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The NYU SPS Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab

Driving Positive Change for Future Generations

About Us

Thought Leadership for the Future of the Planet

The NYU SPS Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab is an education and research platform that serves the business, philanthropic, and public sector communities in the pursuit of evidence-driven sustainability solutions at the local, national, and global scale. The NYU SPS ECJS Lab, housed within the NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs, aims to be a driver of positive change, advancing social justice in the areas of energy and food security, community resilience and wellbeing, urban sustainability, climate finance, and low carbon economic development. Our work is grounded by the belief that addressing climate change in a just and informed manner will improve the quality of life for all people.

Education

Through our educational programs, we prepare a community of students and professional learners to confront challenges and create opportunities for a cleaner, more sustainable, and equitable future.

MS in Global Affairs - Environment and Energy Concentration

The Environment/Energy Policy concentration analyzes the implications of the changing global energy and environmental landscape, as well as the new and emerging opportunities and challenges energy and climate change present for national and global sustainability and security. As the world's demand for energy continues to grow, the quest to find sustainable sources and solutions is critical.  The modern energy sector is experiencing rapid change with new oil and gas developments reshaping traditional energy geopolitics; a strong and growing renewable energy sector impacting local, national, and international energy policies and future forecasts; and innovative technological advances that are transforming all areas of the energy supply chain. The concentration is structured to prepare students to help solve complex problems, and offers students the opportunity to understand the roles of public and private sectors and how to formulate and implement impactful policy changes.  This concentration equips students to compete and thrive in this challenging and exciting sector, taking advantage of the opportunities occurring across the energy and environmental landscape. Courses reflect the increasing importance of energy and the environment in the formulation of national and foreign policy among countries the world over, as well as the impact of climate change on our environment. 

Professional Certificate in Clean Energy

The Certificate in Clean Energy program prepares professionals to transition to or grow within this critical field by providing them with a foundation in clean energy finance, policy, analytics, and emerging technologies. Students gain an understanding of clean energy solutions in a variety of areas, such as transportation, energy-efficient buildings, renewable residential and commercial installations, and smart grids. Students engage with clean energy data and hone the basic skills required to interpret and analyze this information for data-driven decision-making. Courses provide a foundation in energy modeling and financing in addition to an exploration of the energy ecosystem and a variety of ways in which startups are contributing to the transition to renewables. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of the strategies and related competencies for a successful career working in a wide variety of clean energy jobs. The program curriculum combines a traditional academic approach with experiential learning to train professionals for a smooth transition into a clean energy career.

Courses within the program can also be taken on an individual basis with departmental approval. Email ECJSLab@nyu.edu for more information.

LNG and Natural Gas: Energy Security and Net-Zero Carbon

Offered in partnership with Poten & Partners

Today’s LNG and natural gas landscape face a host of new challenges, risks and opportunities. Get up to speed on the entire industry value chain and gain the commercial skills to navigate these uncertain times. NYU and Poten Advisors have hand-crafted this essential training course to give participants a sound foundation of knowledge while also providing the tool kit necessary to understand the unique current market realities.

Our training course provides a strong foundation to help you understand this dynamic industry. Participants will learn the essentials as we walk through the value chain in detail, discover how global supply and demand interact and are likely to evolve, discuss different contract structures and economics of LNG. We will take a look into the future with an eye towards new initiatives and their global reach, and explore risks and opportunities on the horizon.

Workshops are offered throughout the year. Email ECJSLab@nyu.edu for more information.

Research & Programs

The SPS Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab research program sponsors policy relevant, evidence-based research and special events on climate change and its local and global impact on energy security, food insecurity, environmental justice and community resilience and wellbeing, with an emphasis on a just energy transition, urban sustainability, and sustainable, low carbon economic development.

ECJS Lab aims to build research collaborations across the NYU academic community and with other external partners and academic institutions through major thematic research initiatives and grant writing, a global visiting scholars program, and practitioner collaborations, forums, and programming.


Climate Justice

Climate change is among the most pressing global challenges of our time. Addressing the climate finance gap to fund the low carbon energy transition and climate change adaptation and resilience in a manner that promotes inclusive economic development must be a major focus of global negotiations on climate change. The ongoing energy transition to lower carbon sources poses unique opportunities and challenges to creating a more just and equitable global energy system and global economic architecture.

Many of the world’s most climate-vulnerable nations and regions are already experiencing extreme weather such as heat waves, droughts, and flooding without yet reaching the more prosperous level of economic development seen in wealthier nations who have already benefited from burning fossil fuels and have been responsible for the vast majority of the cumulative buildup of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere linked to global climate change. The United Nations estimates that developing countries will require five to ten times more international adaptation finance than industrialized countries are currently providing.

In order to meet the scale and urgency of the challenge, global negotiations must address how best to distribute billions of dollars of climate finance in a fair and just manner, as is a priority concern for many developing world leaders. It requires the full-scale development of robust institutional structures that can translate billions of dollars in public and private finance into effective, targeted adaptation spending aimed to reduce vulnerability and enhance sustainability. While a massive scale up of international public and private finance is needed, this mobilization must consider the priorities which developing nations have identified for their citizens and ecosphere including resilient energy and transport infrastructure, climate smart agriculture, and coastal protection.

