Search Results for 'Science Policy'

Open Lecture: The Science and Policy of Sustainable Energy

In collaboration with the Areces Foundation and the AEEE, Economics for Energy organizes an academic workshop devoted to the state-of-the-art analysis and debate on topics of interest for the center with a small number of presentations provided by leading researchers in the field. The workshop will take place on February 15th (from 10.00 to 13.30) and targets researchers in the fields of energy and environmental economics. Those interested in participating in the workshop should send an email to 19:00: Seminar by Daniel Kammen in Madrid: "Open Session: The Science and Policy of Sustainable Energy"

Coronavirus epidemic snarls science worldwide

For the original in Science, click here.

Coronavirus epidemic snarls science worldwide

Robert F. Service

Like most universities in China, the campus of Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan is deserted.


The coronavirus epidemic now racing across China is forcing Jeffrey Erlich, a Canadian neuroscientist at New York University Shanghai, to weigh his science against concern for his staff. Erlich performs animal experiments at a neighboring university; as part of efforts to control the illness, known as COVID-19, officials there have asked him to halt the studies and use as few staff as possible to take care of his animals. But he is training mice and other species on very complex tasks; the interruption could set him back 6 to 9 months. “It's really hard balancing the research productivity of the lab and the safety and comfort of my staff,” he says. “When you've invested years of work into experiments, where do you draw the line about what's considered essential?”

Erlich is just one of thousands of scientists in China whose work is suffering. Universities across the country have been closed since the Lunar New Year, 25 January. Access to labs is restricted, and projects have been mothballed, fieldwork interrupted, and travel severely curtailed. Scientists elsewhere in the world are feeling the impact as well, as collaborations with China are on pause and many scientific meetings, some as far away as June, have been canceled or postponed.

The damage to research pales compared with the human suffering wrought by the virus. As Science went to press, the total number of cases had risen to 73,332, almost 99% of them in China, and 1873 deaths had been counted; the specter of a pandemic is still very real. Still, for individual researchers the losses can be serious—and stressful. “Basically, everything has completely stopped,” says John Speakman, who runs an animal behavior lab at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing. “The disruption is enormous. The stress on the staff is really high.” But Speakman says he understands why the Chinese government closed universities and institutes. “It's annoying, but I completely support what they have done,” he says.

Disruptions are particularly acute in Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, which are almost completely cut off from the outside world. “I'm working more now than ever before the epidemic,” says Sara Platto, a professor of animal behavior at Jianghan University in Wuhan. But she faces major obstacles: Faculty and students living on campus are confined to their apartments, and Platto, who lives off-campus, can venture outside only once every 3 days. She is working with colleagues in Beijing who are studying the relationship of the novel virus to another coronavirus isolated from a pangolin. But a paper she is writing has been delayed because her notes are in her office and she can't get back on campus.

The situation is not much better in other cities. “Unfortunately, the virus is very annoying with regards to work,” says Jingmai O'Connor, a paleontologist at CAS's Institute for Vertebrate Paleontology in Beijing. “There is no one working the collection, no one to sign paperwork so things can't get done, overseas travel is canceled. … No samples can be analyzed, all we can do is work on preexisting data on our computers,” O'Connor says. “It sucks!”

Some researchers in China have switched from lab work to writing papers and grant applications. The National Science Foundation of China has postponed grant application deadlines by several weeks, giving researchers time to catch up. Online classes, which many universities and institutes have ramped up to keep students on schedule, are also keeping scientists busy. Poo Muming, a neuroscientist at CAS's Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, says he is teaching daily 2-hour neurobiology lectures: “Surprisingly, there are thousands of people tuning in each day.”

China's lockdown is felt even half a world away. Daniel Kammen, a renewable energy researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, says it is impeding his lab's efforts to help set up green transportation projects, including the rollout of electric taxis, throughout China.

