Parts of the United States hit hard by last year's sweltering conditions are preparing for more extreme heat this summer.

Ashley Ward, director of the Heat Policy Innovation Hub at the Nicholas Institute, told NBC News that government officials should treat onslaughts of high heat and humidity similar to hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters. “[Last summer] was our category 5 heat event,” she said. “The extreme nature of what we saw was enough to focus attention on this topic.”


Following a national search, Duke faculty member Brian Murray has been appointed to a five-year term as the director of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, effective immediately.

The U.S. military and many sports governing bodies use wet bulb globe temperature to assess heat risk more accurately than the heat index. The same standards used for soldiers and student-athletes should also be applied for workers on farms and other industries who labor outdoors during the hottest times of the year, write Duke University Heat Policy Innovation Hub experts Ashley Ward and Jordan Clark in an op-ed for STAT.

Debt distress, biodiversity loss and climate change are intertwined crises for developing countries. In a Policy Forum for Science, Duke University experts Elizabeth Losos, Alex Pfaff and Stuart Pimm propose four reforms to debt-for-nature swaps to help countries tackle these daunting challenges.

The Heat Action Plan Toolkit features a customizable heat action plan template for North Carolina counties, as well as outreach resources and recommended actions for healthcare staff and local leaders when extreme heat is in the forecast. Experts from the Duke University Heat Policy Innovation Hub collaborated on the toolkit with the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency, North Carolina State Climate Office and North Carolina Division of Public Health.

Forty-five Duke University scholars will pursue new research on sustainable, equitable solutions to address climate change and its effects, supported by grants from the Duke Climate Research Innovation Seed Program (CRISP).

Twelve teams have collectively been awarded nearly $700,000 to investigate topics such as equitable disaster recovery, community insurance, financing climate-smart agriculture, water quality challenges posed by sea level rise, forest-based carbon offsets and more.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has announced Lydia Olander, Nicholas Institute program director, as one of more than 150 experts who will write the first-ever National Nature Assessment. The assessment will take stock of nature’s inherent worth, as well as what it provides to culture, health and well-being, jobs and livelihoods, safety and more.

How often do we take for granted the ease of flipping on a light switch and being able to read, cook or do work with abundant light? Watch this webinar recording from Duke Alumni Lifelong Learning  to hear Duke experts, including Jonathan Phillips, Director of the James E. Rogers Energy Access Project, discuss the interconnected nature of climate and human development policies and goals—ultimately fostering a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive future for all. See the other videos in the playlist here.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today released four pollution rules that could largely remove coal from the U.S. power grid by the early 2030s, reports E&E News. “These are very significant and important rules for the general transition of [the power] sector,” said Tim Profeta, senior fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability.

At the latest Duke University Climate Collaboration Symposium, experts exchanged ideas about accelerating sustainable infrastructure development. Panelists at a March 21 event discussed the need for a new sustainability and resilience mindset to future-proof infrastructure from climate change's impacts and shifting societal expectations.