American Academy of Arts and Sciences

To launch a multi-disciplinary, multi-sectoral study examining the equity dimensions associated with accelerating the transition to low-carbon energy systems in the United States

  • Amount $249,990
  • City Cambridge, MA
  • Investigator Islam Qasem
  • Year 2021
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

The core of the Sloan Energy and Environment program is to advance our understanding of how best to transition U.S. energy systems from fossil fuel power generation to alternative sources that produce net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide. Beyond understanding alternative routes toward decarbonization—zero-carbon energy sources, improved transmission infrastructure, and reduced energy use—we also need to understand how the costs and benefits of each of these pathways will be distributed across different populations, especially those that have been historically marginalized or underrepresented, such as Black, Hispanic, or Native American communities. This grant supports the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in launching a study focusing on how to accelerate the transition to low carbon energy systems across the United States. Drawing on a committee of 20-30 independent researchers with broad expertise across multiple facets of the energy system, the study will explore how the U.S. can accelerate climate mitigation, facilitate energy system transitions, and promote adaptation strategies that take seriously how costs are distributed, with particular attention to marginalized and vulnerable populations. Grant funds will support information gathering in the form of outreach, interviews, and listening sessions with stakeholders from relevant communities; the production of two reports, one identifying equitable emissions-lowering policies by sector and another focused on similar cross-sector policies; and dissemination efforts for both reports designed to ensure these outputs reach key stakeholders in academia, government, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector.

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