Local Climate Change Planning Initiative: Launched Fall 2021
The Schar School of Policy and Government, Center for Energy Science and Policy, is proud to announce the Local Climate Change Planning Initiative. The purpose of this initiative is to develop climate change action plans for local Virginia governments throughout the entire state, with particular emphasis on environmental justice communities. The initiative will result in empowering local governments with the capability to reduce climate change impacts, increase energy efficiencies, and create more resilient communities.
This initiative aligns with Virginia government commitments on climate action and clean energy, such as found in the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act, the Clean Energy and Community Flood Preparedness Act (directing the Commonwealth to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative), executive orders on environmental justice and community outreach, and the Transportation and Climate Initiative. This initiative also supports transitioning Virginia’s local workforce into clean energy and energy efficiency jobs.
The Local Climate Change Planning Initiative has three phases. First, the initiative plans to work with local governments and communities to collect greenhouse gas emissions data to better understand each communities’ baseline emissions. Then, the initiative plans to work with local government leaders and community members to develop action plans specifically designed for each community. Finally, the initiative plans to assist communities with project implementation.
“One of the key ingredients in this initiative is the advantage of embedding students within communities in all three phases,” said Professor Paul Bubbosh, co-director of the initiative. “The Mason students work closely with community and government leaders, and this serves as a learning experience in local government policy development, greenhouse gas modeling, and climate change project development and implementation,” said Professor Bubbosh.
The Schar School is a nationally recognized academic leader in public administration academic programs and excels at preparing its students to be leaders and managers who solve real-world problems and advance the public good in all sectors and levels of government. “This project will be managed by professors with local government experience to ensure students gain the applicable skills and the practical knowledge to work with local government agencies and the public, develop public policies and programs, create innovative consulting solutions, and provide expert policy analysis,” said Professor Joel Hicks, co-director of the initiative.
The Center for Energy Science and Policy will partner with the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI USA, Local Governments for Sustainability), to implement this project. ICLEIA USA is an organization with over 30 years of experience working with over 600 U.S. local governments in developing baseline greenhouse gas inventories and local climate action plans. ICLEI USA standards and software tools are the most widely used for local climate action plans. It has successfully partnered with other U.S. universities to develop GHG inventories and climate action plans throughout the country.
CESP fellow, Dr. Joel Hicks, and CESP affiliate, Dr. Jessica Terman, received a “Small Grant in Behavioral Economics” from the Russell Sage Foundation to conduct a field experiment examining how loss aversion can be applied to reduce energy consumption. Working with CESP and Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, the study will ran through the 2018-2019 academic year. Here is the final report with findings.
Datasets and scripts are available upon request by contacting CESP at this website.
CESP Co-Director Paul Hauser leads GMU team in receiving “Green Roof on Parking Deck: Designed for Sustainability” 2016 project award from Dominion’s Higher Education Partnership grant program
CESP is proud to be a recipient of a 2016 Multidisciplinary Grant from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President. We are confident that our proposal “Informing Commonwealth of Virginia Energy Policy through Electric Utility Modeling and Optimization“ will help improve the energy security of Virginia. We are partnering with several municipal and cooperative utility providers to develop both supply and demand side management tools to help deliver affordable and reliable energy services to Virginian households and businesses, while striving to help Virginia meet their energy efficiency and conservation goals. We value our relationship with APPA, VAEEC and NRECA as we move forward in finding tailored solutions for the Commonwealth’s many service areas.
Co-PI’s include Dr. Alexander Brodsky (VSE) and Dr. Jessica Terman (Schar School)
Ph.D. Students: Roberto Levy (VSE) and Joel Hicks (Schar School)
GMU’s College of Science (COS) is providing a seed grant for a CESP project that addresses energy and water access conflicts by analyzing the parameters and potential applications of hydropower micro-turbine technologies in communities facing severe energy and water challenges. Dr. Jennifer Sklarew, CESP’s Senior Fellow for Energy Policy and Adjunct Professor in COS/ESP, is lead PI, and co-PIs include CESP Co-Director Dr. Paul Houser (COS/Geography and GeoInformation Science), as well as CESP affiliates Dr. Dann Sklarew (COS/ESP), Dr. Colin Reagle (VSE), and Dr. Viviana Maggioni (VSE).
The project examines the potential of urban hydroelectric micro-turbines to generate power while mitigating stormwater runoff. The COS grant will seed collaboration on two complementary assessments of micro-turbine deployment challenges. First, using existing pilot project data, a paper study will evaluate the geographical, ecological, technical and institutional challenges facing micro-turbine installation, operation, and maintenance, as well as applications for stormwater management and electricity generation. Second, deployment of water quantity and speed sensors on Mason’s Fairfax campus will generate predictive calculations of the water flow needed to generate electricity for small-scale applications such as cell phone charging kiosks. The paper study and sensors will evaluate building gutter systems, stormwater infrastructure drainage systems, and outflows from retention ponds to determine optimal locations for micro-turbine installation. This COS-funded analytical and technical groundwork on barriers, technology and location selection will inform the next phase, a pilot project deploying a micro-turbine on Mason’s Fairfax campus. Analysis of its challenges and successes will launch a much larger international initiative to deploy the technology in Ghana or India, followed by other developing nations.