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CLIMATE ACADEMY: Advancing New Jersey’s Climate Goals with Transportation Infrastructure Investments

The transportation sector is responsible for roughly a third of the U.S.’s carbon dioxide pollution, with about 80 percent coming from cars and trucks on the nation’s roadways. With its authorization of $1 trillion over five years, the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) represents a historic investment in the country’s transportation systems and infrastructure. Those investments have the potential to contribute significantly to the nation’s efforts to achieve major reductions in the emissions and pollution that contribute to climate change.

Join us for this virtual Climate Academy to learn how different scenarios of federal transportation investments may contribute to New Jersey’s efforts to achieve its statewide 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emissions limits.

Meet Our Speakers

James Bradbury is the Mitigation Program Director for the Georgetown Climate Center. He oversees the Climate Center’s work on reducing emissions from all sectors. This includes the Climate Center’s work on the power sector, supporting state leadership and also coordinated engagement with the federal government through facilitation, convening, and analysis. James also manages the Transportation and Climate Initiative, a collaboration among 12 northeast and mid-Atlantic states and the District of Columbia to reduce emissions from the transportation sector. James has over 12 years of experience working with a broad range of stakeholders to help advance climate and clean energy policies at the federal and state levels. Prior to joining the Climate Center, he served as a Senior Policy Advisor for Climate, Environment and Efficiency in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis. Previously, James worked as a Senior Associate in the Climate and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute and as a Senior Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives. James holds a PhD in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, a MS in Hydrology from the University of New Hampshire, and a BA in Geology from Colorado College.

Jon Carnegie, AICP/PP, is Executive Director of the Alan M. Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and an adjunct member of the faculty at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers. Jon has more than 30 years of experience in the fields of land use and transportation planning and policy at the municipal, county, and regional levels. He has been or currently serves as the principal investigator for a variety of research and planning projects involving a range of transportation policy topics. His experience includes managing research projects involving transit-oriented development; the relationship between land use and transportation; long-range vision planning; transportation capital finance; transportation equity; driver’s licensing; workforce transportation options for low-income individuals and persons with disabilities; senior mobility; as well as transport security, emergency management, and evacuation planning.

Zoe BaldwinZoe Baldwin is New Jersey Director of the Regional Plan Association (RPA), where she works to advance programs that facilitate equitable, vibrant, and resilient communities through sustainable infrastructure and development. Zoe draws on her considerable experience in public policy and community engagement to build diverse support for policies that promote a stronger, more connected region. Zoe works to implement key components of RPA’s Fourth Regional Plan – a blueprint for the region’s growth, sustainability, good governance, and economic opportunity for the next 25 years. This includes building support for the Gateway Tunnel project and more NJ Transit funding, diversifying and expanding affordable housing through legalization of accessory dwelling units, and advancing policies that support climate change adaptation and clean energy.

Alex AmbroseAlex Ambrose, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP), researches policies with a focus on climate justice and transportation. Prior to NJPP, Alex served as Policy Associate at the Association of NJ Environmental Commissions and Policy Assistant at New Jersey League of Conservation Voters. In those roles, she worked on policy and legislation to protect clean water, preserve open space, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions with an emphasis on equity. Most recently, she worked to pass plastic pollution legislation, including the statewide single-use bag ban. Alex currently serves as Chair of the Clinton Township Environmental Commission and is pursuing a Master in Public Administration at Rutgers University. She received a Bachelor of Science in Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources from Rutgers University with a minor in Environmental Geomatics.

Meet the Climate Corps

Angel Alguera, Rutgers Climate CorpsAngel Alguera
I am a first-year Atmospheric Science master’s degree student in the Department of Environmental Sciences, and my work focuses on meteorology and applications of climate change resiliency. My professional interests include severe weather forecasting and community preparedness regarding weather-related disasters. I work with Dr. James Shope at the NJ Climate Change Resource Center to produce applied research and reports relevant to New Jersey stakeholders. I currently assist with climate change data analysis, large dataset management, and report writing.

Daniel GilkesonDaniel Gilkeson
I’m a second-year master’s student in the City and Regional Planning Program with a concentration in environmental planning. As a planner, I hope to build more resilient communities in the face of increased risk due to climate change. With the Climate Change Resource Center, I am working on a project to aid the state in an update of its floodplain buyout program, known as Blue Acres, to be more proactive and comprehensive. Prior to this position, I interned in the Community and Economic Development Office at the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Association. I’m also an AmeriCorps alum, having completed a year of service working on affordable housing in Nashville, Tennessee.