ECJS initiative on climate justice focuses on cross-disciplinary research, bringing rigorous systematic investigation and a voice to broad perspectives on the social, cultural, and geopolitical context for the impacts of climate change and the energy transition. In the United States as in many other regions and countries, there is a pressing need to reverse the toll of historical environmental injustices to underserved communities and to rebuild basic infrastructure and services using a more just model of economic empowerment. New frameworks and evaluative tools are needed to ensure that climate solutions can alleviate conditions of poverty and strife likely to become more severe due to climate change. ECJS Lab will bring together global scholars and activists to develop a published volume of visioning, thought leadership, and analysis on the topic of global climate justice, the just energy transition, and energy security justice.


The Energy Mid-Transition

The world is in the midst of a major energy transition as countries respond to the present danger of climate change through a major effort to decarbonize the existing energy system. During this interim period where the new net zero, low carbon energy system has begun to be built but the historical fossil fuel-based energy system has yet to be retired, a lack of integration and planning between the two systems is imposing costs on consumers and businesses and, in some instances, leading to energy price volatility. During this so-called “mid-transition,” neither cleantech infrastructure nor existing oil and gas installations can fully meet global energy needs on their own. What’s needed is a means to optimize the overall energy system as it exists today in order to facilitate a smoother transition that promotes immediate energy security and affordability while ensuring both short-run and longer-term reliability.

Governments are currently facing the challenge to ensure that legacy infrastructure shutdowns do not produce energy shortages if replacement low-carbon facilities cannot keep pace with demand for cleaner forms of energy. Without active policies that effectively design how a blended system of new and existing energy infrastructure will meet current needs, energy security gains experienced in recent years will dissipate, leaving consumers and businesses with rising costs and hard-to-navigate market uncertainty.

ECJS Lab research on the energy mid-transition will include a major visioning of the fully decarbonized world together with policy assessment of the middle state where new policies must be developed to promote an orderly transition. ECJS brings to its work a unique perspective on the opportunities and burdens of existing energy infrastructure and what facilities can be leveraged or converted to provide lower carbon forms of energy and what policies may be required to ensure firms retire facilities in a manner that does not impose monopolies or fuel shortages. ECJS will also work together with external partners to envision how the digital world will provide new solutions for energy demand management, energy efficiency and conservation, and low-carbon energy solutions.


Climate Resilience and Sustainability

As we adapt to a changed climate, local and national governments have continuously been caught off-guard by unprecedented extremes. What’s needed is a more systematic framework for unpacking scientific information about climate change, environmental degradation, urban climate risk and community awareness and preparation. Emergency preparedness systems must no longer rely on historical events for contingency planning, but rather must tap the most cutting-edge scientific evaluation about tail risks and what extreme events are possible in today’s changing climate. ECSJ, working with other academic partners, aims to work with local officials to build operational capacity to address the heightened impacts and quickened pace of disasters.

The program aims to provide local actors with policy-making analysis and tools to evaluate their policy requirements and opportunities. One barrier to mounting an effective response to climate change is the tendency to work from historical data that does not capture the real unprecedented risks that will be faced in the future. By building narratives around our science-based climate event analysis we will help local leaders and community stakeholders gain a better understanding of severe climate risks they could face and the steps that should be taken to prepare for them. ECJS will collaborate with other academic institutions, cities, civic groups, and other emergency preparedness institutions like the American Red Cross to build scenario construction, structured workshops to develop future responses that are targeted to the possibility of unprecedented climate events.


The Future of Natural Gas

The global energy market is facing an unprecedented global natural gas supply shock that is calling into question the future of natural gas as a secure, plentiful energy source. Russia’s geopolitically motivated cutbacks of natural gas exports to Europe in the autumn of 2022, followed by its prolonged military conflict with Ukraine, have roiled global energy markets, driving up liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices globally and bringing energy security back to the forefront for major energy importing countries. At the same time, battery storage, connected to renewable energy, has emerged as a potential competitor to natural gas thermal peaking capacity, while major natural gas firms in the United States, Europe, and North Africa are greenlighting projects to pivot businesses to newly developed hydrogen networks.

ECJS initiative on the future of natural gas will explore how natural gas will fare in the energy transition and evolving geopolitics of energy through research, practitioner forums, and policy briefs, including new publications on the geopolitics of energy transition and energy security justice.


Research & Podcasts

Featured Publications, Lectures, and Podcasts

Blog

Explore analysis and research from the Lab community on our Medium Page.

Events & Sign Up

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Donate & Contact Us

The NYU SPS ECJS Lab, housed within the NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs, aims to be a driver of positive change, advancing social justice in the areas of energy and food security, community resilience and wellbeing, urban sustainability, climate finance, and low carbon economic development. Our work is grounded in the belief that addressing climate change in a just and informed manner will improve the quality of life for all people. Help to support our research and outreach.

Help to support our research, education, and special events.

Upcoming Events
July 31, 2023
Private Event