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Welcome Message from CIER's Founding Director

Welcome to the Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER) newsletter.  Periodically, we will send you information about ongoing and upcoming research carried out at the University of Maryland on critical environmental issues.  We will focus on those issues that illustrate the mission of CIER – Integration of insights across academic disciplines and integration of knowledge across the science-society divide.

Look for announcements of new publications, updates on existing projects, and highlights featuring our research partners.  Through this newsletter, we hope to strengthen connections, exchange information, and foster collaboration among people and institutions across the country.   Feel free to contact us with items for future Focus editions.

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Dr. Matthias Ruth

News and Events

The University of Maryland, University College (UMUC) has challenged CIER to conduct its first greenhouse gas emissions inventory and capture the unique aspects of the institution, known for distance learning and its conference facilities.   This is the latest inventory conducted by CIER for a University System of Maryland institution and will be used to develop UMUC’s Climate Action Plan for reducing emissions. At the Air and Waste Management Association’s Harmonizing Greenhouse Gas Assessment and Reporting Processes Conference, Sean Williamson and Ramy Serour presented new methodologies for calculating carbon dioxide emissions from campus commuting.

The Maryland Department of the Environment has enlisted CIER to help in the development of state policies for nutrient trading with carbon benefits in the Chesapeake Bay region, which will help to achieve Maryland’s Climate Mitigation Plan as well as improve water quality.

Researchers with CIER helped the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) to develop sustainability guidelines.  Watch for announcements of the official release of the first GSA Sustainable Development Guide.

CIER is working with the National Congress of American Indians to increase our understanding of potential economic, social, and cultural impacts of climate change on Native groups.




Northwest 2050 and Maryland 2050: Adapting to Climate Change.

The German Ministry of Education and Research recently launched the Northwest 2050 project, which is a five-year research initiative addressing climate change impacts in Northwest Germany. The study will analyze the projected direct and indirect impacts of climate change in order to produce strategic plans for vulnerable sectors such as the food, energy and port industries.  As a key partner in this project, CIER will develop models to help integrate solutions across the many interrelated systems for a climate adaptation road map. This international public-private partnership will also address governance and institutional concerns related to regional planning.

CIER will leverage this transatlantic collaboration to advance its Maryland 2050 activities along the following thrusts:

Development of Innovative Markets that Simultaneously Promote Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

Innovation of Resilient and Adaptive Infrastructures and Institutions

Development of Models and Indicators to Monitor Genuine Progress

Translation of Approaches and Insights to other Regions, Nations, and the International Community

Potential GHG Emissions Reductions in MD through Natural Gas Efficiency

Following CIER’s analysis of the Economic and Environmental Implications of Maryland Joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative  and the subsequent decision by Maryland’s Governor to do so, CIER is exploring possibilities to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from residential natural gas use.  The analysis examines potential emissions reductions and consumer energy savings, optimization of technology portfolios under alternative budget constraints, economic impacts on residents and the Maryland economy, and an exploration of environmental and health effects.  The CIER team, including experts from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, closely collaborates on this project with colleagues at The Johns Hopkins University, University of California, Merced, and Towson University.