March 11, 2021
UW atmospheric scientist bridges science, policy, public health to bring space-based data to the world

For Tracey Holloway, it’s all about connection. Connections between research and policy, connections between air quality and health, and interpersonal connections have driven Holloway, a professor in the Nelson Institute and the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. The connections she makes with her team, her lab group, her department and her mentees every day drive her further. “We’re here to help launch student careers, and that, to me, is one of the most fun and rewarding parts about working at the university,” Holloway says. Related State Journal story: Holloway teaches moms about climate change.


December 22, 2020
Nelson Institute administrator named NASA Unsung Hero and receives Pringle Award for University Staff

Nelson Institute Center for Climatic Research (CCR) and Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) administrator Laurel Fletcher has been named a NASA Unsung Hero and received the Pringle Award for University Staff.

In her role with the Nelson Institute, Fletcher assists with onboarding, reimbursements, arranging travel for fieldwork and conferences, administrative policy, purchasing, arranging scientific conferences, and more.

“My goal is to make the tasks easier for the scientists, professors, and grad students, so they can concentrate on their research,” said Fletcher. “I like to find ways to conserve our funding, such as organizing conferences and travel as economically as possible, so that it can be stretched as much as possible to support students and environmental research. The work that our research teams do is crucial in advancing environmental conservation, and I want to be a good steward of their money. When possible, I also like to offer eco-friendlier options in areas like conference hosting, catering, and travel.” 



December 17, 2020 · Bloomberg
Holly Gibbs featured in Bloomberg series on deforestation and cattle

Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) affiliate and associate professor of Geography, Holly Gibbs is contributing to a Bloomberg series on deforestation and cattle. Gibbs and her lab have completed pioneering work to track deforestation. In fact, last year, Gibbs worked with the National Wildlife Federation to track outcomes from the Zero-Deforestation Commitments in the Brazilian Amazon using cattle movement and supply chain data. The series in Bloomberg highlights Gibbs’ research and expertise in deforestation and the impact cattle have on the deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil. Read more.

Photo: Jonne Roriz/Bloomberg


December 15, 2020
Nelson SAGE director discusses stranded assets and the environment

Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) director, Carol Barford recently contributed the article, Stranded Assets—Conduits for Better Public Infrastructure Planning? to the League of Women Voters Dane County website. The article addresses stranded assets and how basic planning for public infrastructure can minimize this issue. Stranded assets, or those that have become devalued or converted to a liability, are explored through the lens of greenhouse gas emissions, flooding, and other environmental challenges. Barford also discusses solutions, such as government buyouts of flooded neighborhoods and the opportunity we now have to retire infrastructure for which the investment has already played out. Read more.

Nanang Sujana |

December 09, 2020
Holly Gibbs co-authors paper that asks, does certifying oil palm help alleviate poverty?

Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE) affiliate and associate professor of Geography, Holly Gibbs is a co-author on the recent Nature Sustainability paper, “Impact of palm oil sustainability certification on village well-being and poverty in Indonesia.” This paper investigates the effectiveness of Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification in reducing poverty among villages with oil palm plantations.

In this study, Gibbs and her colleagues compared the rates of poverty across 36,311 villages over 18 years, specifically looking at the change in poverty rates before and after oil palm plantations were certified by RSPO. Overall, the research indicates that RSPO certification does correlate with reduced poverty, but village location and baseline village livelihood conditions before certification were factors.

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December 03, 2020
Jonathan Patz Quoted in Latest Lancet Countdown

Published annually, the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change is an international, multidisciplinary collaboration, dedicated to monitoring the evolving health profile of climate change, and providing an independent assessment of the delivery of commitments made by governments worldwide under the Paris Agreement.

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November 20, 2020
Holloway Study Puts MGE Net-Zero Carbon Goal on Path to Limit Global Warming

The study used climate modeling conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and compared MGE’s goals to modeled, warming-limiting pathways for the electricity sector in industrialized nations.

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November 18, 2020
Holloway MGE Study Featured in Wisconsin State Journal

The study finds Madison Gas and Electric’s goal of eliminating carbon emissions by mid-century is in line with what will be needed to avoid the worst impact of climate change.