The stories that are likely to make headlines in 2017

In the first install­ment of our two-​​part series looking at some of the big sto­ries and bright ideas primed to make head­lines in the new year, fac­ulty experts explain that polit­i­cally moti­vated cyber­at­tacks will con­tinue, inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to cli­mate change are on the horizon, and bipar­tisan sup­port for health­care leg­is­la­tion is possible.

3Qs: What sparked the Tennessee wildfires?

Wild­fires raged recently through the foothills of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Moun­tains, dam­aging more than 1,400 struc­tures and killing 14 people. Last week, two juve­niles were charged with aggra­vated arson in con­nec­tion with them. Northeastern’s Auroop Gan­guly, an expert on cli­mate extremes, notes that the “chain of causality” in such events is com­plex, with human activity sig­nif­i­cant but other fac­tors, including cli­mate change, also playing a role.

3Qs: Creating the world’s largest marine preserve and what it means for fishing, climate research

Last week, an agree­ment was reached by 24 nations and the Euro­pean Union to estab­lish the world’s largest marine pro­tected area, in the Ross Sea in Antarc­tica. The area, which […]

Global climate deal to phase out fast-​​growing pollutant. What happens next?

More than 170 coun­tries reached a land­mark cli­mate deal last weekend to limit the use of a chem­ical used in air con­di­tioners and refrig­er­a­tors that’s been called the world’s fastest-​​growing cli­mate pol­lu­tant. North­eastern pro­fessor Matthew Eck­elman weighs in on the deal’s sig­nif­i­cance and the envi­ron­mental trade offs that come with replacing one tech­nology with another.

Three ways the Northeastern community is addressing ocean plastics pollution

A big emphasis of World Oceans Day this year is bringing aware­ness to the problem of marine plastic pol­lu­tion. Mem­bers of the North­eastern com­mu­nity are already focused on this chal­lenge by building sus­tain­able skate­boards, visu­al­izing ocean plas­tics data, and building sen­sors to iden­tify microplas­tics in the sea.

As Canada wildfires rage, faculty experts examine the ramifications

Wild­fires con­tinue to rage for a third week in and around the city of Fort McMurray in Canada’s Alberta province, the country’s oil-​​sands cap­ital. Some 96,000 people have been evac­u­ated from the area and 2,400 build­ings have been destroyed. We spoke with three North­eastern experts who share insight into how the cat­a­strophe will affect cli­mate change, the likely impact on U.S. con­sumers, and how the Fort McMurray com­mu­nity can recover.

Environment central to grassroots political initiative led by students, professor

On Sunday night, Demo­c­ratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders debated in Flint, Michigan, the city facing a dev­as­tating lead-​​contamination water crisis. For sev­eral North­eastern stu­dents, as well as pro­fessor Daniel Faber, the debate hit home on a very per­sonal level, as the envi­ron­ment is cen­tral to a grass­roots polit­ical initiative—called Envi­ron­men­tal­ists for Bernie.

Northeastern senior wins award as national engineering Co-​​op Student of the Year

Kelly O’Connell, E’16, came to col­lege with inter­ests in envi­ron­mental issues and cli­mate change. Today she credits Northeastern’s co-​​op pro­gram, backed by rig­orous engi­neering courses, with guiding her toward her career goals.

A climate change agreement was reached. Now what?

The two-​​week U.N. Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change ended in Paris on Sat­urday with nearly 200 nations agreeing on a plan to combat cli­mate change. Here, North­eastern pro­fes­sors dis­cuss the good, the remaining chal­lenges, and the future of this his­toric accord.

Carnivorous conchs to blame for oyster decline

David Kimbro, a marine and envi­ron­mental sci­ence pro­fessor at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity, has solved the mys­tery of why reefs in Florida inlets were expe­ri­encing large num­bers of oyster loss. Drought and sub­se­quent high salt levels in water led to a pop­u­la­tion spike in one of the oys­ters’ main preda­tors: conchs.