To meet the growing demand for research related to climate resilience and “green” initiatives, and thanks to increased philanthropic and other external funding, Public Exchange (PX) recently launched a climate and sustainability practice supported by two new staff members, including a veteran of climate and sustainability projects both in the Biden administration and with the United Nations.
A first-of-its-kind program based at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, PX helps government, industry and nonprofit partners address some of the world’s most intractable issues by connecting them with the right USC scholars and by managing research projects from start to finish.
Why it matters: The clean technology and sustainability market size is booming; it’s expected to more than triple over the next seven years.
- Growing numbers of policymakers and organizations associated with that growth could benefit tremendously from the expertise that only a leading research university like USC can offer.
Practice leader: Monica Dean, the director of PX’s new climate and sustainability practice, was most recently an expert senior advisor to John Kerry, the special presidential envoy for climate.
- Before joining the Biden administration, Dean was a senior manager for climate, energy and environment at the United Nations Foundation, where she led climate communications efforts with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- She also helped launch the U.S. Climate Alliance, a coalition of 23 governors committed to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Track record: PX has been managing climate and sustainability-related research projects since its earliest days. Some of the most impactful projects include:
- Urban Trees: Since August 2020, USC scientists have been working with the City of Los Angeles to meet its ambitious goal of planting 90,000 new trees in areas of greatest need.
Using advanced mapping technology, air quality measurements and landscape architecture expertise, the USC research team convened by PX has been learning what kind of trees to plant, where to plant them and how many to plant.
What they’re saying: “This partnership with USC allows us to leverage world-class, multidisciplinary scientific expertise to guide our urban forestry planning,” said Rachel Malarich, Los Angeles City Forest Officer.
- Climate Change Communication: To learn how well the public understands terms commonly used by climate scientists, the United Nations Foundation turned to PX.
The work of the behavioral scientists convened by PX led to published research that is changing how scientists write and talk about climate change.
What’s next? To support growing demand for its services, PX plans to launch a health and well-being practice by the end of the year.