Sen. Rosenberg and Quebec leaders form council to study transportation, climate

  • Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, speaks before signing the Paris Agreement on climate change, Friday, April 22, 2016 at U.N. headquarters. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

  • Speaker Robert DeLeo, left, Gov. Charlie Baker and Sen. Stan Rosenberg.

  • ROSENBERG

  • Jacques Chagnon —Wikimedia Commons

@amandadrane
Published: 12/6/2016 12:22:00 AM

A new international research council established by Massachusetts and Quebec to work on issues of mutual importance such as climate change and transportation is officially off and running.

Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg announced Monday the five council members he chose to represent the commonwealth. They will work in tandem with six Quebec appointments chosen by Quebec National Assembly President Jacques Chagnon.

The new members comprise the Massachusetts-Quebec Research Council.

The body, agreed upon by the two leaders in August, will serve as the research complement to the Massachusetts-Quebec Cooperation Conference, which convenes roughly every six months. The Massachusetts appointments reflect an equal split among the Legislature, higher education and the business sector.

One of Rosenberg’s higher education picks, Michael Malone — vice chancellor for research and engagement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst — said climate change is an area ripe for tackling by the new body.

“That’s probably an area where we can find some mutually interesting areas for research,” Malone said, referring to the Northeast Climate Science Center headquartered on state’s flagship campus. “It makes perfect sense to think about the region.”

Hydropower is another area of interest for the council, said Pete Wilson, a spokesman for Rosenberg. He said Canada has seen success with renewable energy and has excess to export. Meanwhile, he said the Legislature recently passed a bill on hydropower procurement.

“We hope that people from both sides will bring ideas to the table to discuss,” Wilson said, adding that transportation is another topic the body is targeting. “We can learn from each other but we’re also trying to establish more connectivity between the two regions.”

Malone said not only is the international component of the council important, but also the inter-agency collaboration.

“I think it’s really a great way to get universities, industry and government folks together and talking simultaneously,” Malone said. “It’s the three-way collaboration that’s very exciting.”

Other Massachusetts members are Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton, Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell, MassChallenge Managing Director Scott Bailey, and Simin Nikbin Meydani, director of Tufts’ Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

Wilson said the Massachusetts-Quebec Cooperation Conference, which spawned the new research council, was established by House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Therese Murray, the previous Senate president.

Canadian members of the Council are National Assembly members Ghislain Bolduc and Sylvain Gaudreault, Sophie D’Amours of the Université Laval, Québec’s Chief Scientist Rémi Quirion, Ecofuel CEO Richard Cloutier, and Albert De Luca, president of the board of directors of the Association for the Development of Research and Innovation of Québec.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.


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