Sunshine and Skepticism on Energy Issues at Aspen Environment Forum

June, 2011
National Geographic
Dan Kammen spoke on the Aspen Environmental Forum 2011 on the necessity to embrace a holistic transformation of our energy system. The National Geographic covered the event and shot a video:

"[...] There were plenty of ideas on how to improve the process of producing and distributing energy — and plenty of counterbalancing viewpoints on the hurdles involved. Moderator David Owen of The New Sen. Bingaman, D. Kammen, J. Rogers (Duke CEO), Russ Ford (Shell), David Owen (New Yorker)Yorker solicited thoughts from Rogers, Russ Ford of Shell, Dan Kammen of the World Bank and Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico.

Probably the most re-Tweeted comment during this discussion was Kammen’s observation that “We have not seen the ‘go to the moon’ speech yet on clean energy.” Part of his point was that, both governmentally and culturally, we do not yet have an overarching, systems-oriented view of energy problems. For example, Kammen noted, there are policies that focus on energy generation, but not transmission; there are clean cookstove initiatives that never concern themselves with how the wood for those stoves can be sustainably sourced. What’s needed is a holistic approach to such problems."

Peak Oil, Peak Water, Peak Resources, Peak Planet: Building a Currency for the 21st Century

In a planet running out of resources, the most important public policy tool may be the measuring stick.

This becomes important to remember amid the remarkable swings of pessimism and guarded optimism we’ve seen over the past two years on the ability of individual nations to scale-up the sustainable energy agenda.

COP15 in Copenhagen 2009 was a step backwards, while COP16 in Cancun in December 2010 was a guarded step forward.   On the positive side at the national level, the United Kingdom has made a very significant step by establishing a floor price and an escalation schedule for the price of carbon emissions, while Mexico and Brazil have launched ambitious energy efficiency and clean energy development plans.  At the sub-national level, China is launching experimental regional carbon cap-and-trade schemes.

By popular vote, during a very down economy California upheld by a wide margin a historic greenhouse gas reduction plan (AB32, the Pavley-Nuñez Bill) in the 2011 general elections.  Moving forward on January 1, 2012, California will take a major step and  launch a carbon market. I worked on AB32 as it was being written, and more recently, as part of the committee that advised the state on the market rules to govern the carbon exchange.

Down with coal! The grassroots anti-coal movement goes global

May, 2011
Grist.org
South of the proposed site of coal plant in Malaysia, coastal communities depend on fishing for their livelihoodsGrist.org covers the Sabah Green SURF project in Malaysia, which Dan Kammen has been involved in for several years:

Replacing coal with renewables in Malaysia

Read Kammen's report

Malaysian locals, environmentalists, and RAEL Director Dan Kammen have won the battle against a controversial coal plant in the Malaysian state of Sabah in northern Borneo. The Malaysian State and Federal government finally announced after a long struggle that they would "pursue other alternative sources of energy, namely gas, to meet Sabah's power supply needs." Proposed for an undeveloped beach on the north-eastern coast of Borneo, the coal plant, according to critics, would have threatened the Coral Triangle, one of the world's most biodiverse marine ecosystems, and Tabin Wildlife Reserve, home to Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos and Bornean orangutans. Local fishermen feared that discharges from the plant would have imperiled their livelihood.

Summer GSR position at RAEL

The Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) seeks an experienced graduate student researcher (GSR) to assist in the development of a greenhouse gas emissions factor database for electric utilities throughout the U.S. The final product will be an online and handheld tool that evaluates emissions profiles of electricity purchased at fine geographic scales. The qualified candidate will enhance and expand existing RAEL datasets and analysis.

Requirements: 

  • Strong quantitative skills and proficiency with MS Excel or similar software 
  • Comfortable explaining and discussing technical issues with supervisors & colleagues 

Preferred: 

  • GIS 
  • Graphic & UI design skills a plus 

Details: 

  • Schedule: up to 40 hours per week during summer 
  • Location: Sutardja Hall 

To apply send C.V. and brief cover letter to RAEL program manager, Chris Jones: cmjones@berkeley.edu