In the News
March 22, 2024

Rice University hosts Academy for Discussion on Climate Action

Rice University

Rice University, in collaboration with the Houston Program Committee of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, hosted a panel discussion on climate action featuring academy members and guests March 18 at the Ralph S. O'Connor Building for Engineering and Science.

Titled “Accelerating Climate Action Across America,” the event invited a conversation on how to “achieve ambitious and durable action on climate change” and served as an occasion to engage with the academy’s recent report, Forging Climate Solutions: How to Accelerate Action Across America.

The discussion was moderated by David Oxtoby, president of the academy, and featured Robert Bullard, founding director of the Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice and distinguished professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University; Patricia Collawn, chair and CEO of PNM Resources; and Christopher Field, the Perry L. McCarty Director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and Melvin and Joan Lane Professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies at Stanford University. Rice’s Executive Vice President for Research Ramamoorthy Ramesh was the official host of the event.

In his opening remarks, Rice President Reginald DesRoches noted the academy “is a historic and renowned society made up of some of the world’s most innovative thinkers and scholars [whose] commitment to multidisciplinary, nonpartisan research to solve global challenges resonates with what we do here at Rice.” In addition to plans of growing the university by 20 %, adding 200 faculty across all eight schools, and embarking on the most ambitious capital campaign in the university’s history, DesRoches mentioned the recent launch of five new institutes as well as five research centers to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and drive innovation.

“These new institutes will harness the expertise Rice has in these critical areas to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges in health and medicine, energy and climate, urban resilience, and much more,” DesRoches said. “I strongly believe that Houston … is well positioned to be the energy transition capital of the world, and Rice is partnering with companies and organizations in Houston and with institutions around the world to make that happen.”

Several panelists and guests at the event were members of the Commission on Accelerating Climate Action launched by the academy in 2021. A “bipartisan and multisectoral” group of 31 experts from diverse backgrounds ranging from industry and government to academia and the arts, the commission was tasked with identifying roadblocks to climate action and recommending strategies for overcoming them with the result of their efforts published in the Forging Climate Solutions report in October 2023.

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