Climate and Sustainability Summer Institute

This course is designed for motivated, early-to mid-career professionals who are interested in building their knowledge in climate and sustainability. Through interaction with trusted faculty, researchers, and leaders in climate science and policy solutions, participants will develop a robust professional toolkit and build a deeper understanding of climate and sustainability issues across industries and issue areas. The program will also offer participants a valuable cohort experience through peer-to-peer learning and a long-term professional network with opportunities to collaborate and convene post-program completion.

Why Choose This Summer Institute?

  • The program is led by world-renowned Duke faculty and offers interactive learning modules on a selection of climate and sustainability topics tailored toward policy-oriented professionals.
  • After attending all four sessions and completing all course assignments, participants will earn a Duke University-issued certificate signifying their course completion.  
  • The program will take place in person at the Duke in DC office in Washington, DC, providing a unique opportunity to build relevant, long-term professional connections with classmates and the broader Duke community in DC.

Note: Participants will be asked to complete on-line activities, such as pre-readings, and other assignments during the duration of the course to supplement the on-site learning experience.

  • Evening 1 (7/11/23):The Science and Natural System Impacts of Climate Change
  • Evening 2 (7/13/23): The Human Impacts of Climate Change
  • Evening 3 (7/18/23): The Economics of Sustainable Climate Solutions
  • Evening 4 (7/20/23): Sector-Specific Sustainable Climate Solutions
The Science and Natural System Impacts of Climate Change

To understand and implement climate solutions, students must first understand the scope of the problem. This session will provide students with a synthesis of climate science from the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), with an emphasis on climate tipping points as critical warming thresholds to be avoided. Learners will then place the US’s commitments to the Paris Agreement in the context of these tipping points.


  • Greenhouse effect, greenhouse gases, and anthropogenic causes of climate change
  • Climate change impacts on physical systems (transport of heat via water and air)
  • Climate change impacts on non-human biological systems (e.g., biodiversity)
  •  Feedback loops and climate tipping points
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and their process
  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • The Conference of the Parties (COP) structure and process
  • The Paris Climate Agreement and the US’s pledges as part of this agreement


By the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  • Explain what a climate tipping point is, why climate tipping points are critically important, and how we are rapidly approaching them, connecting tipping points to the need for urgent, coordinated action in the US and internationally.
  • Describe the role of the IPCC in advancing our understanding of climate science.
  • Articulate the US’s role as a key member of the COP, as well as its commitments as a signatory of the Paris Agreement.
The Human Impacts of Climate Change

This session will explore some of the ways that climate change impacts people, communities, and society, with emphasis on climate justice and the disproportionate climate impacts borne by marginalized groups. After discussion of these topics, learners will be oriented on the various jurisdictional-level programs and policies to assist communities affected by climate, and the existing and anticipated future needs for these programs. Finally, learners will look closer at the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as a tool to build resilience into US facilities and systems.


  • Impacts of climate change on food supplies (e.g., agricultural and fisheries impacts)
  • Impacts of climate change on infrastructure, including sea level rise and managed retreat
  • Climate and health implications (e.g., heat, air pollution, disasters, vector-borne disease)
  • Climate-related migration
  • Climate justice and the connection between climate impacts and systemic inequality
  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and other key state, regional, and federal program


 By the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  •  Identify state, regional, and federal programs and policies that can address climate impacts, connecting to how climate change stresses these programs and policies.
  • Relate the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to existing needs and opportunities to strengthen US resilience to climate impacts.
  • Articulate how marginalized groups shoulder disproportionate impacts of climate change.
The Economics of Sustainable Climate Solutions

This session transitions the short course from focusing on impacts of climate change to centering climate solutions. After an overview of climate finance, green tech investment, and energy demands and markets, learners will engage in a deep dive of the Inflation Reduction Act to learn about the role of credits, incentives, and regulations in promoting the green transition.


