NEWS In Memory of Paul Baer: champion of climate protection and equity

Paul Baer (1962 — 2016) – Memo­riam 

Paul was one of the first, and one of the most pas­sion­ate, stu­dents I met upon my move from Prince­ton to Berkeley.

Paul played a cen­tral role – along with Bar­bara Haya and Nate Hult­man – in work­ing through the sci­ence, pol­icy and legal story around an idea that was of some inter­est then, eigh­teen years ago, and is now very much on the global agenda: the need to fight for equity at a time of increas­ing inequality.

In fact, our team effort – the ‘cli­mate lab­o­ra­tory’ – was a won­der­ful and pro­duc­tive[1] fusion of the inter­ests, pas­sions, and skills of a num­ber of ERG stu­dents, post-​​doctoral fel­lows, and fac­ulty.  We were able to work between the­ory and prac­tice on how equity and envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice could evolve a project that that I had recently com­pleted at Prince­ton with – another ERGie – Ann Kinzig[2] – into an oper­a­tional pro­posal for the cli­mate nego­ti­a­tions.  Paul and Tom Athana­siou pub­lished Dead Heat two years later; a book that a decade of cli­mate cam­paign­ers car­ried and cited regularly.

In our cli­mate lab­o­ra­tory, and in the sub­se­quent years of work­ing, trav­el­ing, and debat­ing a wide range of top­ics with Paul one thing always stood out: his unflag­ging pas­sion for the project in the form of the peo­ple impacted by the lack of atten­tion to jus­tice and equity.

It is heart­en­ing to me that while Paul’s career and life stops after ERG were not always happy, they were always mean­ing­ful and cho­sen to bet­ter the lives of others.

I do, and will always miss you, Paul.

To down­load a copy of this memo­r­ial note, click here.


[1] Paul Baer, John Harte, Anto­nia Her­zog, John Hol­dren, Nate Hult­man, Daniel Kam­men, Bar­bara (Kresch) Haya, Richard Nor­gaard, and Leigh Ray­mond “Equal per capita emis­sion rights: the key to a viable cli­mate change pol­icy”, Sci­ence 289, 2287 (2000).

[2] Ann Kinzig and Daniel Kam­men (1998) “National tra­jec­to­ries of car­bon emis­sions: Analy­sis of pro­pos­als to fos­ter the tran­si­tion to low-​​carbon economies”, Global Envi­ron­men­tal Change, 8 (3), 183 – 208 (1998).

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