Isa Ferrall is a MS/Ph.D. student in the Energy and Resources Group and Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab at the University of California, Berkeley. She is interested in the impact of renewable energy on rural electrification, global development, and the domestic energy sector. Previously, Isa gained experience on both the technical and applied sides of renewable energy. She researched innovative energy materials at Duke University as a National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholar and at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as a Department of Energy Intern. She also has analyzed system data for Off-Grid Electric, a solar home system company operating in east Africa. Isa graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University in 2015 with distinction in Mechanical Engineering and a Certificate in Energy and the Environment.
Jessica Reilly who is currently supported by a Fulbright Fellowship to study coastal climate change in Mexico, has now also been awarded the Institute of Current World Affairs Fellowship. Over the next two years, Jessica and her partner Josh Moman will sail the Pacific coast of Central America, cross through the Panama canal, and move into the Caribbean to explore the region by way of the ocean, looking at climate change. She will use her mapping experience to gather data and build maps showing vulnerability to sea level rise for each country. By sustainably harnessing wind and sun to travel, Jessica hopes to access remote locations, share the ocean-bound experience of local communities, and listen to and document stories of climate adaptation at the shores of Latin America and the Caribbean with words, images, and video.
Nkiruka Avila is a graduate student in the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. She graduated with Summa cum Laude honors in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various sectors of the energy industry, from engineering design and production to end-use distribution and marketing. Her current research interests include renewable energy integration, sustainable energy development and rural electrification.
For a video summarizing the program, click here.
The impacts of climate change are already being felt across Africa, leading to greater natural resource scarcity, which has contributed to violent conflict in Darfur (Sudan), Mali, and Somalia, among others. This trend is likely to continue, as Africa is projected to be among geographies most severely impacted by climate change. Though the pathway from climate change to greater natural resource scarcity to violence is not a direct one, the risks of conflict will increase as livelihoods are threatened due to greater scarcity of food, water or arable land. With lower government capacities and limited funding to adapt to climate change impacts, and a relatively weak conflict prevention/resolution architecture in place, climate change is likely to have an increasingly important impact on future conflicts in Africa.
This assessment necessitates new policy planning and development thinking. Despite the threats, the broader global interest in climate change also presents significant opportunities to mobilize new interest and momentum for promoting green development in Africa. This can contribute to an effective conflict prevention strategy, and can also drive increased investment and more diversified economies, improved governance and development outcomes, and greater political stability. This project aims to build the theoretical and practical case for a new model for green development, which can provide both political and economic returns, while delivering both climate sensitive and conflict sensitive development.
Our 3–5 year goal is to seed and support a successful “green” pilot in a still to be selected geography in Africa. A successful pilot will require political buy-in and local political champions, as well as new external investment to support green development projects. This can serve as a model that helps demonstrate the political and economic potential of a green approach, the economic potential of a green framework to external investors, as well as effective conflict prevention. It is our hope that the model, once proven, will be scalable in other geographies.
Rob is interested in sustainability, resource use, and environmental change in the developing world. He explores these issues principally, though not exclusively, in the context of energy. He became interested in the intersection of energy, society, and environment while working as a teacher in the US Peace Corps in a remote community in northwestern Kenya. He uses an interdisciplinary approach that places equal emphasis on qualitative and quantitative methods across a range of scales, from local to regional and global. Follow this link for more information about his past and current research.
My research focuses on exposure to, and health effects of, environmental, behavioural, nutritional, and metabolic risk factors and their interventions at the population level. The research activities routinely combine concepts, data, and methods from a range of environmental, health, and quantitative sciences with a systems perspective. We collect and analyze primary field data on environmental risk factors (primarily air pollution). We also develop and apply analytical models to combinations of primary and secondary data to estimate health effects of risk factor exposures and interventions. You can learn about our past and ongoing studies, and see their results and publications, through the Environment and Global Health Research Group page.
Biomass fuels (wood, charcoal, dung, and agricultural residues) are vital to basic welfare and economic activity in developing nations, especially in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where they meet more than 90% of household energy needs in many nations. Combustion of biofuels emit pollutants that currently cause over 1.6 million annual deaths globally (400,000 in SSA. Because most of these deaths are among children and women, biomass use is directly or indirectly related to multiple Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including environmental sustainability, reducing child mortality, and gender equity.
Kammen speaking in Managua on an ECAP sponsored trip to facilitate community energy initiatives on the RAAS (Region Autonoma de Atlantico Sur).
Visiting Kaka Creek, clean energy and biodiversity research and eco-tourism site in the RAAS.
Madison K. Hoffacker is a full-time Sustainable Energy Research Specialist jointly with the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley and the Center for Conservation Biology at UC Riverside. Madison graduated from Chapman University with a degree in Environmental Science and Policy, and previously worked for the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science (Stanford, California).
Hernandez RR, Hoffacker MK, Field CB (2015) Efficient use of land to meet sustainable energy needs. Nature Climate Change, doi:10.1038/NCLIMATE2556 [PDF] Featured in: The Washington Post, ECNmag.com, Grist.org, ComputerWorld.com, and GreenTechMedia.com
Hernandez RR, Hoffacker MK, Field CB (2014) The Land-Use Efficiency of Big Solar. Environmental Science and Technology, doi: 10.1021/es4043726. [PDF]
Funk JL, Hoffacker MK, and Matzek V (2014) Summer irrigation, grazing and seed addition differentially influence community composition in an invaded serpentine grassland. [PDF]