On October 21, MIT released “A Plan for Action on Climate Change,” a five-year road map outlining steps the Institute will take—and announced that it will not divest from the fossil-fuel companies in its investment portfolio.
Citing “overwhelming” scientific evidence for climate change, the plan states that the problem “demands society’s urgent attention” and that “the world needs an aggressive but pragmatic transition plan to achieve a zero-carbon global energy system.” MIT will fund further research on the process of climate change as well as eight new centers for research on low-carbon energy technologies. It also pledged to use the campus as a “test bed” for carbon reduction ideas while working to lower campus emissions at least 32 percent by 2030, matching a U.S. government goal.
MIT hopes to attract industry partnerships producing at least $8 million in new annual funding for each of the eight research centers, totaling over $300 million over five years. The centers will focus on solar energy; energy storage; materials; carbon capture, use, and sequestration; nuclear energy; nuclear fusion; energy bioscience; and the electrical grid.
FossilFreeMIT, a student-led group founded in 2013, has collected over 3,400 signatures from MIT community members favoring divestment from about 200 companies in MIT’s portfolio. The report credits the group with helping to bring climate change “to the top of MIT’s institutional agenda” but states that the Institute will instead pursue a policy of “engagement” with industry to help make progress on climate change. To protest the decision not to divest, members of the group staged a sit-in outside the president’s office that was still under way as of mid December.
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Meta has built a massive new language AI—and it’s giving it away for free
Facebook’s parent company is inviting researchers to pore over and pick apart the flaws in its version of GPT-3
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.