But labs working on the fight against COVID-19 are in overdrive. At Tsinghua University in Beijing, Zhang Linqi has switched from HIV to the novel coronavirus; his lab members even decided to forgo the Lunar New Year celebrations last month. “[We] decided we would celebrate it by conducting research,” Zhang says. The team synthesized and characterized the “spike” on the coronavirus's surface, a protein that helps it enter human cells; Zhang's lab has joined industrial partners to develop a vaccine targeting the spike. Countless infectious disease labs in the rest of the world have put their regular work on hold as well. “The main effect has been the need to triage work, to push other projects to the back burner while we help our Chinese colleagues analyze the vast amount of new COVID-19 data,” says Christopher Dye of the University of Oxford.

The spread of the virus has upended plans for numerous scientific conferences. So far, more than a dozen have been canceled or postponed—not just in China but elsewhere in Asia and Europe as well. Among the casualties are the International Society for Stem Cell Research's international symposium, which was scheduled for March in Shanghai, and the 2nd Singapore ECS Symposium on Energy Materials in early April. Organizers of the International Congress on Infectious Diseases, planned for 20–24 February in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, postponed their meeting, saying the priority for its registrants is to fight the coronavirus outbreak in their home countries.

Concern is also rising that the epidemic could disrupt the global medicine supply. China and India produce an estimated 80% of all active pharmaceutical ingredients, the raw materials for antibiotics and drugs for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. With many Chinese factories shuttered, stockpiles could run short. “This is a very acute issue now,” says Michael Osterholm, the head the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, which studies drug availability.

But Mariângela Simão, assistant director general for access to medicines and health products at the World Health Organization, says the agency sees no “immediate risk” of COVID-19 affecting supplies of essential medicines. Simão's team is in daily contact with international pharmaceutical associations, which track shipping disruptions from their member companies. Many companies stockpiled 2 to 4 months of their products prior to the Lunar New Year celebrations, she says. And while Hubei is home to some pharmaceutical companies, far more are in Shanghai and other parts of China that are less affected. But the picture could change if the virus isn't brought under control, Simão notes. “It will all depend on how the situations evolve with the outbreak.”

* With reporting by Dennis Normile, Gretchen Vogel, Jon Cohen, and freelance journalist Rebecca Kanthor in Shanghai.

October 2, RAEL Lunch: Chris Jones, “Using Data Science to Avoid an Existential Climate Crisis”

Using Data Science to Avoid an Existential Climate Crisis
Chris Jones, Director
CoolClimate Network
Jones-ChrisThe climate crisis is upon us. At this point there is little chance of meeting global, national and local climate targets. At best, our collective efforts will prevent some of the worst consequences of climate change from happening this century. This reality leaves many of us in an existential crisis. Will we look back on our lives and think that we’ve done enough?
In this follow up to last semester's "20 under-appreciated problems" talk, I’d like explore attendee's thoughts on how to best channel our collective resources to address the crisis. At least part of the answer lies in applying pressure on the largest levers and tapping latent potential for change. In this light, I will present recent work from EcoDataLab, an undergraduate internship program to automate GHG inventories, indicators and decision-making tools in California and the United States. This work is uncovering new insights and opportunities for policy, technology and behavior change to transform our economy from local to national scales.
Join the conversation to explore how we may support each other to be effective enough to avoid an existential climate crisis. This may involve occasional deep dives into data science, GHG accounting, climate policy and activism.

