New journal explores urban climate change

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | December 11, 2012

Matthias Ruth, a pro­fessor with joint appoint­ments in the Col­lege of Engi­neering and the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­ties, is the co-editor in chief of a new aca­d­emic journal that takes an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary look at the rela­tion­ship between urban dynamics and cli­mate change.

“We have long thought about changing the global cli­mate problem through global accords—which have had lim­ited suc­cess, at best—and with this journal we want to look back at what cities can do to change cli­mate on their own,” said Ruth, who is editing the journal with Alexander Bak­lanov of the Danish Mete­o­ro­log­ical Insti­tute in Copen­hagen, Den­mark. “Within our own envi­ron­ment, there is so much we can do to impact cli­mate, which is increas­ingly becoming a focus for cli­mate researchers.” Read More

Environmental economics reframe pipeline debate

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | October 10, 2012

A 750-mile pipeline across Canada cuts through First Nation lands and pris­tine envi­ron­ments to bring oil-rich tar sands to a new ter­minal on the Pacific Ocean. The com­pany behind the project, the Cal­gary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc., argues that the pipeline will create thou­sands of jobs and an influx of cash from the Asian com­pa­nies that will buy and process the tar sands.

But the eco­nomic analysis pre­sented to the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment does not account for the pipeline’s envi­ron­mental impact, including the poten­tial for a spill, said Matthias Ruth, a North­eastern pro­fessor with dual appoint­ments in the Col­lege of Engi­neering and the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs.

Ruth is at the fore­front of the emerging field of envi­ron­mental eco­nomics, which focuses on devel­oping methods to account for unquan­tifi­able envi­ron­mental con­tri­bu­tions to the economy. Read More

An economics approach to sustainability

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By Matt Collette | Northeastern News | September 18, 2012

Matthias Ruth had long been inter­ested in envi­ron­mental issues but found it hard to use his own discipline—economics —as a tool to unite eco­nomic deci­sion making with indus­trial and urban con­straints. “Econ­o­mists are really good at devel­oping models of things that are traded in mar­kets, but a lot of things we value—like the environment—have no market and no price,” said Ruth, who is joining Northeastern’s fac­ulty this fall as a pro­fessor with joint appoint­ments in the Col­lege of Social Sci­ences and Human­i­tiesSchool of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Col­lege of Engi­neering.
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