Featured C+Ser: Timothy Bushman


Tim Bushman

Photo: Elisabeth Gawthrop

C+Sers come from a range of academic backgrounds, but Tim Bushman has a particularly unique one. He studied kinesiology and clinical exercise physiology at the University of Wisconsin.

It took a bit of a leap to come to the climate field and Tim made it while working at a public health institute, which piqued his interest in the relationship between climate and health. His newfound interest led him to volunteer with the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and the Climate Institute, non-profits advocating for collaboration between communities, organizations, governments, etc. to devise and implement climate change solutions. Tim worked on a range of issues from carbon pricing to urban agriculture.

Volunteering is one thing, but Tim wanted to know — and do — more to address climate change and that’s what brought him to C+S.

“After several years of volunteering, I decided to go back to school to pursue my personal and professional interest in climate change-related issues,” he said. “I chose the C+S program because of its broad curriculum and inclusiveness of students from all different academic and professional backgrounds.”

As with all C+Sers, Tim tailored his time in the program to his interests thanks to a wealth of elective options. He had affinity for sustainable development and so he particularly enjoyed Sustainability Science at the School of Professional Studies because it drilled into him how science can actually be used to inform policy and sustainable development.

Because C+S is about more than classroom learning, Tim was able to apply what he was learning in real life through his work during the program as a graduate research assistant — and later an intern — with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

There’s no bigger sustainable development challenge than mapping out how the world will wean itself off fossil fuels. It’s a task the world will need to undertake rapidly in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

The project Tim worked on looked how to fast track the transition from a fossil fuel-based economy to one driven by renewable energy. Called the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP), it’s a project that develops national long-term climate change mitigation plans to assist countries in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Tim played a role by editing reports that outlined strategies countries could employ to reach ambitious emission reduction targets by 2050 as well as stay on track with the climate pledges they made as part of the Paris Agreement. As an intern, he took on added responsibility by applying this DDPP framework to devise mitigation strategies for the Northeast U.S. He conducted research on various renewable energy technologies and investigated the energy and regulatory policy framework that would be necessary to execute a regional climate change mitigation plan.

Since graduating in August, Tim has kept on the decarboninzation beat working with the World Resources Institute to create a tool to help policymakers and the general public visualize what the world’s future economy could look like. Part of his work entails preparing for the launch of a prototype at the next round of climate talks in in Marrakech, Morroco in November.

“Acquiring my current position would not have been possible without the knowledge and experiences gained throughout my time in the C+S program,” he said.

Although it only lasts a year, C+S had a profound impact on Tim. It set him on a course from helping fix people’s physical ailments to helping fix our planet.

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