Laos Energy Modeling and Policy Analysis (LEMPA) Project

Meet the Laos Energy Modeling and Policy Analysis (Undergraduate!) Team: The focus of this inter-disciplinary and inter-university research group is to develop sustainable energy, water, and land-use scenarios for Laos, and to work with local stake-holders on the costs and benefits for communities, the nation, and the regional commerce in energy, water, food, timber and other commodities. Aaditee Kudrimoti Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 8.21.05 AMBio: Aaditee is a fourth-year at UC Berkeley studying political science and public policy with a concentration in energy, development, and international relations. Aaditeeis originally from Tucson, Arizona, where she began to develop an interest in international environmental affairs. At UC Berkeley, Aaditeeis working on projects in the political economy of Chinese development finance, rural electrification, and collective action. Aaditeehas become especially interested in how the rise of renewable technology is influencing energy diplomacy around the world. She hopes to pursue a career in academia and public policy and work on governance tools to build the bargaining capacity of LDCs against MNCs, foreign state-owned enterprises, etc. on the subject of FDI and other types of investment. She sees SWITCH-Laos as having the potential to serve as a critical tool in assisting the increase of the Lao people’s bargaining power over FDI in the energy sector and thus their autonomy in determining their own economic development. Outside school, Aaditee’s interests include dance, food journalism, and cooking.   Alex Lathem Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 8.20.29 AMBio: Alex Lathem is a third-year undergraduate at Yale University. He is a physics major with several years of experience using programming languages, including Python SQL, C, and Bash, to analyze scientific data. Previous research projects Alex has worked on include astrometry of near-Earth asteroids and the creation of a Hubble curve through the analysis of Type Ia supernovae. Alex spent the summer of 2019 working on the SWITCH model for China, and is very excited to apply the skills he learned there to a version for Laos. Outside of research, Alex is also interested in music, video game design, linguistics, and history.   Ashley Yip Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 8.19.15 AMBio: Ashley is a second-year undergraduate studying environmental science with an emphasis in global politics. She moved to New Mexico, where she developed an interest in environmental affairs. At UC Berkeley, she is involved in a pre-law association that helped her explore her interest in law and how she may integrate that into environmentalism. Off campus, she is working on a sex education reform project in Singapore with the Ministry of Education. She is constantly exploring the intersection between policy, education, and the environment. She hopes to return home to Singapore and pursue a career in international environmental policy or law within Southeast Asia. Ashley chose to work on SWITCH-Laos not only because greening ASEAN's economic development is essential to tackling climate change, but also because she is familiar with the demographic. She has done research in regards to both urban and rural agriculture in Asia and the US, and led research for environmental management in business operations. Outside of school, her interests include climbing, hiking, piano, and camper vans. Rachel Ng Screen Shot 2019-09-21 at 8.18.18 AM Bio: Rachel is a second-year Environmental Science and Data Science major. A Singapore-native, Rachel describes that SWITCH-Laos extremely important to her because it is an important step towards the energy security of Southeast Asia. She believes that the sustainable electrification of Southeast Asia is key to regional grid stability and energy trade. She is pursuing SWITCH-Laos as critical in leading the way towards sustainable electrification. Rachel is interested in the intersectionality between climate change and community, exploring how community based issues caused by climate change can be alleviated through data. Furthermore, Rachel is currently concerned about equal access to education and volunteers weekly as a mentor to elementary school students. In the future, she hopes to return to Singapore and guide environmental change through creating an ecosystem of sustainable communities and businesses. Her hobbies include dance, rock climbing and water sports.

