UT professor to serve as part of Biden administration

Lauren Nelson, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared as part of the July 20 flipbook.

Joshua Busby, associate professor of public affairs, is spending the next year as the senior advisor for climate in the U.S. Department of Defense under the Biden administration to try to move to cleaner energies “swiftly and peacefully”.

“It’s nice to work on an issue I care a lot about for an administration that I think is also supportive of the same goal,” Busby said.

During his time at the Pentagon, Busby will be part of a team that drafts major climate documents like the Climate Risk Analysis and the National Defense Strategy. He will also write statements for colleagues who will speak for the department on Capitol Hill.

Busby has been writing about climate change and security for nearly twenty years. He has previously received two grants from the Department of Defense, where he conducted vulnerability mapping to find the places that will be most strongly affected by climate change. He has also taught numerous courses covering environment and security at UT, which he said have helped prepare him to serve as part of the administration.

Busby said he wants to help the administration address how to avoid the possible outcomes of climate change.

“On the high end of ambitions, I hope to shape a number of these key documents in ways that prepare the U.S. better to address climate change here at home and internationally as a productive response for humanity,” Busby said.

Busby said some of the administration’s climate change concerns include deaths related to heat waves, danger from the increased intensity of cyclones and a reduction in resources due to irregular rainfall.

To prevent the most severe effects of climate change in the U.S., Busby said the administration hopes to invest in infrastructure that would prepare people for climate change and move towards clean energy so the effects don’t worsen.

Busby said there will also be international efforts to fight climate change, such as supporting other countries and providing funds for their fight against climate change.

Law student Caleb Ray is a former student of Busby and said that Busby cares deeply about his students and that it’s clear he has a passionate and detailed understanding of climate change.

“At the end of…every class I’ve been in with him, (he) certainly got emotional about how much he cares about the topic and how much we care about the topic,” Ray said.