Tomorrow starts today

The collapse of the price of oil will have devastating consequences for MIT because of its decades-long devil’s bargain with oil companies. A self-proclaimed “daughter of coal country” as Vice President of Research in charge of all climate initiatives? A part-time Instructor running the Office of Sustainability as a class project? The many sham programs that MIT has been running while other universities built genuine environmental research centers and set genuine campus carbon goals will stand exposed as the bad faith charades they are.

The transition to clean energy will play out in real time at MIT. And just as it is for the world itself, it’s an open question whether MIT will survive. Broken promises (, condescending dismissal of student activism (, shameless self-congratulation for absurd goals (, climate denial ( and profiteering ( The collapse of the price of oil makes all that impossible. Tomorrow starts today for MIT (

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Jeffrey Sachs takes Harvard to task

I’m just catching up with Jeffrey Sachs’ recent op-ed in the Boston Globe on divestment. Sachs takes Harvard to task for stonewalling student demands for divestment from fossil fuel, but he is annoyingly silent on the more egregious example downriver at MIT. My own feeling is that the divestment movement has been a glorious success but it has gone as far as it is likely to go. It is time now to switch up strategies to a zero carbon campus movement. Sachs doesn’t give Harvard any credit for its appropriately ambitious plan to be carbon neutral by 2026 and carbon free by 2050, nor does he ridicule MIT for having no plan of any kind in place. If Sachs had focused his firepower on MIT’s climate shenanigans, he might have embarrassed it into joining every other major American university in announcing deadlines for achieving carbon neutrality and zero carbon goals. The low hanging fruit has already been picked. The hard work of getting to zero carbon now yawns before us, and all universities need to be onside for that fight. Yes, MIT, you too.

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