  • Climate finance landscape overview, including carbon markets, cap and trade, ESG funding, carbon tax
  • Financing clean energy
  • The Inflation Reduction Act


By the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  • Discuss how energy markets work and can be leveraged to promote a transition to a green energy landscape.
  • Summarize key economic implications of the Inflation Reduction Act and how the Inflation Reduction Act can facilitate clean energy deployment.
Sector-Specific Sustainable Climate Solutions

As the final meeting in this short course, this session will focus on sustainable solutions in two sectors: the high-tech sector and the agricultural sector. The meeting will be split into two one-hour “mini-sessions,” each led by a different instructor. During the first hour, learners will explore how the CHIPS and Science Act will support tech sector innovations, including bringing energy, decarbonization, and carbon sequestration technologies from prototype to market. During the second hour, learners will investigate how the Farm Bill, up for renewal in 2023, incorporates and incentivizes sustainable agricultural practices and the implications of its renewal on food security in a warming climate.


  • First hour: energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, CHIPS and Science Act, lab-to-market pipeline
  •  Second hour: Farm Bill, sustainable agriculture, food security, regenerative farming, organic agriculture, food waste


By the end of this session, the learner will be able to:

  • Provide examples of green tech innovations that can be supported by the CHIPS and Science Act, and articulate why energy efficiency, decarbonization, and carbon sequestration are important technologies to accelerate from lab to market at this time.
  • Provide examples of sustainable agricultural practices that are supported and incentivized by the Farm Bill and explain how sustainable agriculture impacts US food policy.

At the conclusion of the final session, all learners will be invited upstairs to a reception on the Duke in DC rooftop terrace, at which Duke faculty will present learners with their certificates of completion.

Eligibility Requirements

All registrants must meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate interest in climate and sustainability, either through personal, professional, or academic experience or future career aspirations
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess word processing and internet skills as supplement online work may be required
  • Be fluent in the English language (including reading and writing)
  • Be computer literate, have reliable internet access and a valid email account (Please note personal email accounts are preferred as they are less likely to be blocked by firewalls and spam filters)
  • Meet the computer technical requirements specifications as listed on this site for on-line supplemental course work in support of classroom instruction.
  • Ability to be physically present in Washington, D.C. during program weeks

Certificate Requirements

  • Completion of all requisite coursework with clear demonstration of core competencies.
  • Attendance at all sessions.

Technical Requirements

  1. A computer with a current operating system
    • Mac OS X with MacOS 10.6.8 /(Snow Leopard) or later
    • Windows 11
    •  Windows 8 or 8.1
    • Windows 7
  2.  A current Internet browser
    • Windows: IE11+, Firefox, Chrome
    • Mac: Safari5+, Firefox, Chrome
  3.  Reliable internet access
  4. Use of personal email as opposed to a business email is required to ensure class communications can be received and access to material via external links can occur without security issues.

Individuals interested in attending the Climate and Sustainability Summer Institute must submit an application, during the application period in order to be considered for admission. Applications can only be submitted via the online application that is available on this website. Applications will be reviewed on an rolling basis and those accepted will be notified as to “next steps” to register.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early!

Prior to Applying:

Application Process

  1. Begin Application: The green 'Apply' button in the right-hand column takes you to the required electronic application. If you are a new user, you will be guided to create a profile.
  2. Complete application in full.
  3. Upload the following supplemental documents:
    • Résumé
    • Detailed “Statement of Interest” (max 500 words)
  4.  Submit the online application and pay the $25 non-refundable application fee. The individual will then receive an email with username and password.
  5. Completed applications are reviewed on a rolling basis to determine approval, and individuals are notified of their admission status with next steps provided in how to register for the course. Please note that submission of an application and payment of the application fee is not a guarantee of admission to the program.
  6. Register for the course and pay tuition Approved applicants may officially register and pay for for the course between April 10 and June 9th.

Admission to the program is discretionary and space is limited. Participants must be at least 18 years of age and meet minimum suitability standards for admission. Admitted participants are not matriculated Duke University students, therefore university student privileges do not apply.

