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Biden Admin To Give $12.5 Million Grant For Equity-Driven Emissions Reduction Research

  The   Biden administration   is planning to give up to $12.5 million in grant funding for equity-driven emissions reduction research. The ...

 The Biden administration is planning to give up to $12.5 million in grant funding for equity-driven emissions reduction research.

The new grant opportunity released last week and announced by the Department of Transportation (DOT) on Tuesday, the Climate and Transportation Initiative, will award $2.5 million annually to either a university, public research entity, or private nonprofit research entity to establish a research center.

The grant partnership may be renewed for up to five years, totaling up to $12.5 million.

In addition to tackling emissions reductions goals, the research center must also be equity-driven: aiming to have “proportional,” not equal, impact on the community in which the research center will be located. The research center must also eliminate any disparities in transportation access.

“[The research center will] create proportional impacts to all populations in a project area, remove transportation related [sic] disparities to all populations in a project area, and increase equitable access to project benefits,” stated the grant opportunity page.

Equity won’t be the only goal of the research center. The full funding goals documents declare that the research center must produce “innovative applications of social and behavioral sciences and other policy interventions” to influence public usage of lower-carbon transportation.

In a press release announcing the funding, DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg claimed that the burden of emissions on the climate were responsible for recent natural disasters like the Maui fire and the Vermont flood.


“In the past few months alone, Americans from Vermont to Hawaii have faced the devastating impact of so-called ‘once-in-a-century’ disasters that are now becoming more frequent, more deadly, and more destructive to our economy than ever,” said Buttigieg. “As we face the profound and urgent threat of the climate crisis, we need cleaner transportation systems, and this investment will help deliver that by harnessing research and technology to find new solutions.”

Gretchen Goldman, the DOT Climate Change Research and Technology director overseeing the grant awarding, said in a LinkedIn post that the initiative would support the goal of total decarbonization of the transportation sector by 2050.

Goldman took on the directorship in April, switching over from her two-year tenure as the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) assistant director for environmental science, engineering, policy, and justice, part of the greater Climate & Environment (C&E) Team.

Goldman was behind the controversial federal guidance on incorporating indigenous knowledge into federal research, policy, and decision-making.

In a co-authored White House blog post, Goldman said that indigenous knowledge incorporation was necessary for improved science and policy outcomes.

“[N]ever before has there been such a driving need to expand and diversify the kinds of evidence and knowledge we rely upon to make critical decisions to address them,” stated the post.

Indigenous knowledge inclusion played a role in the delayed water deployment during the Maui fires. It was also cited in the Department of the Interior’s decision last month to end Arctic National Wildlife Preserve drilling, as well as oil and gas leases.

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