CUNY-led consortium selected as finalist in NYC climate competition


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Rachel Dalloo

Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and The Trust for Governors Island announced last December that a consortium led by researchers from CUNY and The New School was selected as one of four finalists in a competition to establish a center for climate change solutions on Governors Island.

The Climate Center Consortium, or C3, is a new collaboration between CUNY, The New School and several other “academic, research and community organizations” aimed at combining environmental justice with climate change mitigation efforts, a press release of the announcement stated.

“The City University of New York is excited to help lead the C3 consortium of universities and research institutions, in partnership with The New School, to pursue transformative environmental justice solutions to the existential threat of climate change and its life-altering implications for our planet,” CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez said.

The consortium seeks to connect organizations and individuals in New York City and around the world with opportunities in the education sector, such as degreegranting courses,” and full-time employment. The award would help the consortium expand its research of potential solutions for climate change.

“We are eager to fuse the expertise of the renowned institutions that comprise this inclusive collaboration, and to integrate, channel and scale our collective efforts as we pursue environmental solutions that will have a profound local and global impact,” Rodríguez continued.

In addition to providing a chance for individuals to showcase their leadership skills, part of the consortium’s goal is to create more climate-related jobs and, in turn, support New York City’s employment recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

C3’s mission also includes transforming New York City into a leading force in combating climate change and setting a prime example for other states in the United States and around the globe.

The other three finalists selected from the 12 original proposals submitted are led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University and Stony Brook University.

All finalists will now respond to a “competitive Request for Proposals process,” which is expected to premiere this spring, according to the press release. Both New York City and The Trust for Governors Island have pledged $150 million to the creation of a climate solutions hub on the island.

“Governors Island is a jewel of our harbor, and today we’re taking an important step toward transforming it into the nerve center for our city’s fight against climate change,” de Blasio said.

“These finalists have submitted thoughtful, bold proposals to lead that mission. We look forward to hearing more from them as we find the perfect partner to make New York City an international leader in solving the planet’s most existential challenge,” he added.

By prioritizing climate change mitigation and environmental justice, C3 hopes to develop land solutions that will build toward a more “climate-resilient” environment, according to THE CITY.

“Many of those communities are the most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, and climate justice requires that they have a commensurate role in shaping the responses to them. C3 is designed to ensure that they have that role, with Governors Island as the focal point — a living laboratory for students, researchers and community members,”  CUNY Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and University Provost Dr. Daniel E. Lemons said.