Foreign Policy editorial: The Beautiful Rivers — And the Dammed

To access the article, click here. The Beautiful Rivers—And the Dammed Advances in solar and wind power mean that hydropower is no longer the only renewable game in town—and that’s good news for the world’s rivers. BY JEFF OPPERMANCHRIS WEBERDANIEL KAMMEN NOVEMBER 23, 2018, 9:05 AM Foreign Policy - Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 10.33.05 PM Figure: Water is released from the floodgates of the Xiaolangdi dam on the Yellow River near Luoyang, China on June 29, 2016. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) In October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report outlining strategies the world can pursue to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius and maintain healthy economies and ecosystems. But unless we are smart about how we implement that blueprint, it could cause irreparable damage to the world’s great rivers. The panel’s report urges a rapid transition to low-carbon, renewable sources of electricity. That call to action could trigger expanded investment in hydropower, which is currently the world’s main source for that kind of energy (70 percent as of 2017). But if that development follows the pattern of earlier dam-building, it could accelerate an alarming loss of rivers and their resources, including of the fish that feed hundreds of millions of people. The case of the Mekong River puts the problem into sharp relief. The river is the world’s most productive freshwater fishery—it provides nearly 20 percent of the annual global freshwater fish harvest, the primary source of protein for tens of millions of people in the region. Already, several hydropower dams on the Mekong are under construction or are moving through the planning process. Scientists estimate that those dams, if completed, will cut the river’s annual harvest by half. With the Mekong Delta’s sand supply cut off, scientists project that it will sink and shrink, with more than half underwater by the end of the century. The dams are also projected to trap within their reservoirs more than 90 percent of the sand that would otherwise flow into the Mekong Delta, which is home to 17 million people and produces 90 percent of Vietnam’s rice exports. With its sand supply cut off, scientists project that the delta will sink and shrink, with more than half underwater by the end of the century. It is easy to hear such stories and conclude that the world faces an agonizing dilemma: Must we sacrifice our rivers to save our climate? Even just a few years ago, that trade-off seemed unavoidable. With wind and solar power limited by their expense and variability, global hydropower was projected to nearly double by 2050. Massive dams were under construction or planned for many of the world’s great rivers, including the Yangtze, Mekong, and most tributaries of the Amazon. Some governments used climate and renewable energy objectives to justify these projects, even as scientists quantified their impacts and affected communities and indigenous groups protested. But we do not need to sacrifice rivers for zero-carbon energy. In the last two years, solar energy has rapidly become more economically viable due to technological improvements and to economies of scale in production and deployment. Whereas solar energy used to cost 20 cents or more per kilowatt-hour, new projects in Chile, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia have come in at one-tenth that cost. Wind energy costs have likewise plummeted. In 2017, a winning bid for a new wind farm in Mexico featured costs of around 2 cents per kWh. That was half the previous year’s lowest bid there. This makes solar and wind the price leaders across much of the world. Even with falling costs, the variability of wind and solar power remain a challenge. Simply put, in order for these technologies to offer reliable, round-the-clock electricity generation, there needs to be a way to store power when the wind is blowing and the sun is shining and then deploy it when the wind dies down or the sun sets. Fortunately, the costs for storage technologies are plummeting as well, with the cost of lithium ion batteries, capable of grid-scale storage, dropping by about 90 percent over the past few years. New technologies are emerging as well. For example, a Chilean solar power plant that uses molten salt as storage recently offered to provide 24-hour baseload electricity at less than 5 cents per kWh. That is comparable to or cheaper than most hydropower and fossil fuel options. Tesla and Google X, meanwhile, are pursuing “moonshot” solutions for storage technologies. Also tipping the scales toward wind and solar is that, among large infrastructure projects, hydropower dams have among the worst performance in terms of delays and cost overruns, in part due to the conflict and controversy surrounding them. Whereas some dams take a decade to complete, wind and solar power can be delivered through rapid, smaller-scale, and lower-risk projects that tend to engender far less conflict. Governments are taking note. Thailand earlier this year signaled that it would delay signing a power purchase agreement for Pak Beng, a 912-megawatt hydropower dam that Laos is planning for the Mekong. In announcing the delay, the country stated that it needed to revisit its energy strategy since other renewable sources, including wind and solar, were becoming increasingly viable. Thailand was slated to buy 90 percent of the dam’s electricity, so its change of plans could spell the end of the project. In Guyana, meanwhile, rising cost estimates and delays for the Amaila Falls hydropower project led the government and financiers to transfer funding intended for the dam toward a 100-megawatt solar project. The rapidly evolving renewable energy landscape doesn’t mean an end to hydropower, but rather a shift in its role. Hydropower reservoirs are currently the dominant form of energy storage for grids, and although other forms of storage are improving, they will continue to provide critical storage services in the near future. Upgraded older dams and strategically planned new projects, carefully located to minimize environmental and social disruption, can emphasize energy storage to facilitate adding large increments of wind and solar into a grid. Although it is now possible to build affordable, low-carbon wind and solar systems, they still face constraints, including political and social preferences for large infrastructure projects. Pak Beng may have been paused, but other dam projects on the Mekong and on other key rivers are moving forward. It would be a great tragedy if the renewable revolution arrived just a few years too late to save the world’s great rivers. Market reforms and new financial mechanisms can accelerate the adoption of more sustainable energy systems, as can innovative science. For example, the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley recently developed and is using an energy planning model for Laos. The lab found that investments in solar panels (backed up by existing hydropower) could meet that nation’s objectives for selling electricity to neighbors—with greater returns and lower risks than the planned dams that threaten the Mekong’s fish harvests and the viability of its delta. There’s no need to continue accepting tragic trade-offs between healthy rivers and low-cost, reliable, and renewable electricity. The renewable revolution provides an opportunity to have both. Governments, funders, developers, and scientists should seize it. Jeff Opperman is the World Wildlife Fund’s global lead scientist for freshwater. Twitter: @jjopperman Chris Weber is the World Wildlife Fund’s global lead scientist for climate and energy. Daniel Kammen is a professor in and the chair of the Energy and Resources Group and a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley. He has been a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a science envoy for the U.S. State Department. Twitter: @dan_kammen Foreign Policy -    

