ERG ANNUAL LECTURE 2018
SPEAKER: John Harte, “The Quest for Simplicity on the Other Side of Complexity”
DATE: Thursday, April 5, 2018
LOCATION: Sibley Auditorium, inside Bechtel Engineering Center, UC Berkeley
This year’s speaker was ERG and ESPM Professor John Harte. Professor Harte’s lecture was part of a celebration of his research career in global change ecology and macroecology as he transistioned to Professor of the Graduate School.
JOHN HARTE investigates the effects of human actions on, and the linkages among, biogeochemical processes, ecosystem structure and function, biodiversity, and climate. His work spans a range of scales from plot to landscape to global, and involves field investigations, mathematical modeling, and theory development. A long-term climate manipulation experiment in a meadow in the Colorado Rockies and the development and testing of a comprehensive theory of macroecology are among his ongoing projects. He also conducts policy studies that draw out the societal implications of scientific findings. He is a UC Berkeley Professor of the Graduate School and previously held a joint professorship in the Energy and Resources Group and the Ecosystem Sciences Division of the College of Natural Resources.
This week, Dan Kammen visited the MIT Energy Initiative to speak about 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.
“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.”
Read about the talk here.
The National Board of Directors of The Trust for Public Land recently announced that Diane Regas will be joining the Trust as President and CEO, effective this March. Regas, who earned her Master’s degree at ERG and has since served as the Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), is thrilled to lead the Trust for Public Land’s efforts to expand access to parks and ensure that natural areas are accessible to everyone.
“I am deeply inspired by the team and results at The Trust for Public Land. Millions of Americans live within a 10-minute walk of a park or natural space created and protected by The Trust for Public Land, and I can’t wait to make that a reality for millions more.” – Diane Regas
Read the full announcement here.
Using data collected by ERG PhD student Valeri Vasquez and other researchers at UC Berkeley, sonification artist Chris Chafe composed this audio representation of climate change, specifically the correlation between CO2 concentration and global temperatures. While beautiful, the music is intended to highlight the speed at which our planet has changed over the past few hundred years. “The whole concept that we’re trying to explain here is not a pleasant one, it’s actually a frightening one,” adds Vasquez. The trends reinforce the need for global commitment to climate change mitigation.
The full article and podcast, including 1,200 years of data, can be found here.
Al Jazeera spotlights Dan Kammen alongside other climate scientists from California, who are leading global efforts to curb climate change, regardless of White House policies. Many other states and cities have followed California’s example, creating climate action plans for regulating emissions, investing in renewable energy, and reducing consumption.
Read more about California’s efforts here.