Creating a Workforce to Achieve a Low-Carbon Economy

by |April 2, 2010

Thanks to a recent gift of $250,000 from a generous Columbia University alumnus, the Earth Institute will be establishing an innovative master’s level program in carbon management. The program will provide interested students with the interdisciplinary knowledge and skills needed to address the complex and competing challenges of achieving a low-carbon economy.

SmokestacksOne of the most difficult global challenges of the 21st century is to enable economic growth for the vast and growing populations in developing nations, while simultaneously reducing worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. In this century, the global economy will have to become carbon neutral, with most of the reductions occurring over the next fifty years.

Practitioners in the field must be cognizant that any decision has global linkages. For example, blindly mandating the use of biofuels can destroy the livelihood of an indigenous culture or destabilize a nation as food security is imperiled, but careful policies can help impoverished nations enter the world economy on equal footing.

StudentsLed by a prestigious team of scholars and experts in the field of carbon management, and based in the Columbia Climate Center, the master’s level carbon management program will be geared toward economists, lawyers, financial experts, as well as environment researchers. Students will gain a deep appreciation of the subtleties of sustainable development.

The program will contribute to creating an interdisciplinary workforce with training in physical, natural and social sciences, as well as engineering, economics, business and law that:

  • understands the science and technology underlying energy and carbon capture and storage
  • is versed in the role of terrestrial ecosystems in sequestering carbon and in methods to monitor and verify biological capture
  • can shape a regulatory framework to enable revolutionary change while incorporating the latest scientific and engineering information
  • can help mobilize and manage private and public capital and that can develop the growing carbon markets, and
  • uses the knowledge gleaned from psychological and economic research on the behavioral barriers to change.

We are excited about this great addition to our growing collection of academic programs, which includes the MPA in Development Practice, MA in Climate and Society and MS in Sustainability Management. You can learn more about Earth Institute affiliated degree programs by visiting our education page.

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