Ecosystem Services Program News

University Offers Support for Third-Party Energy Sales with Open Letter to State Representative

A Duke letter, supporting the legalization of third-party energy sales in North Carolina, states that the university has made a commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2024 through “internal operational changes, community-wide initiatives, investments in innovative offsets with public and private partners and working with our electricity supplier to encourage reductions in emissions over time.” Nicholas Institute Director Tim Profeta told The Chronicle that Duke's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions result from transportation and power usage on campus. To work toward a net zero carbon footprint, he said, the university created the Duke Carbon Offsets Initiative to invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions elesewhere.

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U.N. Climate Deal: Are we Done?

In the largest ever single-day turn-out for a signing ceremony, more than 170 governments on April 22 signed the Paris Agreement, which has a goal of limiting average surface temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Voice of America asked experts if the agreement solves climate change globally. Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, says the real test is “whether the countries will actually take action."In the largest ever single-day turn-out for a signing ceremony, more than 170 governments on April 22 signed the Paris Agreement, which has a goal of limiting average surface temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. Voice of America asked experts if the agreement solves climate change globally. Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, says the real test is “whether the countries will actually take action."

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A “Nest” for Your Lawn

The Duke Smart Home's new "Smart Lawn" experiment ventures to design a system that, on a small scale, will determine what Duke’s live-in student laboratory needs for its lawn. The Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander is among the collaborators working to ensure it will inform the optimal management of the Smart Home’s water cistern, irrigation systems, types of crops and lawns, and fertilization schedule. The goal is to optimize the retention of nutrients and the use of water and other materials and maximize the related ecosystem services. 

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Carbon Sinks: The Next Big Thing (Part 4)

In The Huffington Post, William Becker writes that is not hard to imagine a nationwide campaign to replant forests, restore wetlands, bring more nature back to cities, and promote carbon-capturing tillage and grazing practices partnering a wide variety of organizations. The next administration and Congress, for their part, could help with several relatively minor modifications to federal policies and programs. Forest Trends and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University have just issued a report that identifies several of these policy adjustments.

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Carbon Sinks: The Next Big Thing (Part 2)

The Huffington Post reported that the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions is one of several organizations exploring maximization of the carbon-storing performance of soils, forests, grasslands, and wetlands and attempting to identify the full potential of carbon sinks. The tasks are complicated by multiple relevant variables, including weather changes, tillage practices, grazing-land management, public land management, and urban use of trees and green spaces.

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$2B in Private Investment, New Interior Center Chief Announced ($)

The Interior Department named the first leader of its new Natural Resource Investment Center (NRIC), an organization created to promote habitat conservation, water conservation and water infrastructure. Also working at the center is Interior's Senior Conservation Finance Fellow Martin Doyle, who is on leave from his position as director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University.

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Duke Kunshan to Offer New Professional Degree in Environmental Policy

Duke Kunshan University will offer a new international master’s degree in environmental policy (IMEP) beginning in the fall of 2017. The four-semester, 16-course program is designed to meet the growing global need for leaders who are versed in both Chinese and international environmental issues and policies. Billy Pizer of the Sanford School and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutionsis among the faculty members that spearheaded the program’s creation.

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News Tip: Expert Available on Private Investment in Natural Resources

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015

Presidential memo released today encourages private investment in conservation of  America’s natural resources.

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George Kelly to Speak at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Resource Environmental Solutions, LLC (RES) is pleased to announce that George Kelly, Chief Markets Officer, will be speaking at Duke University’s day-long forum Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Envisioning Solutions to Environmental Challenges on October 22 on Duke’s West Campus in Durham, NC.

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U.S. Federal Government Sends Agencies to Bat — For Nature and People

A memorandum released last week by the White House Office of Management and Budget, Council on Environmental Quality, and Office of Science and Technology Policy recognizes the power all U.S. federal agencies hold to affect human lives by changing nature, and asks them to act like it. The Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander and the Nature Conservancy's Heather Tallis write about how agencies will consider the value of ecosystem services in decision making on the Cool Green Science blog. 

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