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Full video of presentation, “Innovating for the clean energy economy” @ MIT Energy Initiative

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.

 

MEASURING SOIL CARBON IS KEY FOR FARMERS TO BE PAID FOR SEQUESTERING CARBON

Agri­cul­ture can play a huge role in seques­ter­ing car­bon and decreas­ing the amount of green­house gasses in the atmos­phere. Up to now, though, there has been lit­tle finan­cial incen­tive for farm­ers to do so, due to the inabil­ity to mea­sure car­bon in the soil. That’s chang­ing, though. Last June, Indigo announced its Ter­ra­ton Ini­tia­tive that […]

The missing conversation around clean cooking
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For a recent arti­cle in The Beam, on gen­der, tech­nol­ogy and cook­ing, click here. This arti­cle by Grace Mbungu and Daniel Kam­men was fea­tured in The Beam #10 – Local Heroes of the Energy Tran­si­tion. The chal­lenge of pro­vid­ing clean cook­ing energy ser­vices to over 2.7 bil­lion peo­pleand 850 mil­lion or more with­out reli­able elec­tric­ity ser­vices world­wide is […]

Costa Is Now Serving Food From A Sci-​​Fi Desert Farm
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For the orig­i­nal piece in Forbes, click here. Jan­u­ary 17, 2020 by: Emanuela Bar­bi­roglio Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises ships call­ing at Aqaba, Jor­dan, are offer­ing their guests climate-​​​​friendly veg­eta­bles from an inno­v­a­tive farm out­side the city. The new part­ner­ship brings together the Costa Group and the Nor­we­gian non-​​​​profit Sahara For­est Project Foun­da­tion. The ini­tia­tive will deliver […]

Announcement: Assistant Professor position available in Development Engineering with an expected start date of July 1, 2020
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Take a look at an excit­ing Assis­tant Pro­fes­sor posi­tion that is avail­able at UC Berke­ley rel­e­vant to much of the work tak­ing place in RAEL:  click here.   RECRUITMENT PERIOD Open Octo­ber 7th, 2019 through Fri­day, Dec 13, 2019 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time) DESCRIPTION The Col­lege of Engi­neer­ing and the Blum Cen­ter for Devel­op­ing Economies […]

Kammen disputes the veracity of Jonathan Franzen’s essay on climate change.

Orig­i­nally pub­lished on the KQED news & dis­cus­sion pages, Sept 10, 2019. The cli­mate apoc­a­lypse is com­ing and there’s noth­ing we can do to stop it. At least that’s the the­sis of writer Jonathan Franzen, whose recent essay in The New Yorker, titled “What if We Stopped Pre­tend­ing?,” tapped into a fear about a cli­mate apoc­a­lypse that […]

Upcoming Events

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Robert Frank and Dan Kammen in conversation on the Psychology of Climate Change
January 28 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Goldman School of Public Policy

Descrip­tion Robert Frank will visit GSPP on Mon­day, Jan. 27, from 3–5 pm in the Liv­ing Room to dis­cuss his upcom­ing book, Under the Influ­ence. The book will offi­cially be for sale on Tues­day, Jan. 28 in stores. “After more than three decades, the pub­lic is finally begin­ning to grasp what a seri­ous threat global warm­ing poses. What’s miss­ing from […]

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Join Dan Kammen at the MIT Club of Northern California talk, “Has the clean energy revolution finally begun?”
January 29 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Event web­site: click here. PCC’s Octo­ber 2018 Spe­cial Report on Global Warm­ing of 1.5 ˚C (IPCC 2018) is a stark reminder of the global climate-​​​​change threat and a strongly moti­vat­ing call to abate it. While the chal­lenges keep grow­ing, our tools to green the econ­omy have never been greater.  What is crit­i­cal today is to rapidly […]

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Beyond the Crisis Narrative: Rohingya Statelessness and its Implications for Bangladesh
February 7 @ 8:30 am - 7:00 pm
Stephens Hall (ISAS Conf. Room)

Samira Sid­dique is a co-​​​​organizer, par­tic­i­pant and speaker in: The Subir and Malini Chowd­hury Cen­ter for Bangladesh Stud­ies and the Insti­tute for South Asia Stud­ies are host­ing a sym­po­sium titled “Beyond the Cri­sis Nar­ra­tive: Rohingya State­less­ness and its Impli­ca­tions for Bangladesh” on Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 7, 2020, with keynote speaker Han­nah Beech, South­east Asia Bureau Chief for The New York Times and a […]

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