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.
To watch the interview and discussion video, click here on the KQED website. Fighting Climate Change Amid Wildfires, Extreme Weather and Presidential Denial On Monday, during a trip to California, President Trump refused to acknowledge the role climate change has played in generating wildfires that have burned more than 3 million acres and killed at least 26 […]
New RAEL-WWF joint piece on clean energy for cultural and biodiversity conservation in the Mekong region. China Dialog, September 2, 2020. For access, click here. And for the version on the RAEL pages, click here.
New paper by Annelise Gill-Wiehl and Daniel Kammen in The Beam: Available on the RAEL publications website: https://rael.berkeley.edu/publication/now-we-are-cooking-with-gas-how-interdisciplinary-solutions-and-local-outreach-can-light-a-fire-under-clean-stove-adoption/
Watch the conversation: YouTube — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79YwbcE1Zqk&feature=youtu.be
Lessons From 2009 for a Green Stimulus Today EMMA FOEHRINGER MERCHANT AUGUST 10, 2020 For the original: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/what-a-new-green-stimulus-can-learn-from-2009 A clean-energy company funded through a Department of Energy loan recently filed for bankruptcy. Tonopah Solar Energy, the builder of a 110-megawatt concentrated solar power site, joined the ranks of bankrupt Solyndra and Abound Solar. Those companies all received money […]
Topic: In looking ahead to entirely decarbonizing the electric generation system, there is a debate about the use of nuclear generation. One school of thought argues that nuclear will be essential to successful decarbonization, while the other feels that this can be done entirely using renewable technologies, essentially wind and solar. This research investigates the […]