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Director’s Corner

A Welcome from Don Wuebbles
Welcome to our first CURES newsletter. I hope you and your families are all well in these trying times. I wish we could meet in person to discuss the continuing development of CURES and the many activities that can carry CURES forward. The executive committee has been meeting on a regular basis as we continue to develop CURES as a center across the University of Illinois campuses (and with our many partners) towards making a difference in working with the Chicago region and other cities on developing integrated sustainable solutions to improve community-wide health and prosperity now and in the future. This newsletter is one of the outcomes for increasing our interactions across the CURES community towards achieving this mission. 
      There have been many other accomplishments since CURES started, many of which will be touched upon in this newsletter. In 2019 CURES led a major NSF-sponsored community workshop at the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and helped sponsor related workshops at Northwestern University and at Argonne National Lab. These have resulted in reports to the sponsoring agencies and at least three different journal articles. As highlighted elsewhere in the newsletter, a new CURES Workshop is being planned for 2021 and we will begin a regular series of seminars starting soon. These are being coordinated through DPI, who will also host the new CURES website that is under development. We are interacting with DPI on how we can coordinate towards the further development of CURES. 
      Over the last while, we have also increased our coordination with the Chicago region through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus (MMC) and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), including contributions to the Regional Climate Action Plan and jointly writing a research proposal with MMC. We are also part of a new Big 10 universities initiative on cities. 
      As for news on CURES leadership, I would like to welcome Jane Lin, Professor Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering at UIUC as well as Lucia Vazquez, Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and Professor of Biology at UIS who recently joined the executive team. Recall that the executive team includes three faculty from each of the UIC, UIS, and UIUC campuses. 
      So, CURES has made several steps forward, despite the pandemic, and we are gearing up for an exciting year ahead! CURES has established a network of resources into which you can tap to advance your project goals. At the same time, I hope you will step forward to help develop new activities and coordinate research efforts with the CURES community so that together we can advance CURES’ mission and help communities resolve pressing sustainability issues and become more livable, prosperous, resilient, and sustainable.

Outreach activities
  • A group of CURES members participated in a panel “Cities 2020 and Beyond: Intelligent, Resilient, and Sustainable” at a French Consulate sponsored event at the Field Museum called  “A Night of Ideas: ‘Alive’” and highlighted a number of urban sustainability challenges and opportunities. CURES presenters included: from UIC - Elizabeth Kocs, Elena Grossman, Joe Bozeman and Mike Stachyra; From UIS - Anne-Marie Hanson and Carolee Rigsbee; and from UIUC - Yu-Feng Lin, Ashish Sharma, Laura Gray, Michael Reiter, and Zhonghua Zheng. The post-event report can be found here
  • Don Wuebbles and Ashish Sharma gave talks on CURES activities at the “Big 10 Workshop on Urban Issues”, October 1, 2020.
  • Several CURES members presented at the UIC John Marshall Law School 25th Belle R. & Joseph H. Braun Memorial Symposium “Cutting Through the Academic Silos to Advance Sustainability” held on October 30, 2020 and organized by the UIC JMLS Center for Real Estate Law (agenda here). Don Wuebbles provided the keynote address “The Development of Research, Scholarship, and Education about Sustainability and Climate Change in the University of Illinois System” at which CURES and its mission and activities were discussed (keynote available here). A diverse set of sustainability-related sessions took place which may be of interest to the CURES community: 
    • “World Without Waste” (available here)
    • “Creating Smart, Resilient, and Sustainable Cities through Planning, Design, and Engineering” (available here
    • “Legal, Business, and Human Rights Research and Scholarship about Sustainability” (available here)
    • “Sustainable Energy Futures from UIC” (available here)
    • “The Future of Water in a Rapidly Changing Climate” (available here)
    • “Sustainability Issues Uncovered by COVID-19” (available here
    • “Disparities in Public Health in Light of Climate Change” (available here)

Special thanks to Dean Darby Dickerson (UIC JMLS), Celeste Hammond (Director, UIC JMLS Center for Real Estate Law), and the other event organizers for reaching out across the UI System and promoting multi-disciplinary insight on sustainability related issues.

  • With the goal of promoting climate change action in business schools, Carolee Rigsbee, Elizabeth Kocs, and Abagail McWilliams co-organized a panel on the topic of climate change education in business schools at a symposium titled “Better Late Than Never: Business Schools and Climate Change Action” for the 2020 Meeting of the Academy of Management (abstract here). The panel symposium took place August 10, 2020 and featured climate change and business school sustainability program experts from University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana (Dr. Don Wuebbles), Simon Fraser University (Dr. Zafar Adeel), Colorado State University (Dr. Tom Dean), University of St. Gallen (Dr. Judith Walls), and McGill University (Dr. Anna Kim). 


UIC Workshops on Beneficial Electrification of Transportation: Dr. Elizabeth A Kocs, Director for Partnerships & Strategy at UIC Energy Initiative led and organized the UIC Workshops on Beneficial Electrification of Transportation—held in February, May/June, and August 2020—which addressed the issues and challenges surrounding electric vehicle adoption and deployment in Illinois. Relevant stakeholders participated in a series of workshops, which launched a collaborative effort toward developing guiding principles for transportation electrification in the State of Illinois. The report from the workshops entitled “A Framework for Transportation Electrification in Illinois: Guiding Principles for Beneficial Electrification of Transportation” is forthcoming. The Discovery Partners Institute hosted the in-person February workshop and remained a vital partner for the subsequent online workshops.