Important Dates

Saturday April 1, 2023 Application period opens
Monday, June 5, 2023 Application period closes
Monday, April 10, 2023 Registration opens: Admitted applicants can register and pay tuition.
Friday, June 9, 2023 Registration closes: Last day admitted applicants can register/pay tuition
Tuesday, July 11, 2023 Course start date


The Registration Period for approved applicants opens on April 10, 2023 and closes on June 9, 2023. Admitted participants wishing to register must simultaneously enroll in the course and pay tuition in full, by the close of the Registration Period.

Duke Continuing Studies reserves the exclusive right, at its sole and absolute discretion, to withhold registration or require withdrawal from the program of an applicant or enrolled participant. Admitted participants are registered on a first-come, first-served basis.


Tuesday July 11, 2023 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Thursday July 13, 2023 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Tuesday July 18, 2023 6:00-8:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 20, 2023 6:00-9:00 p.m. 

At the conclusion of the final session, all learners will be invited upstairs to a reception on the Duke in DC rooftop terrace, at which Duke faculty will present learners with their certificates of completion.

Session 1: The Science and Natural System Impacts of Climate Change
Picture of Brian McAdoo

Brian McAdoo

Brian G. McAdoo is Associate Professor of Earth and Climate Science at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where he studies the effects of disasters triggered by natural hazards.

How are humans impacting the physical systems that keep us alive, and how are marginalized populations specifically affected? Current research projects in Nepal (earthquakes, landslides and road development) as well as Borneo and Brazil (deforestation, ecosystem services and community health) seek to apply a Planetary Health framework to understand how coupled human-environment systems and geohazards interact with the ultimate goal of informing community resilience and reducing environmental suffering.

  • Ph.D., University of California - Santa Cruz
  • B.S., Duke University
Session 2: The Human Impacts of Climate Change
Picture of Elizabeth Losos

Elizabeth Losos

Elizabeth Losos is an executive in residence at the Nicholas Institute and adjunct professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment. She explores how to plan for and optimize the environmental impact of infrastructure expansion in Asia, Africa, and Europe that is stimulated by China’s new silk road initiative.

Losos formerly was president and CEO of the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), a global consortium of universities and research institutes with the mission of promoting education, research, and the responsible use of natural resources in the tropics. Losos directed the organization’s four research stations in Costa Rica and South Africa as well as undergraduate, graduate, and professional field-based educational programs in tropical biology, conservation, global health, and environmental policy. Prior to her tenure with OTS, Losos was the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Tropical Forest Science, a global network of large-scale forest demography plots.

Losos holds a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University, a master’s degree in public administration and international affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton, and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University

Session 3: The Economics of Sustainable Climate Solutions
Picture of Brian Murray

Brian Murray

Dr. Brian C. Murray is Interim Director of the Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Research Professor at the Nicholas School of the Environment (primary) and Sanford School of Public Policy (secondary), and Faculty Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society.

In 2015 he was Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Environment and Economy at University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment. He is widely recognized for his work on the economics of energy and climate change policy, including the design of market-based mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gases and deploy low-carbon energy. Members of the United States Congress, state legislators and regulators have sought the counsel of Dr. Murray and colleagues in developing energy and climate legislative proposals and regulatory options. Their development of the cost containment reserve mechanism is now in use in several greenhouse cap-and-trade programs in North America. Dr. Murray has been invited as a co-author of several national and international assessments of natural resources, especially related to energy and climate change. Of particular note, he serves on a National Academy of Sciences panel on greenhouse gases and the tax code, where he led the panel’s efforts on biofuel subsidies. He was a convening lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Land Use, Land Use Change, and Forestry. He has convened several forums of economic modeling experts to examine and communicate the results of their climate, energy and land use policy efforts to the public and private sectors.

