New research partnerships tackle pressing environmental problems

Sept. 21, 2021

A new partnership program, sponsored by Princeton University’s Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE) and the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI), is pairing students and researchers together to tackle some of the planet’s most-pressing environmental problems — especially problems posed by rising global temperatures.

One project developed a model that analyzes how households in a South Asian agricultural community may react to climate change. The model revealed how, despite a significant increase of average temperatures in the region, some local risk transfer policies such as agricultural insurance plans may be able to improve household income and community stability.

Another project examined how the degradation of natural habitats resulting from climate change has impacted endangered animals. Species with very little habitat remaining, for example, risk a loss of genetic diversity, which makes them more vulnerable to disease and further habitat changes. The researchers gathered data for nearly 3,500 threatened species and created maps showing where the animals are most vulnerable.

Other projects include using satellite images to estimate the structural damages caused by natural disasters; researching air quality in Delhi, India, during the COVID-19 lockdown in spring 2020; and studying the relationship between abnormal weather patterns and fluctuations in business activity.

These projects are giving students real-world experience and expanding their knowledge of global environmental problems.