A new three-year interactive, multi-disciplinary Climate Solutions Living Lab course and research project led by Clinical Professor and Director of Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, Wendy Jacobs, will focus on studying and designing practical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Harvard, in neighboring communities, elsewhere in United States, and abroad.

The course is designed to bring together students from across the University to work on inter-disciplinary teams applying their legal, business, public policy, public health, engineering, and design training. The approaches developed will be scalable for consideration and potential adoption by other similarly-situated institutions and enterprises that want to reduce their emissions and improve public health in and around their buildings

This highly interactive course will include lectures from faculty experts representing most of Harvard’s professional Schools, including the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard Business School, and Harvard Kennedy School. Ideas developed by the student teams in the course will be vetted with policy makers, community leaders, and business leaders during the semester. Some of the project ideas may subsequently be implemented by students in the Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic, which is also open to cross-registrants from across the University.

Lectures will provide legal, economic, scientific, technological, and policy background on topics including greenhouse gases and air pollution, atmospheric chemistry, health impacts and other co-benefits of greenhouse gas emission reduction, the laws pertaining to air pollution, electricity markets and their regulation, the siting, permitting and financing of projects, and, data collection techniques.

During the course, one task students will work on is to assess, analyze, and develop tools for choosing off-site emissions reduction projects as a means to achieving long-term climate neutrality commitments made by businesses and organizations.

The course was a key recommendation of a faculty advisory group convened to explore ways to meet Harvard’s 2006–2016 greenhouse gas reduction goal. Research findings will inform the University’s approach to coupling off-campus emissions reduction opportunities with on-campus efforts in order to meet its ambitious, long-term climate commitment.

This course launches in the Spring 2017 semester. 

Learn more