Syracuse University Part of a Team Awarded $60 Million USDA Grant to Promote Climate-Smart Commodities

Syracuse University is a lead partner in a multi-university project aimed at increasing supply and demand for green commodities produced and manufactured in upstate New York, supported by a new grant from the USDA Green Commodities Partnership. The $60 million project is being led by the New York State Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture and Markets.

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A climate-friendly commodity is an agricultural commodity that is produced through agricultural, livestock, or forestry practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. As a project partner, Syracuse will lead one of four primary focus areas. Over the next five years, Syracuse University researchers will explore and expand existing markets, as well as create new markets for climate-friendly commodities produced in upstate New York – benefiting the environment, farmers and manufacturing industries alike.

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“Both governments and industry around the world are rapidly committing to a net-zero carbon economy, and to meet these grand challenges, today’s industries need to find low-carbon and environmentally friendly alternatives that use bio-based raw materials and products are playing a critical role,” says Jay Golden, Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and director of the Dynamic Sustainability Lab, the Syracuse-based project’s principal investigator.

The Syracuse-based interdisciplinary team, working with Cornell University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, New York State agencies and other public and private partners, includes faculty and student researchers from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, School of Information Studies, SI Newhouse School of Public Communications and Whitman School of Management. Additionally, the team will work with Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad to develop a pipeline of new green tech and climate-smart innovators, with a focus on developing new climate-smart companies in underserved communities.

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Syracuse University faculties include:

  • Principal Investigator: Jay Golden, Pontarelli Professor of Environmental Sustainability and Finance at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School and director of the Dynamic Sustainability Lab
  • investigator:
    • Carmen Carrión-Flores, Research Assistant Professor, School of Economics; Senior Research Associate, Center for Policy Research
    • Peter Wilcoxen, Ajello Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy; Professor of Public Administration and International Affairs; Director, Center for Environmental Policy and Administration
    • Lee McKnight, Associate Professor, School of Information Studies
    • Todd Moss, Chairman, Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Businesses and
      Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship, Whitman School
    • Jason Davis, Research Professor, Newhouse School; Co-Director, Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab
    • Regina Luttrell, associate dean for research and creative activity; Co-Director, Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab; Associate Professor of Public Relations, Newhouse School
    • Erika Schneider, Assistant Professor of Public Relations, Newhouse School
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“Our Syracuse team will be at the forefront of this effort globally, providing public and private decision-makers with the ability to track and verify low-carbon and zero-carbon commodities through the value chain; Development of key incentives and strategies to support market demand; and to model environmental, climate, and economic/job benefits for New York and America,” says Golden. “The expected climate-friendly raw materials will serve as a platform for a new generation of low-carbon chemicals, fuels and energy sources, as well as building and construction materials and a wide range of consumer products to support the transition to a net-zero carbon economy.”