His research has examined the economic effects of traditional command-based regulatory strategies for pollution control and more market-oriented approaches such as cap-and-trade programs and emission taxes. He has been a consultant to a wide range of clientele in the public and private sector, including numerous federal government agencies, members of Congress and their staff, state regulatory agencies, CEOs and senior staff from Fortune 500 companies, trade groups, nongovernmental organizations, and other academic institutions.

His work has been published in books, edited volumes, and professional journals, including Science, Nature Climate Change, The American Economic Review, The Review of Economics and Statistics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Land Economics, Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Environmental and Resource Economics, Ecological Economics, PLOS One, Ecological Applications, Climatic Change, Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Energy Journal, Energy Policy, and Forest Science. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes. Prior to coming to the Nicholas Institute in 2006, Dr. Murray was Director of the Center for Regulatory Economics and Policy Research at RTI International, a university-affiliated not-for-profit research institution.

  • Ph.D., Duke University
  • M.S., Duke University
  • B.S., University of Delaware
Session 4: Sector-Specific Sustainable Climate Solutions
Picture of Nico Hotz

First Hour: 

Nico Hotz 

Nico is the Associate Professor of the Practice in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science
Nico specializes in interfacial transport phenomena and thermodynamics in energy technology. His research focuses on heat, mass, and charge transfer on nano-scale surfaces for solar thermal applications, catalytic fuel reforming, hydrogen generation, fuel cells, and electrolysis.

Appointments and Affiliations
  • Faculty Network Member of The Energy Initiative
  • Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
Research Interests

An essential topic of Nico’s research interests is the energetic and exergetic analysis of complex energy conversion and storage systems, especially including renewable and sustainable energy solutions.

Nico holds a Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland), 2008.


Picture of Norbert Wilson

Second Hour:

Norbert Wilson 

Norbert Wilson is the Director of the World Food Policy Center. He is a Professor of Food, Economics, and Community at Duke Divinity School, with a joint appointment in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. 

Professor Wilson’s research touches on several food issues, such as access, choice, food waste and domestic food systems. Before joining Duke Divinity School, Wilson was a professor of food policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy (2017-2020). He was also a professor of agricultural economics at Auburn University (1999-2016). While at Auburn, Wilson served as a deacon at St. Dunstan’s, the Episcopal Student Center of Auburn University (2011-2016). He was an economist/policy analyst in the Trade Directorate (2004-2006) and the Agriculture Directorate (2001-2002) of the Organization of Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) in Paris, France.

  • B.S.A. in Agricultural Economics (University of Georgia)
  • M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics (University of London, Wye College)
  • Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics (University of California, Davis)

Tuition : $2,049

Due in full at time of registration.

Available Discounts:

Please choose one of four discounts to apply to your course registration on checkout. Be sure to check the box for "Apply a Discount," and select one discount to receive $150 off the price. Discounts are offered to the following individuals:

  • Participants associated with government
  • Duke Alumni
  • Participants associated with a nonprofit
  • Current students

Funding Sources

Duke Continuing Studies courses, and those offered on this website on behalf of Duke “schools”, are non-credit. Therefore, no loans can be construed to imply any degree-seeking status for participants enrolling in courses offered through this site.

Duke Continuing Studies (DCS) will not certify (approve) loan amounts greater than the amount of the tuition regardless of the amount approved by the lending agency. DCS reserves the right to reject any loan which exceeds the tuition amount. DCS will not be responsible for refunding monies in excess of the tuition. Participants needing to secure loan funding for books or other items in relation to the program are responsible for making separate loan arrangements with the funding agency. No loan funds will be refunded to the participant.

Should a participant choose to borrow less than the tuition amount, the balance must be paid prior to the close of the registration period.

Funding Sources

Our Professional Certificate programs are non-credit (not degree applicable); therefore, they are NOT eligible for federal education loans. DO NOT SUBMIT FAFSA FORMS for these programs.

Other Funding Sources

The funding options listed below may not be applicable to all programs at this time. Please contact the organization offering the funding to see if you qualify and if the funds can be used for the program in which you are interested.

