News 2024: Kathryn Wassel receives $270,000 grant for climate pollution reduction planning

News 2024: Kathryn Wassel receives $270,000 grant for climate pollution reduction planning
Kathryn Wassel receives $270,000 grant for climate pollution reduction planning

Grant aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in RI and the MA SouthCoast

Assistant Teaching Professor of Public Policy Kathryn Wassel

Assistant Teaching Professor of Public Policy Kathryn Wassel (PI) was recently awarded a $270,000 grant to spearhead crucial climate pollution reduction planning efforts in the Providence-Warwick Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), including the SouthCoast of Massachusetts. Assistant Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Ryan Beemer is assisting the research as Co-PI.

Funded through the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) program, one of dozens of programs created through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the project aims to address the causes of climate pollution and mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions in the region, particularly in low-income and disadvantaged communities (LIDAC). Wassel's work will include the LIDAC benefits analysis, and a workforce analysis centered on green job opportunities for the region.

"The work we are doing under the CPRG program represents an unprecedented cross-border effort to recognize and address climate pollution in the region," says Wassel. "This planning process is unique, not only for its regional focus but also its focus on workforce and resilient development that will have lasting impacts across the MSA."

The project is unfolding in two main phases. The Preliminary Climate Action Plan (PCAP) phase, completed on March 1st, involved identifying priority greenhouse gas reduction sectors and actionable measures. Subsequently, the Comprehensive Climate Action Plan (CCAP) phase will build upon these initial findings to further analyze sectors and implement reduction actions.

In partnership with the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD), Wassel also recently submitted the first implementation grant application which, if funded this October, would bring $52 million to the region and $725,000 to the University for research.

"Professor Beemer and I are honored to be a part of this effort, representing UMass Dartmouth and using our expertise to assist municipalities, while building our research," says Wassel. "Interdisciplinary work of this kind is very important to both of us, and we hope to encourage more cross-college collaborations with this work."

Members of the public are encouraged to get involved by submitting comments on the PCAP to enviro@srpedd.org for consideration during the development of the CCAP, and to join the organization's public meetings and mailing list.

For more information about the Climate Pollution Reduction Grant and upcoming events, visit their site.