Pontifical Academy of Sciences: Declaration of Health

This declaration is based on the data and concepts presented at the workshop: Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 7.03.24 AM

 Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience. Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. People take sick, for example, from breathing high levels of smoke from fuels used in cooking or heating. There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general. Technology, which, linked to business interests, is presented as the only way of solving these problems, in fact proves incapable of seeing the mysterious network of relations between things and so sometimes solves one problem only to create others.

O God of the poor, Help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, So, precious in your eyes. Bring healing to our lives, That we may protect the world and not prey on it, That we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.

Pope Francis, Laudato si’

  Statement of the Problem With unchecked climate change and air pollution, the very fabric of life on Earth, including that of humans, is at grave risk. We propose scalable solutions to avoid such cat- astrophic changes. There is less than a decade to put these solutions in place to preserve our quality of life for genera- tions to come. The time to act is now. We human beings are creating a new and dangerous phase of Earth’s history that has been termed the Anthro- pocene. The term refers to the immense e ects of human activity on all aspects of the Earth’s physical systems and on life on the planet. We are dangerously warming the planet, leaving behind the climate in which civilization developed. With accelerating climate change, we put ourselves at grave risk of massive crop failures, new and re-emerging infectious diseases, heat extremes, droughts, mega-storms, oods and sharply rising sea levels. The economic activities that contribute to global warming are also wreaking other profound damages, including air and water pollution, deforestation, and massive land degrada- tion, causing a rate of species extinction unprecedented for the past 65 million years, and a dire threat to human health through increases in heart disease, stroke, pulmo- nary disease, mental health, infections and cancer. Climate change threatens to exacerbate the current unprecedent- ed ow of displacement of people and add to human mis- ery by stoking violence and con ict. The poorest of the planet, who are still relying on 19th century technologies to meet basic needs such as cooking and heating, are bearing a heavy brunt of the damages caused by the economic activities of the rich. The rich too are bearing heavy costs of increased ooding, mega-storms, heat extremes, droughts and major forest fres. Climate change and air pollution strike down the rich and poor alike. Principal Findings
  • Burning of fossil fuels and solid biomass release haz- ardous chemicals to the air.
  • Climate change caused by fossil fuels and other hu- man activities poses an existential threat to Homo sapiens and contribute to mass extinction of species. In addition, air pollution caused by the same activi- ties is a major cause of premature death globally.
Supporting data are summarized in the attached background section. Climate change and air pollution are closely interlinked because emissions of air pollutants and climate-altering greenhouse gases and other pollutants arise largely from humanity’s use of fossil fuels and bio- mass fuels, with additional contributions from agriculture and land-use change. This interlinkage multiplies the costs arising from our current dangerous trajectory, yet it can also amplify the benefits of a rapid transition to sustainable energy and land use. An integrated plan to drastically reduce climate change and air pollution is essential.
  • Regions that have reduced air pollution have achieved marked improvements in human health as a result.
We have already emitted enough pollutants to warm the climate to dangerous levels (warming by 1.5°C or more). The warming as well as the droughts caused by climate change, combined with the unsustainable use of aquifers and surface water, pose grave threats to availability of fresh water and food security. By moving rapidly to a zero-car- bon energy system – replacing coal, oil and gas with wind, solar, geothermal and other zero-carbon energy sources, drastically reducing emissions of all other climate altering pollutants and by adopting sustainable land use practices, humanity can prevent catastrophic climate change, while cutting the huge disease burden caused by air pollution and climate change.