Benjamin GoldbergBenjamin Goldberg
I am a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in climate adaptation and resiliency planning, with experience in sustainable food systems. I joined the Climate Corps last summer to help develop a GIS-based food waste recovery tool, and currently support community resilience through flood vulnerability analysis. I hold a B.A. from Middlebury College and a Certificate in Ecological Horticulture from UC Santa Cruz.

Surya Jacob, Rutgers Climate CorpsSurya Jacob
I am a graduate student in the Master of City and Regional Planning program at the Bloustein School concentrating in community development, focused on housing, land and finance, as well as pursuing the Real Estate Development/Redevelopment Certification. Prior to Bloustein, I worked as an architect and interior designer in India and Canada and am pivoting towards a career in urban planning to engage in extensive projects at the macro level. My interests include affordable and mixed income housing, urban redevelopment, and housing finance, and I am deeply passionate about climate resilience in community planning. Being part of Climate Corps is a foundational step towards helping to solve equity issues in vulnerable communities along the coastal region.

Vineesh Das Kodakkandathil, RutgersVineesh Das Kodakkandathil
I am an urban planner with five years of professional experience in community-led ecotourism development and land use and environment management planning in ecologically sensitive areas. I have worked on and conducted extensive environmental sensitivity analyses, flood and landslide vulnerability assessments, and human impact assessments with the help of GIS tools. I’m currently pursuing my master’s in City and Regional Planning at Bloustein School with a concentration in Transport Planning and GIS.

Douglas LeungDouglas Leung
I am working with the Climate Change Resource Center to identify vulnerable communities and places affected by climate-induced flooding in coastal New Jersey municipalities. I am a Master of City and Regional Planning candidate at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. As a planner, I want to develop strategies and solve problems affecting our cities and communities that enable more equitable outcomes in housing and transportation. I am also a recent Army veteran, having served as a company commander of recruiting in the northern suburbs of Chicago and as a reconnaissance platoon leader in the 10th Mountain Division. For fun, I enjoy weightlifting, running, reading fiction, and board games.

Nihar MhatreNihar Mhatre
I am a master’s candidate in city and regional planning at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, focusing on urban design and land use planning. Before being accepted at Rutgers, I worked as an architect at JD Studio and had my own architectural practice, Vastu Insights. My research interests revolve around designing and developing climate change adaptation and resilience strategies to promote equity in urban landscapes. Having the opportunity to work on real-world projects through Climate Corps will be an essential step in the development of my understanding of addressing climate change issues in vulnerable regions.

Justin MorrisJustin Morris
Justin is a master’s student at Rutgers University studying discovery informatics and data sciences. He is working under Professor Mark Rodgers to develop an optimization model that will act as a decision support tool for university financial investments with the end goal of eliminating Rutgers’ scope 2 emissions. He is excited to apply his background in data analytics and mathematical programming to help the university fight climate change.

Josephine O'GradyJosephine O’Grady
I am a first-year student in the Master of Public Policy program. Through the Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience (C2R2) certification, I am focusing a significant portion of my graduate coursework on topics including coastal geomorphology, environmental justice, and hazard mitigation planning. Before beginning my studies at the Bloustein School, I received my bachelor’s degree in public health from Kean University, where I first became interested in how coastal dynamics shape lived experiences. I previously served as an intern at the New Jersey State Policy Lab and currently work for the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) team.

Jessica Parineet Jessica Parineet
I am a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the Bloustein School with a strong interest in climate change policy and related topics. In my previous work, I gained experience in a number of dimensions of climate change issues through carbon capture storage research, urban heat island research, and community level engagement as I am currently on the Student Advisory Board for the Rutgers Office of Climate Action. I am excited to expand on my interests in environmental justice and local level resilience planning through my involvement in the Climate Corps.

Dillon Patel Dillan Patel
I am a second-year Master of City and Regional Planning student concentrating in Environmental Planning and International Development. I have previously worked as an economist performing cost-benefit analysis and conducting monitoring and evaluation for renewable energy in developing countries. I have also spent a summer in western Massachusetts mapping stormwater infrastructure and working with planners to identify suitable places for green stormwater infrastructure.

Moira Sweeder, Rutgers Climate CorpsMoira Sweeder
I am a graduate student enrolled in the Master of City and Regional Planning program at the Bloustein School. My concentration is environmental planning with a focus on coastal resilience. Before pursuing my master’s degree at Rutgers, I studied sustainability at Stockton University. During this time, I interned for the PSEG Institute of Sustainability Studies, the Jacques Cousteau National Estuary Research Reserve, and NJ Audubon. I am thrilled to now be a part of the Climate Corps, researching coastal resilience as a part of the Megalopolitan Coastal Transformation Hub (MACH) team.

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