Sallie Mae Smart Option Loan

To apply for this private student loan, visit Sallie Mae’s website, and click the I’m ready to apply button. The following application should populate with the pertinent information for Duke Continuing Studies.

  • Under Loan Needs, select Student and then Undergraduate degree.
  • Select Career training school.
  • Select North Carolina from the drop down menu.
  • Under name of school begin typing DUKE PROFESSIONAL, then select DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 when it populates.
  • Click Continue.
  • Next, You've confirmed that you want a Smart Option Student Loan for DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES will appear.
  • Click Continue.
  • Fill out Basic Information.
  • Fill out Permanent Address section.
  • Fill out School Information.
    • DUKE PROFESSIONAL CERTIFICATES, DURHAM, NC, 00292099 should already have populated for the school.
    • Select Certificate for Degree/Certificate of Study.
    • Select your Specialty or select Other if it is not shown in the options.
    • Select Half Time for Enrollment Status.
    • Select Certificate/Continuing Ed for Grade Level.
    • Enter your Loan period begins and loan period end dates.
    • Enter your Anticipated Graduation / Completion.
    • Enter loan amount. NOTE: This may not exceed the cost of tuition.
    • Estimated financial assistance should be $0.00.
    • Under Loan request, click Use calculated need.
    • Do not check any box in typical school expenses.
  • Follow the remaining loan application prompts.
Wells Fargo Graduate Loan

Please note that Wells Fargo is no longer accepting new applications for their private student loans. However, students with an outstanding balance on a Wells Fargo private student loan may be eligible to be borrowers on a new private loan. See here for details.

Duke Hospital Employees

Duke University Hospital employees may be eligible for support from the Employee Development Initiative (EDI), which helps employees pay for short-term career-related programs, workshops, and seminars. For more information, visit the Employee Development Initiative site or call Duke Hospital Human Resources at (919) 668-2170.


AmeriCorps Education Awards are available only for AmeriCorps volunteers and can be used for educational expenses for non-degree courses, such as Continuing Education courses offered by qualified schools. For more information on qualified schools and programs, contact the National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677, or visit the FAQ page of the AmeriCorps website.

Wire Transfers

Contact our registration office at for details on how to send wire transfers. Very specific instructions must be followed in order for our office to receive a successful transfer.

Refund Policy

To receive a refund minus a $150 processing fee, we must receive your written cancellation request at least two weeks before the course begins. You will be refunded in the manner in which paid.

Include your name, address, phone number, and course to be dropped. You may inform us by:

Email (preferred): 
Mail: Registration – Climate and Sustainability Summer Institute 
Duke Continuing Studies 
Box 90700 Durham, NC 27708-0700

Bad Checks

If a check is returned for insufficient funds, we will charge a returned check fee of $35. Checks will not be resubmitted. The replacement payment must include the additional $35 and be in the form of cash, money order, or credit card.

Course is Filled / Waiting List

If a course is already filled, a waiting list is usually available instead. If you are interested in placing your name on the waiting list, follow the checkout instructions to do so. If a space becomes available, a registration staff member will call you and ask if you are still interested. If you are interested, registration staff can take your payment information over the phone and complete your registration at that time.

If We Cancel a Course

Sometimes we have to cancel a course that does not meet minimum enrollment, or due to unforeseen events. If that happens, you will receive a full or pro-rated refund. Duke Continuing Studies reserves the right to substitute instructors or change the day a course meets.

Tax Deductions

Course fees and expenses are sometimes tax deductible. Please consult an accountant concerning this matter. Non-credit programs at Duke Continuing Studies do not generate 1098-T forms, in accordance with the following IRS guideline:

  • Instructions for Forms 1098-E and 1098-T published by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, states “You do not have to file Form 1098-T or furnish a statement for: Courses for which no academic credit is offered, even if the student is otherwise enrolled in a degree program…”