  • We advocate a mitigation approach that factors in the low probability-high impact warming projections such as the one in twenty chances of a 6°C warming by 2100.
Proposed Solutions We declare that governments and other stakeholders should urgently undertake the scalable and practical solu- tions listed below: 1. Health must be central to policies that stabilize climate change below dangerous levels, drive ze- ro-carbon as well as zero-air pollution and prevent ecosystem disruptions. 2. All nations should implement with urgency the glob- al commitments made in Agenda 2030 (including the Sustainable Development Goals) and the Paris Climate Agreement. 3. Decarbonize the energy system as early as possible and no later than mid-century, shifting from coal, oil and gas to wind, solar, geothermal and other ze- ro-carbon energy sources; 4. The rich not only expeditiously shift to safe energy and land use practices, but also provide nancing to the poor for the costs of adapting to climate change; 5. Rapidly reduce hazardous air pollutants, including the short-lived climate pollutants methane, ozone, black carbon, and hydro uorocarbons; 6. End deforestation and degradation and restore de- graded lands to protect biodiversity, reduce carbon emissions and to absorb atmospheric carbon into natural sinks;
7. In order to accelerate decarbonization there should be e ective carbon pricing informed by estimates of the social cost of carbon, including the health ef- fects of air pollution; 8. Promote research and development of technologies to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmos- phere for deployment if necessary; 9. Forge collaboration between health and climate scienc- es to create a powerful alliance for sustainability; 10. Promote behavioral changes bene cial for human health and protective of the environment such as increased consumption of plant-based diets; 11. Educate and empower the young to become the leaders of sustainable development; 12. Promote an alliance with society that brings togeth- er scientists, policy makers, healthcare providers, faith/spiritual leaders, communities and founda- tions to foster the societal transformation necessary to achieve our goals in the spirit of Pope Francis’s en- cyclical Laudato Si’.
To implement these 12 solutions, we call on health professionals to: engage, educate and advocate for cli- mate mitigation and undertake preventive public health actions vis-à-vis air pollution and climate change; inform the public of the high health risks of air pollution and cli- mate change. The health sector should assume its obliga- tion in shaping a healthy future. We call for a substantial improvement in energy e ciency; and electri cation of the global vehicle eet and all other downstream uses of fossil fuels. Ensure clean energy bene ts also protect so- ciety’s most vulnerable communities. There are numerous living laboratories including tens of cities, many universi- ties, Chile, California and Sweden, who have embarked on a pathway to cut both air pollution and climate change. These thriving models have already created 8 million jobs in a low carbon economy, enhanced the wellbeing of their citizens and shown that such measures can both sustain
economic growth and deliver tangible health bene ts for their citizens. Acknowledgements We especially thank the global leaders who spoke at the workshop: Honorable Jerry Brown, Governor of California, Honorable Governor Alberto Rodríguez Saá, the Governor of San Luis, Argentina, Honorable Dr. Marcelo Mena, Argentine Minister of Environment of Chile, Honorable Kevin de León, President Pro Tempore of California Senate, and Honorable Scott Peters of the US house of representatives. We also thank the contributions of the faith leaders: Rev Leith Anderson, President of the National Association for Evangelicals, USA; Rev Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, UK; Rev Mitch Hescox, CEO of Evangelical Environmental Net- work, USA. We thank Dr. Jeremy Farrar, CEO of the Wellcome Trust for his contributions as a speaker and for thoughtful ed- its of the document. We acknowledge the major contributions to the drafting of the declaration by Drs: Maria Neira (WHO), Andy Haines (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and Jos Lelieveld (Max Planck Inst of Chemistry, Mainz). For a list of speakers and panelists at the symposium, please see the agenda of the meeting attached at the end of this document. We are thankful to the sponsors of the workshop: Maria Neira of WHO; Drs Bess Marcus and Michael Pratt of Institute of Public Health at the University of California at San Diego; Drs Erminia Guarneri and Rauni King of the Miraglo Foundation. End of Declaration   Screen Shot 2017-11-07 at 6.43.43 AM

