News - Sustainable Infrastructure

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.

World leaders—along with government officials, nongovernmental organizations, researchers and activists—gathered in Dubai for the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference to discuss ways to advance climate action. Experts from the Nicholas Institute attended the conference, released publications or announced initiatives tied to it and/or followed the proceedings closely.

The Infrastructure Sustainability Learning (ISLe) Initiative aims to accelerate the development of climate-smart infrastructure through virtual knowledge exchange and problem-solving among infrastructure practitioners and experts.

Toddi Steelman, Duke’s vice president and vice provost for climate and sustainability, will travel to Singapore and China from Nov. 6–18 to meet with Duke partners to discuss climate and sustainability efforts. Duke representatives joining Steelman for the Duke International Forum on Nov. 17 include Nicholas Institute experts Brian Murray, Jackson Ewing, Jonathan Phillips and Elizabeth Losos.

The G7's Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment aims to build quality, sustainable infrastructure in developing countries in competition with China's Belt and Road Initiative. Elizabeth Losos, executive in residence at the Nicholas Institute, talked with Voice of America about tools that the United States can utilize to mobilize private sector investment to meet its $200 billion pledge for the program.

The new Office of Climate and Sustainability brings together several of Duke University's climate, energy, and environmental assets—including the Nicholas Institute—to help advance the mission of the Duke Climate Commitment.

The world is embarking on an unprecedented energy transition to curtail global temperature rise and its impacts, but infrastructure based on renewable sources of energy is not without its own environmental and social challenges. In a blog post for Economist Impact, Elizabeth Losos (Nicholas Institute) and Motoko Aizawa (DC Commission on Human Rights) explore why we need a new mindset to help countries build infrastructure for good.

Infrastructure investments in Canada and the United Kingdom are most likely to deliver positive societal, economic, or environmental benefits, according to new research by Economist Impact. The Infrastructure for Good barometer, developed by Economist Impact and supported by Deloitte and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability benchmarks the capacity of 30 countries to sustainably deliver efficient and quality infrastructure that addresses critical economic, social and environmental needs. 

Competition between the United States and China to build global infrastructure has surpassed direct diplomacy as the most critical element of the countries’ relationship for addressing climate change, wrote Jackson Ewing in a blog post for The Azure Forum.

Successfully tackling climate change and its impacts will require rethinking the roles of public agencies and the private sector, argues Nicholas Institute expert Ashley Ward in a commentary at The Hill.