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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.

Team Profiles

Amy Myers Jaffe

Director of the ECJS Lab and Research Professor, NYU SPS

Amy Myers Jaffe serves as Director of the Energy, Climate Justice and Sustainability Lab at New York University's School of Professional Studies and is a research professor who teaches graduate-level courses examining global climate finance, energy and climate justice, and clean technology innovation and business. A leading expert on global energy policy, sustainability, and geopolitical risk, Jaffe is the author of several books, including her most recent book, “Energy’s Digital Future” published in 2021 by Columbia University Press. Ms. Jaffe is co-chair of the Women in Energy Initiative at Columbia University and a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Climate Policy Lab at Tufts University. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Jaffe served as senior advisor on sustainability to the Office of the Chief Investment Officer of the University of California, Regents, where she helped design the sustainable investing framework for the UC’s $140 billion in pension and endowment funds.

Amy Myers Jaffe

Carolyn Kissane

Founder and Associate Dean of the NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs

Dr. Carolyn Kissane serves as the Associate Dean of the graduate programs in Global Affairs and Global Security, Conflict and Cybercrime at the Center for Global Affairs and is a Clinical Professor where she teaches graduate-level courses examining the geopolitics of energy, comparative energy politics, energy, environment and resource security, and climate change and security.

She is the Founding Director of the SPS Energy, Climate Justice and Sustainability Lab, Coordinator of the Energy and Environment concentration at the Center, and a faculty adviser to the Energy Policy International Club. Dr. Kissane was awarded the esteemed NYU Excellence in Teaching Award in 2007, the SCPS Award for Teaching Excellence in 2009, and nominated for the NYU-wide Distinguished Teaching Award in 2008, 2009, 2016, and 2021. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a member of the National Committee on US-China Relations, a Non-resident fellow of the Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines, Senior Fellow for the George W. H. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, Distinguished Fellow at the University of Piraeus. She serves on the boards of the New York Energy Forum, New York Energy Week, and the Clean Start Advisory Board.

She was named Breaking Energy’s Top Ten New York Women in Energy and Top Ten Energy Communicator.

Dr. Kissane received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

 

Carolyn Kissane

Michelle D’Amico

Director, Continuing Education and Public Programs, NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs

Michelle D'Amico is the Director of Continuing Education and Public Programs at the Center for Global Affairs (CGA). She has been with CGA since 2006 and has overseen and helped to develop a wide range of programs, including career advancement and personal enrichment courses, weeklong summer high school programs, and professional certificate programs. These programs cover a variety of topics, including monitoring and evaluation, clean energy, digital fundraising, data analytics, global affairs, international development, and fundraising. She also has experience with developing and delivering executive education and custom corporate programs.

She is a skilled collaborator and project manager who works with faculty and partners to direct 20-30 public events each semester and support conference production.

As a part of her work, Michelle identifies and manages strategic partnerships with corporate and public sector organizations and academic institutions for CGA and the NYU SPS Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability Lab, which is housed within the CGA. She also supports fundraising efforts for the department, manages social media, and has helped to plan and administer 12 Global Field Intensive programs for MS in Global Affairs students.

Michelle holds an M.P.A. from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service, a B.S. in Marketing and Advertising from F.I.T., and a Professional Certificate in Fundraising from the NYU SPS Heyman Program. 

Michelle D’Amico

Saskia Salak

Assistant Research Scientist

Saskia joined the Energy, Climate Justice and Sustainability Lab as an Assistant Research Scientist in October 2023.

In 2021, Saskia transitioned from a fruitful full-time career as a Commercial Excellence lead in order to pursue a passion for environmentalism by enrolling in a master’s program at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs. She completed her degree in May 2023, which concentrates on Energy and Environmental Policy. During this time Saskia worked as a research assistant for the program’s Associate Dean and as a climate consultancy writer for the Council on Foreign Relations.

Prior to her work at the Center for Global Affairs, Saskia received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Marquette University. She spent the majority of her career in the private sector, predominantly in energy storage with Johnson Controls Power Solutions and Clarios. There, in roles ranging from Market Intelligence to Customer Experience, Saskia led dozens of cross-functional projects, securing buy-in from diverse stakeholder groups that ranged from operations to executive leadership.