RAEL participates in the March for Science

From Alaska to Georgia, Why 6 Scientists Will March on Washington

APRIL 21, 2017
The Chronicle of Higher Education Thousands of scientists and their supporters are preparing to participate in the March for Science on Saturday, but the run-up to the event hasn’t been without controversy. Some scientists have charged that planning for the march contradicted larger goals of diversity,while other scientists have worried that the effort might appear partisan to the public, and thereby hurt the standing of scholars in the field. Despite the controversy, the scientists who plan to attend the main march, in Washington, D.C., as well as hundreds of smaller ones elsewhere, say they’re doing so with a primary goal in mind: to send the message that science matters. The Chronicle spoke to six scientists who will be traveling to the nation’s capital about their hopes and expectations for the day. Chris B. Schaffer, associate professor of biomedical engineering, Cornell University:
Courtesy Chris B. Schaffer
Mr. Schaffer, who has a background in policy and runs a small program for students who are interested in advocacy, said he would be traveling to D.C. with three buses of students. He said he hoped the march wouldn’t just carry the theme of "scientists against the Trump administration.""It’s exciting to see scientists wanting to come out and do something other than plug away at questions in their labs," he said. "I hope that this is a first step toward a much greater degree of engagement between scientists and the public." After the march, he hopes to see more scientists engage in "sustained, low-level commitments" such as regularly speaking in schools, offering pro bono advice to businesses, and lobbying local lawmakers. Ellen Chenoweth, Ph.D. student in ecology and marine biology, University of Alaska at Fairbanks:
Courtesy Ellen Chenoweth
Ms. Chenoweth does research on humpback whales and how they forage in the marine environment. She said that she’s "not usually much of a marcher" but that the March for Science "kind of spoke to me — I felt like I could make a difference."She said that she wanted to go to D.C. to make sure that rural researchers and young women were represented, not just "your typical lab-coat researchers." Accordingly, she will wear what she wears in the field, or at least a modified version of it. "I’d love to wear a full float suit, but I think it would be way too hot," she said. Ms. Chenoweth will fly to D.C. alone, but will carry a sign with the signatures of her friends and colleagues who couldn’t make it. "I’m hoping it’s a really positive event," she said. "I’m coming with an open mind. I’m hoping to be inspired by lots of other scientists, and I’m hoping that there’ll be a diversity of scientists represented." Chris Gunter, professor of pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine:
Courtesy Chris Gunter
Ms. Gunter, who also leads communications at the Marcus Autism Center, in Atlanta, will travel to D.C. from Georgia with her teenage son. As a science communicator, Ms. Gunter said she feels strongly that engagement is an important part of her job, and she wants people to see "that scientists are people too." Though she and her son thought about wearing costumes to the march, they decided to sport the official march T-shirts so that they would look more "everyday.""I’m hoping the march will energize people," said Ms. Gunter. "A sort of paralysis can set in when we hear over and over about threats to science. I think many of us are looking for ideas about what would be the best action to take to make a difference." Ms. Gunter recently joined the Atlanta chapter of 500 Women Scientists, a nationwide group of female researchers who advocate for equality in science. She said she hopes to get ideas from the march about what the organization could do in the future, whether that’s fighting budget cuts, improving science outreach and engagement, or taking legal action against discrimination. Bradley J. Cardinale, professor of natural resources, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor:
UM Photo Services, Austin Thomason
Mr. Cardinale’s research focuses on protecting the Great Lakes. Under President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018, deep cuts could force Mr. Cardinale and many of his colleagues to abandon their research, he said. "I see these as personal examples of a current administration that really doesn’t value science, and doesn’t value facts," he said. "Attending the march is my way of standing up and saying, like many other scientists, ‘Science is important for society.’"Mr. Cardinale will attend the march with his wife and two children. He laughed as he said his 8-year-old daughter was "very anxious to march and insist that politicians use evidence when making decisions." He said he would consider the march a success if it resulted in Mr. Trump’s getting "a legitimate scientist as an adviser in his cabinet." Maurice K. Crawford, associate professor of marine science, University of Maryland Eastern Shore:
Courtesy Maurice K. Crawford
Mr. Crawford is a fish ecologist who previously helped to shape the United States Agency for International Development’s climate-change policy. He said he wanted to attend the march in D.C. to send a message to the current Republican administration about the importance of using evidence in making policy. "My sense is that they’re abandoning that process," he said. While he doesn’t think that President Trump is likely to respond to the march, he hopes that people in Congress might.Mr. Crawford will travel with his wife, but he said he knows a number of colleagues at his university will also attend the march. He plans to carry a Star Wars-inspired sign that reads: "Fear leads to the dark side." Mr. Crawford, who is African-American, said he hasn’t followed the controversy over the march organizers’ handling of diversity and inclusion, but he doesn’t "expect to see many people that look like me." "As a student I could probably name every African-American in marine science in the country," he added. "I can’t do that anymore, so that is progress." Daniel M. Kammen, professor of energy, University of California at Berkeley:
Courtesy Daniel M. Kammen
As a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a science envoy for the U.S. State Department, Mr. Kammen has spent a lot of time thinking about how clean energy could shape foreign policy.He said he’s attending the March for Science because "science does appear to be under direct threat." Asked whether he’s allowed to participate in the march as a science envoy for the State Department, Mr. Kammen said, "No one has told me that I can’t." He’ll be meeting a handful of his students at the march. Mr. Kammen said he thinks the march’s success will be measured by the number of people who attend, and by the opportunities it creates for scientists and engineers to start conversations with the news media and to meet their representatives in D.C. "It pains me that we need to do this," he said, "but I’m hoping those conversations by a diverse set of researchers will be the really exciting outcome from this."

