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Special Feature

June 08, 2017

Understanding climate change

Northwestern's commitment to climate research and education

The Earth is getting warmer, ocean levels are rising and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent.

In acknowledgment of and response to our changing global climate, Northwestern brings together scientific research, entrepreneurial leadership and the living labs that are our campuses to advance marketable energy and sustainability solutions.

Read below about Northwestern ventures in the areas of solar power, climate, sustainable materials and water, as well as our efforts to be responsible global citizens through campus programs ranging from LEED-certified construction to resource conservation to sustainable transportation.

Dig even deeper at Northwestern’s Institute for Sustainability and Energy.

Solar power

Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on Earth, and the only renewable resource with the capacity to meet our growing needs. In fact, one of every 50 new jobs added in the United States in 2016 was created by the solar industry, where employment now surpasses the oil and gas extraction industries.

Teaching perovskites to swim

Teaching perovskites to swim

Perovskites have promise as a silicon alternative, and an Argonne-Northwestern partnership is improving the material by making it waterproof.

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Solar fuels expert addresses United Nations

Solar fuels expert addresses United Nations

Dick Co joined other scientists, entrepreneurs and executives to address the global challenges identified by the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals.

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Partners break the lab-to-market bottleneck

Partners break the lab-to-market bottleneck

The multiyear program will focus on innovations that accelerate bringing new technologies from lab to market.

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Climate and carbon science

Global energy demand is expected to increase 48 percent by 2040, making it imperative to develop cleaner, more efficient technologies for carbon-based fuels while working to replace them with renewable energy sources. The year 2016 broke the record for the warmest average global temperature that was set in 2015, which broke the record that was set in 2014.

Ubben Program for Climate and Carbon Science launched

Ubben Program for Climate and Carbon Science launched

A major gift establishes a program to improve our understanding of the global climate system and to evaluate low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels.

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Colorado rock reveals 'chaotic solar system'

Colorado rock reveals 'chaotic solar system'

Scientists have found a link between how planets in our solar system behave in their orbits and climate change over geologic time scales.

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How is weather tied to climate change?

How is weather tied to climate change?

Scientists from Northwestern and Stanford are combining statistical analyses of climate observations with computer models to study the influence of climate change on extreme weather.

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Sustainable materials

Meeting the consumer demand from the growing global middle class will require substantial improvements in the sustainability of products. For example, of the 246 million scrap tires disposed of in the United States in 2015, only about 30 percent were downcycled. More than 50 percent were burned for fuel, and 10 percent were landfilled.

Making the most of rubber

Making the most of rubber

Northwestern materials scientists have developed a simple strategy to modify the way polymers in rubber are linked, making it an easier target for recycling.

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What do electric cars and avocados have in common?

What do electric cars and avocados have in common?

Northwestern entrepreneurs are bringing sustainability and energy solutions to market, disrupting industries from electric cars to produce.

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New approach to a better battery

New approach to a better battery

A new computational design can pinpoint optimal materials in lithium-ion batteries, protecting them from degradation and extending the lifespan.

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Water

The World Economic Forum has identified water as the most critical global challenge for the next 10 years, with water crisis posing the single largest global risk for social instability. By 2025, 1.8 billion people are expected to face water scarcity.

Targeting a growing threat to clean drinking water

Targeting a growing threat to clean drinking water

In a development that could transform water purification worldwide, a Northwestern team has created an absorbent polymer to extract the toxin perfluorooctanoic acid from water.

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Big data can protect coral reefs

Big data can protect coral reefs

Northwestern researchers are the first to provide a quantitative “global index” detailing which of the world’s coral species are most susceptible to coral bleaching and most likely to die.

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Changing the way we protect precious natural lands

Changing the way we protect precious natural lands

At Indian Boundary Prairies, technology is changing the way the Nature Conservancy and partners like Northwestern protect our nature areas.

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Campus sustainability

Northwestern is an engaged community dedicated to advancing sustainability initiatives and behaviors for the University.

Profiles in social impact

Profiles in social impact

The Resnick Family Social Impact Program supports student projects that address significant local and global challenges in sustainability and energy.

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The ultimate green house

The ultimate green house

At 1,000 square feet, the student-designed House by Northwestern is part of the energy department's Solar Decathlon and a showcase of sustainable living.

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Success in reversing energy loss

Success in reversing energy loss

Northwestern is creating a smaller environmental footprint and lowering energy costs by maximizing the performance of its underground steam trap system.

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