Governors Island, ‘Dedicated Outpost’ to Advance Climate Goals

Duke experts tour the future home of the New York Climate Exchange, a public/private partnership for climate research and teaching

Toddi Steelman standing with arms crossed on Governors Island with tall buildings standing behind a green field and a cloudy sky

Toddi Steelman, vice president and vice provost for climate and sustainability at Duke, founding director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Tim Profeta; and Sara Oliver, executive in residence in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering, ride a ferry on the Hudson River from Manhattan to Governors Island.

“We will be part of a larger ecosystem of partners who will bring our working examples to New York, learn from others and bring those lessons home to Durham and beyond,” Steelman said.

The location will be a well-resourced platform for Duke and Exchange partners, said Jerome P. Lynch, Vinik Dean of the Pratt School of Engineering.

“Duke’s institutional leadership in tech commercialization will now have even closer access to a major financial capital with a growing portfolio in climate innovation,” Lynch said. “Duke start-ups will find quicker and greater access to venture capital to launch.”

Past meets future: A former military chapel, Our Lady of the Sea is now a living art exhibit on Governors Island, future home of The New York Climate Exchange.

What was once U.S. Coast Guard housing on Governors Island will soon be the site of the New York Climate Exchange.

Climate Week NYC began September 17 and featured Duke experts including Ashley Ward (heat policy) and Christopher Monroe (quantum computing) leading and participating in discussions. Dozens of Duke students joined protests calling for governments to end support of fossil fuels.

The climate ideas generated now will be the solutions incorporated in the plans, programs, and research activities on Governors Island, said Sara Oliver, executive in residence in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the Pratt School of Engineering. 

“We all have a role to play,” Oliver said. “Once you come to Duke, it is for life – on campus and beyond.  NYCE is just one example of the many areas and initiatives that Duke is invested in as we work with our Forever Duke Community to address climate challenges and accelerate positive impacts at a local and global level.”

The New York Climate Exchange on Governors Island is set to open in 2028.