The Energy Challenge in Sub-​​Saharan Africa: A Guide for Advocates and Policy-​​Makers

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“The Energy Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa:

A Guide for Advocates and Policy-Makers”


12:00 - 1:30 p.m.


J.W. Marriott Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Refreshments will be served   Efforts to address the energy challenges in sub-Saharan Africa have been animated by two main debates. First, what is the role for renewable energy sources versus fossil fuels in addressing the Region’s generation shortfall? Second, what is the role for centralized versus distributed generation capacity in addressing energy poverty? The U.S. is an established partner in many African countries and has played an important role in helping to shape the Region’s energy systems. Under the new Administration, energy issues will remain central to development efforts, and these same debates will continue to influence the Region’s energy future.   Please join Oxfam and the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California Berkeley for the launch of two reports, each focusing on one of these debates. The launch will include a discussion with the authors of the reports who will share their expert perspectives and answer questions from the audience.   Who:  
  • Daniel M. Kammen,Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley; Founding Director of the
Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL); Science Envoy, U. S. State Department;
  • Nkiruka Avila, Research Scholar, RAEL, Energy and Resources Group, UC Berkeley
  • James Morrissey,Researcher, Oxfam America
  • Respondent: Katherine Steel, Energy Director, Power Africa
  • Moderator: Lisa Friedman,Editor, ClimateWire
  Where: J.W. Marriott Hotel - Washington, DC 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW (Entrance on 14th Street, just off the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue)   Please RSVP so we can get an accurate head count by January 26 to Ladeene Freimuth at: Oxfam America | +1 (202) 805 7459| Washington, DC | |   _________________________________________________________________________________________ For those who cannot attend, the documents on energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, and on gaps in on-grid energy services and systems that will be presented at the release event will go live on 1/31 at the Oxfam Project website:

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