For the video of the talk: click here.
Talk delivered February 19, 2018
Daniel Kammen is a professor of energy at the University of California, Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group (which he chairs), the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering. Recently, he gave a talk at MITEI examining the current state of clean energy innovation and implementation, both in the U.S. and internationally. Using a combination of analytical and empirical approaches, he discussed the strengths and weaknesses of clean energy efforts on the household, city, and regional levels.
Q: Your team has built energy transition models for several countries, including Chile, Nicaragua, China, and India. Can you describe how these models work and how they can inform global climate negotiations like the Paris Accords?
A: My laboratory has worked with three governments to build open-source models of the current state of their energy systems and possible opportunities for improvement. This model, SWITCH, is an exceptionally high-resolution platform for examining the costs, reliability, and carbon emissions of energy systems as small as Nicaragua’s and as large as China’s. The exciting recent developments in the cost and performance improvements of solar, wind, energy storage, and electric vehicles permit the planning of dramatically decarbonized systems that have a wide range of ancillary benefits: increased reliability, improved air quality, and monetizing energy efficiency, to name just a few. With the Paris Climate Accords placing 80% or greater decarbonization targets on all nations’ agendas (sadly, except for the U.S. federal government), the need for an ‘honest broker’ for the costs and operational issues around power systems is key.
Q: At the end of your talk, you mentioned a carbon footprint calculator that you helped create. How much do individual behaviors matter in addressing climate change?
A: The carbon footprint, or CoolClimate project, is a visualization and behavioral economics tool that can be used to highlight the impacts of individual decisions at the household, school, and city level. We have used it to support city-city competitions for “California’s coolest city,” to explore the relative impacts of lifetime choices (buying an electric vehicle versus or along with changes of diet), and more.
Q: You touched on the topic of the “high ambition coalition,” a COP21 goal of keeping warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Can you expand on this movement and the carbon negative strategies it would require?
A: As we look at paths to a sustainable global energy system, efforts to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require not only zeroing out industrial and agricultural emissions, but also removing carbon from the atmosphere. This demands increasing natural carbon sinks by preserving or expanding forests, sustaining ocean systems, and making agriculture climate– and water-smart. One pathway, biomass energy with carbon capture and sequestration, has both supporters and detractors. It involves growing biomass, using it for energy, and then sequestering the emissions.
For the original Washington Post, story, click here. HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — At the end of a cul-de-sac called Fresh Way, two bright green structures the size of shipping containers gleam in the warm sunlight, quietly sucking from the air the carbon dioxide that is warming the planet. One structure houses computer monitors and controls. Atop the […]
The jury’s still out, but the evidence is in. Diego Aguilar-Canabal, Editor in Chief, The Bay City Beacon For the original article, click here. People are dying on the streets of San Francisco: in tents, on crosswalks, and on bikes. While not alike in circumstance nor cause, these tragedies share one similarity: they are entirely preventable deaths, with complementary policies […]
For a direct link to the article in Scientific American, click here. Highland Park’s streetlights were torn out in 2011 because the predominantly black Detroit suburb couldn’t pay its electricity bill after the 2008 economic downturn. Today street lamps once again cast reassuring pools of light—and this time they are cheaper, because they harvest the energy […]
Summary: Energy poverty, is arguably the most pervasive and crippling threat society faces today. Lack of access impacts several billion people, with immediate health, educational, economic, and social damages. Furthermore, how this problem is addressed will result in the largest accelerant of global pollution, or the largest opportunity to pivot away from fossil-fuels onto the needed clean energy […]
For the free version under rael.berkeley.edu publications, click here. For The New York Times, click here.
Mission: The mission of the Navajo Sustainability Symposium is to engage business, academia, communities, NGOs and others in active discussion of the issues of sustainability for the Navajo Nation including, but not limited to, sustainable business practices, sustainable energy transitions, energy conservation, adopting and implementing sustainable practices, creating sustainable neighborhoods, water conservation and purity, natural […]