said Wednesday (Dec. 3).
Without action to slow the release of greenhouse gases, Harvard biologist and oceanographer James McCarthy said last week, current projections indicate that Massachusetts in 2080 could resemble South Carolina in 2008: The Bay State would experience an average of 24 days over 100 degrees each summer and two solid months of temperatures above 90.
The changes may not be immediately evident, but little by little, Harvard College Library (HCL) has been “going green” for years, even before the University’s newest commitment to sustainable practices.
Human degradation of the environment has the potential to stall an ongoing process of planetary evolution, and even rewind the evolutionary clock to leave the planet habitable only by the bacteria that dominated billions of years of Earth’s history, Harvard geochemist Charles Langmuir said Thursday (Nov. 13).
Billions of tons of carbon sequestered in the world’s peat bogs could be released into the atmosphere in the coming decades as a result of global warming, according to a new analysis of the interplay between peat bogs, water tables, and climate change.
Paul Zofnass ’69, M.B.A. ’73 has established a sustainability initiative at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) with a $500,000 gift.
Drawing on records dating back to the journals of Henry David Thoreau, scientists at Harvard University have found that different plant families near Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., have borne the effects of climate change in strikingly different ways. Some of the plant families hit hardest by global warming have included beloved species like lilies, orchids, violets, roses, and dogwoods.
1. Drive less: Walk, bike, and take public transportation instead. Check out the Harvard Commuter Choice Program for information on ridesharing, discounts for MBTA passes, and more.
An environmental call to action issued by Harvard President Drew Faust accelerated this year, with a pledge to reduce campus-wide greenhouse gas emissions and with an October celebration of sustainability efforts.
Just getting there takes hours of hot, sweaty hiking through lowland Papua New Guinea forests: three hours from the road to the base camp, then another seven to the site. That’s when the real work begins: tagging, measuring, and identifying 250,000 trees scattered over 50 hectares.
Former vice president Al Gore ’69 addressed a crowd of 15,000 in chilly, leaf-strewn Tercentenary Theatre Oct. 22, 2008, delivering the keynote address in a multi-day celebration of the University's commitment to sustainability.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the United States to combat the “imminent threat” of climate change, both by reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and by leading the effort to craft a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.
It’s “an inconvenient truth,” but only about 25 people showed up for a Harvard screening Sunday (Oct. 19) of a film by the same name, which earned former Vice President Al Gore ’69 both an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize.
From 1850 to 2000, the use of fossil fuels worldwide grew 140-fold, a practice that has gradually filled the Earth’s atmosphere with warming gases.
In anticipation of Harvard’s upcoming sustainability celebration, a panel discussion on sustainable food took place Tuesday (Oct. 14) in the Faculty Room at University Hall. It began with a reception at which chefs doled out demitasse cups filled with a chowder of Cape Cod Bay scallops and Berkshires bacon, and wait-staff circulated trays of heavenly appetizers made with locally grown and harvested ingredients. Local cheeses and apple cider rounded out the menu and helped prime the crowd for the roundtable that lay ahead.
If you flew over Harvard University in a small plane, you would see only a few outward and obvious signs of sustainability. You would see a glittering solar array on Shad Hall at Harvard Business School, a landscaped green roof on Gund Hall, home of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, and you would see a lot of zero-emission bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
The timing couldn’t have been worse, or perhaps better, for Harvard Business School’s (HBS) “Centennial Global Business Summit,” a three-day conference Oct. 12-14.
There was a polar bear sighting at Harvard last week. At Pforzheimer House on Thursday (Oct. 2), global warming expert James J. McCarthy delivered a crisp summary of how fast ice is melting in the Arctic — and why we should care. The audience of 80 took in his companion slide show, including images of ice-stranded polar bears.
The head of the nation’s largest nuclear power plant owner decried America’s lack of an energy policy Monday night (Oct. 6) and laid out a five-point plan featuring a mix of new regulations and financial incentives for coal, nuclear, and renewable power sources as a way to ‘green’ America’s energy supply.
The leader of the South Pacific island nation of Kiribati laid out an extraordinary plan Monday (Sept. 22) that would scatter his people through the nations of the world as rising sea levels submerge the islands they have called home for centuries.
Harvard may be rooted in Cambridge, but it has a lot more roots in the small north-central Massachusetts town of Petersham. That's where you'll find the woods, streams, and fields of the Harvard Forest, a 3,500-acre research and teaching facility that's been part of the University for more than a century. Having been closely monitored since 1907 — and with a provenance dating to a Colonial farm established in the mid 1700s — the history of this tract is likely better-documented than that of any other forest in the United States.
R. James Woolsey Jr., a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has a favorite personal strategy for ensuring U.S. domestic security: his Toyota Prius hybrid, upgraded with an A123 conversion kit that allows it to run largely on a battery rechargeable by house current.
Jeffrey Sachs, the internationally renowned economist, returned to his alma mater Monday (April 14) to give his prescription for saving the world. Sustainable development, he said, is the “central challenge of our time.”
James McCarthy, the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, will accept the 2008 Walker Prize from the Boston Museum of Science on April 7. The prize recognizes “meritorious published scientific investigation and discovery” in any scientific field.
With the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period expiring in 2012, the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements hosted a workshop of leading thinkers Friday (March 14) to help determine what comes next.
On the surface, one might argue, it looks like the business world is headed in a decidedly socially conscious direction. Coffee giant Starbucks supports fair prices for its coffee growers. Wal-Mart, the department store dynasty, has instituted a number of measures to lighten its environmental footprint. Companies everywhere tout their eco-friendly products and packaging, and public awareness and support for such trends continue to grow.