Saskia Salak

Ruben Garcia

Graduate Assistant

Ruben is currently a second year master's student studying computer science at NYU's Tandon School of Engineering. His interest in sustainability stems from working in the tree care industry with his father when living in Chicago. To keep himself grounded to his environmental roots, he took classes on energy and climate with Professor Steven Koonin. These courses gave him context on the energy and climate systems of today. Now at the Energy, Climate Justice, and Sustainability lab he works to provide insights on how one should navigate and adapt to a changing climate.

Ruben Garcia

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.


Group of students outside iin discussion

CENTER FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS

Global Climate Justice Fellows Program

The ECJS Lab Global Climate Justice Fellows program is designed to give NYU graduate degree students hands-on experience in the world of climate action. The program aims to create a community of next-generation leaders focused on the intersection of environmental and social justice and climate change and sustainability. Each fellow will be offered a specially designed experiential learning opportunity working alongside climate and sustainability leaders from the private sector, environmental non-profits, multilateral agencies, climate activist organizations, and government sectors in the United States and internationally.

Through their Global Climate Justice Fellows’ experiences, students will be able to broaden their knowledge of sustainability practice, build leadership skills, and gain valuable work experience in the field of sustainability and climate action. During and following their experiential learning project, the Global Climate Justice Fellows will be able to exchange learnings and experiences with the broader NYU community in a read-out seminar organized to showcase learnings from experiential projects. The Global Climate Justice Fellows program is aimed to broaden SPS’s sustainability practice across a wider spectrum of students and professional networks.  

2024 PILOT PROGRAM

This summer, we are launching a pilot of the program with five exemplary NYU graduate students to participate in a summer fellowship organized by the ECJS Lab in New York City. The fellowship will be for a total of six weeks in duration. Applicants should be Graduate students in good academic standing.

An additional two Fellowships based on a student-initiated proposal of choice will be offered through a joint venture between ECJS Lab and the NYU Office of Sustainability Internship Grant program

Global Climate Justice Fellows Program

During the 6-week program, students will be expected to work a standard 35-hour work week and will receive a $6,000 stipend for the fellowship. Prior to the program, students will engage in an orientation, review assigned readings, and engage in related skills modules as preparation. Global Climate Justice Fellows will create a written report and two presentations - one for the host organization and the other to be presented at an NYU event with the general public.

Global Climate Justice Fellows - Internship Grant

The two additional Global Climate Justice Fellows to be funded through the Sustainability Internship Grant Program joint venture with ECJS LAb will receive a $3,500 stipend for the summer. Internships must be in the area of Climate Justice and applications will open in May/June. Grantees will be required to attend four mandatory professional development sessions that take place on Thursday or Friday afternoons during July and August. (Please see this website for more details about this opportunity)

To apply to be one of the two Global Climate Justice Fellows funded through the Sustainability Internship Grant Program, please specify on the Sustainability Internship Grant Program application that you are a SPS CGA student and that you would like your proposal to be considered for one of the two Global Climate Fellows related awards.

Program Highlights

  • A stipend to support a climate-sustainability-oriented summer research project, internship, or experiential learning activity
  • Program orientation for participating fellows to network and prepare for their experiential learning activity, internship, or research project.  
  • Post-activity read-out public event at the CGA to share learnings and experiences

Projects

Global Climate Justice Fellows projects will be initially scoped with the organization by the ECJS Lab team but additional scoping by the organization and students might be necessary. Together with the Global Climate Justice Fellow, each sponsor group will be required to create a project plan with milestones and timelines, communication norms, and a meeting schedule.

  • East New York Farms! Project
    The mission of the ENYF Food Hub, funded by the USDA, is to equip gardeners with the tools to increase productivity and business owners with the means to sell/distribute fresh produce throughout the community. The overall goal is to create a sustainable food system that will increase food security in East NY.

