The Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI) at Princeton University has concluded its sixth year, which was marked by steady progress on our original goals plus some positive new developments.

Our co-sponsors, bp and Ford, provided welcome news after an extensive review of the Initiative’s first 6 years of progress. The two companies renewed the CMI grant for 4 more years, and bp announced that it will also sponsor a “Vann Fellows” program, which will bring one senior executive to campus per year for five years.

More good news came as Co-Director Steve Pacala was appointed the Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI). Now head of CMI’s umbrella institute, Pacala is working with the Woodrow Wilson School and the School of Engineering & Applied Sciences to establish several campus-wide programs (“Grand Challenges”) that meld policy with science and technology. Co-Director Rob Socolow will head one of the first two of these programs, which will address energy, climate, and security. Both Co-Directors are also working with colleagues in Near Eastern Studies and Physics to build a new University-wide initiative on energy and the Middle East.

Having developed an arsenal of tools and identified promising pathways toward a low-carbon future, the research groups of CMI are at the forefront of their respective research communities and are interacting strongly with policymakers. The capture group has identified promising gasification energy options and is working to encourage early adoption of carbon capture and storage. The storage group has completed experimental work on brinecement interaction that is now informing the group’s modeling studies of the potential risks of carbon storage. The science group has made substantial progress in developing a Carbon Observing System and estimating carbon sources and sinks, while paleoclimate research shows an increasingly strong relationship between Southern Ocean conditions and glacialinterglacial changes. Finally, the integration group is reaching out to new groups in its outreach efforts while continuing to provide policy-relevant information on the detection of climate thresholds and links between air pollution and global warming.