Peer‐reviewed journal articles
  • Wuebbles, D. J., Sharma, A., Ando, A., Zhao, L. & Rigsbee, C. (2020). Converging on Solutions to Plan Sustainable Cities. Eos, 101; doi: https://doi.org/10.1029/2020EO150149
  • Sharma, A., Wuebbles, D. J., Kotamarthi, R., Calvin, K., Drewniak, B., Catlett, C. E. & Jacob, R. (2020). Urban Scale Processes in High Spatial Resolution Earth System Models (ESMs). Bull. Am. Meteorol. Soc., doi: https://doi.org/10.1175/BAMS-D-20-0114.1
  • Sharma, A., Wuebbles, D. J., Kotamarthi, R. (2021). The Need for Urban-Resolving Climate Modeling Across Scales. AGU Adv., doi:  https://doi.org/10.1029/2020AV000271 (forthcoming). 
Upcoming events
  • CURES Webinar Series - Starting in February 2021, CURES will be launching a monthly virtual series focused on bringing the most current and challenging sustainability and resilience topics to the forefront, with experts from academia, national laboratories, and public and private sector. Forthcoming topics will include enabling technologies, convergence science, systems thinking, and education. More information coming in January.
  • 2021 CURES Connections Workshop - The aim of the 2021 Workshop, which will be held virtually, is to explore integrated solutions related to water (stormwater, drinking water, agricultural use) and energy (energy efficiency, cost, renewable transition) in rural, small, and medium-sized Illinois communities located outside the reach of broader large urban centers like the Chicago metropolitan area. The workshop planning team currently includes researchers, specialists, and educators associated with DPI CURES, the UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership, the UIC Energy Initiative and UIC Institute for Environmental Science and Policy, UI Extension, and the Prairie Research Institute among others. More information to follow.
  • Upcoming Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual meeting (virtual) during the month of January 2021. Check out the events hosted by the Transportation and Sustainability Section (http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/dva/CG/TRB2021AMSustainabilitySection.pdf)

Did You Know? 

To promote interdisciplinary sustainability thinking and research, each CURES newsletter will feature ‘hot sustainability topics’ from a different academic discipline’s lens. This newsletter's topic is:  News on Sustainability in Business!

  • Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) performance reporting is flashing on corporate officer, investment manager, regulator, and bank radars:
    • According to the US SIF, in 2020, $17.1 trillion, or one-third of professionally directed investments were managed following socially responsible investment (SRI) principles (i.e. using ESG criteria) (see here and here). In the beginning of 2018, the amount was a quarter of investment dollars or $12 trillion; in 2016 it was $8.7 trillion (almost doubled in 4 years) (see here). 
    • In collaboration with the World Economic Forum and the International Business Council, the Big 4 accounting firms have co-developed ESG reporting standards available for use for 2021 reporting (see here and here).
    • The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, which develops international accounting standards, is formally assessing whether it should convene a Sustainability Standards Board as a result of what it has ‘informally’ observed around “growing and urgent demand” (see here) from a range of stakeholder for consistent, comparable sustainability reporting standards (see here as well).
  • The U.S. Business Roundtable, made up of CEOs of top US companies, not only made a statement in 2019 that it is time to move beyond shareholder profit to include stakeholder considerations (statement is here) but issued a report in September 2020 titled “Addressing Climate Change: Principles and Policies” (available here) providing their position on steps needed to tackle climate change action.
  • Purdue Pharma pleading guilty on October 21, 2020 (see here) has led to some interesting discussions around form of healthcare organization governance for public benefit (e.g. see here and here). Did you know that the State of Illinois benefit corporation statutes were enacted in January 2013 and provide for the creation of for-profit entities with a mandate for and protections in pursuing social good? Maryland, in 2010, was the first state to enact benefit corporation laws. Now 37 states have done so (and growing… see here)
  • The SEC approved the creation of a Long Term Stock Exchange (LTSE) which opened on September 9th, 2020. A brief explanation of the LTSE - which encourages sustainability by rewarding long term investment - and some related articles can be found here, here, and here
Contact CURES and Share Your News

Contact Executive Committee:

  • Anne-Marie Hanson (UIS), Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, E-mail: ahans4@uis.edu
  • Ashish Sharma (UIUC), Illinois Research Climatologist, Illinois State Water Survey, Prairie Research Institute. E-mail: sharmaa@illinois.edu
  • Carolee Rigsbee (UIS), Assistant Professor, Management, Marketing and Operations. E-mail: crigs2@uis.edu
  • Don Wuebbles (UIUC), Director CURES and Harry E. Preble Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences. E-mail: wuebbles@illinois.edu
  • Elizabeth Kócs (UIC), Director, Partnerships & Strategy, UIC Energy Initiative; Technology Commercialization Fellow, UIC Office of Technology Management. E-mail: ekocs@uic.edu
  • Jane (Jie) Lin (UIC), Professor, Civil, Materials, and Environmental Engineering. E-mail: janelin@uic.edu
  • Julie Cidell (UIUC), Professor, Geography. E-mail: jcidell@illinois.edu
  • Lucia Vasquez (UIS), Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation and Professor of Biology. E-mail: lvazq1@uis.edu
  • Thomas Theis (UIC), Director, Institute for Environmental Science and Policy. E-mail: theist@uic.edu
  • Yu-Feng Lin (UIUC), Director, Illinois Water Resources Center, Prairie Research Institute. E-mail: yflin@illinois.edu

Contribute CURES Newsletter Content:  CURES members, please share your CURES related news!  E-mail your news/suggestions to DPI CURES at curescenter@uillinois.edu with the message subject “Content for CURES Newsletter” by March 1, 2021 for consideration for the next quarterly CURES newsletter!


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