    Fellows will create program assessments, track and input data, and conduct community research. Fellows may work with ENYF staff to connect with community partners, support urban agriculture education efforts, and/or support farm and compost-related tasks. They will gain experience creating and actively working to maintain a sustainable food system. Experience with data collection, program evaluation, and public engagement/speaking will be useful for this project.

  • Solar One
    The mission of Solar One is to design and deliver innovative education, training, and technical assistance that fosters sustainability and resiliency in diverse urban environments. Solar One is the implementation contractor for the Clean Energy Communities (CEC) program, launched in 2016 through NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority). The program was created to incentivize municipalities across the State of New York to implement clean energy initiatives and projects that will advance the state’s goals of decarbonization with a particular focus on underserved communities.

    Fellows will become familiar with local laws and policies related to the energy transition and gain experience with canvassing and community outreach. In collaboration with the Community Campaigns Coordinator, the Fellow will create a set of protocols and management tools that can be used for future community campaigns. These should include, but are not limited to: webinar slide decks, pamphlets and one-pagers, graphics and copy for newsletters and social media, and project task lists and protocols. 

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Selection Process

During the 2024 pilot year, the Global Climate Justice Fellows program is open to all enrolled NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs students who qualify for summer engagements. 

      Applications must be received by 11:59 PM, March 3, 2024.  


Eligibility Requirements

  • Both part-time and full-time, domestic and international, graduate students are eligible (must be in good academic standing)
  • Completion of at least 1 Spring/Fall semester at NYU is required by the START of Spring 2024
  • Students attending NYU with F-1 or J-1 status are eligible to apply as long as they fulfill all other requirements for the grant and maintain their immigration status. Please contact OGS to learn more about authorization for unpaid internships and volunteer work.

Finalists will be required to interview with the Selection Committee in March 2024.


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Timeline

February 2024

  • Applications Open

March 2024

  • Applications Due by 11:59 PM on March 3, 2024
  • Interviews with Finalist Candidates
  • Global Climate Justice Fellows notified

April 2024

  • April 19th, 11:30 - 1:00 pm - Program Orientation and Overview; Review of Required Readings and Skills Modules

June 2024

  • June 3rd - Reception with Hosts Organizations
  • June 4th - Projects Begin
  • Alternating weekly check-ins with ECJS Lab

July 2024

  • Alternating weekly check-ins with ECJS Lab
  • July 12th - Projects End
  • By the end of the month - project delivery/presentation to hosts

September 2024

  • NYU Public Event with Project Presentations

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Application

The application for the 2024 program can be found here.

A selection committee comprising NYU Faculty and Administration will consider applications. No applications will be considered after the application deadline. 

The short answer portion is one of the most important portions of the review process, so make sure to be detailed and informed in your responses. Each answer should be no more than 500 words.

Application Components:

  • Complete Application Form
  • One Statement of Interest (500 words max) 
  • Unofficial Academic Transcript
  • Current Resume
  • Two professional references
  • Video Introduction (3-5 minutes)
  • Selection of one of the projects. Multiple applications will not be accepted.

If you have any questions about this form or need another accessible format, please email ECJSLab@nyu.edu and we would be happy to assist you. 

SUMMER 2024 SEMESTER
6 weeks

LOCATIONS
NYU New York City - Pilot
(new locations begining in 2025)

AUDIENCE
NYU SPS Center for Global Affairs Graduate Students
(NYU community beginning in 2025)

CONTACT
ECJSLab@nyu.edu

Blog

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

Working Papers

Explore current research being done by The ECJS Lab community. 

Research & Podcasts

Featured Publications, Lectures, and Podcasts

BIden must provide bold leadership on climate change. Michael Shank, adjunct faculty at the NYU SPS
CGA’s Associate Dean, Dr. Carolyn Kissane, published an article on the U.S.' Oil Production
Amy Myers Jaffe, research professor at New York University and Director of Energy, Climate Justice
Podcast
Amy Myers Jaffe, Director of the ECJS Lab, discusses the geopolitics of the growing global electrici

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View videos from previous events on our YouTube page.

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.

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