News Archive:

What Environmental Policy Options Does the U.S. Have in 2018?

In a Knowledge @ Wharton public policy podcast, Dan Kammen joins Eric Orts, legal studies and business ethics professor, and director of the school’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership. Kammen and Orts discuss the implications of environmental policy decisions made in 2017, and consider sustainability options for businesses as well as federal and state governments in the upcoming year.

“Under the direction of former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruittthe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continued to roll back various Obama-era policies as 2017 wound to a close. Wharton professor of legal studies and business ethics Eric Orts, director of the school’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership, and Daniel Kammen, founding director of the University of California Berkeley’s Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, recently joined the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111 to discuss the direction the U.S. is heading regarding environmental protection and conservation, and whether recent policy changes put U.S. businesses at a disadvantage to those in countries that support environmentally friendly policies and renewable resources.”

Listen to the full podcast here.

EU Renewable Energy Plan for 2030 Allows Countries to Cut Down and Burn Additional Trees for Energy

The European Union has set ambitious goals for its renewable energy portfolio in order to drastically reduce emissions by 2030. However, the current version of its plan essentially allows for the deforestation and burning of trees, as a coal alternative, in order to produce energy. A recent report published in The Guardian, co-authored by ERG Professor Dan Kammen, explains:

“European producers of wood products have for decades generated electricity and heat as beneficial by-products, using wood wastes and limited forest residues. Most of this material would decompose and release carbon dioxide in a few years anyway, so using them to displace fossil fuels can reduce the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere in a few years too. Unfortunately, the directive moving through parliament would go beyond wastes and residues and credit countries and companies for cutting down additional trees simply to burn them for energy. To do so has fundamentally different consequences because the carbon released into the air would otherwise stay locked up in forests.”

Read the full article here.

Featured image: David Cheskin/PA

Climate Change Slowing Down Wind Turbines? Kammen Weighs In

With global temperatures increasing, researchers analyze the effects of temperature differences on wind patterns. Multiple studies confirm the possibility of wind resources declining across the Northern Hemisphere, reducing the energy potential of wind turbines. Familiar with the studies, Dan Kammen adds that the phenomenon is “a disturbing but entirely expected consequence of climate change.”

However, it is not a game changer — according to study author Kristopher Karnauskas of the University of Colorado, Boulder, “Wind power should still be considered an important part of the portfolio of renewable investments, as part of the broader strategy to reduce carbon emissions and so forth. And as renewables, including wind, are a part of the strategy, it’s just important to make sure we fully understand how the potential efficacy of that strategy may be changing concurrently with the problem itself.”

For more information, read the Washington Post and Scientific American articles.

Featured image:

CNR’s Breakthroughs Magazine Highlights ERG Students and Faculty for Research on Energy Storage, Carbon Footprints, and More

The College of Natural Resources has issued its Fall 2017 Breakthroughs magazine, featuring research from many ERG students and faculty. From Chris Jones and Dan Kammen’s comprehensive carbon footprint calculator to Duncan Callaway’s efforts to improve the way rooftop solar and electric vehicles are integrated into the grid, ERG remains at the forefront of climate research and energy innovation.

Read more about the work of Veronica Jacome, Duncan Callaway, Noah Kittner, Dan Kammen, and Chris Jones at the following links:

On the Ground: Research on the Future of Energy

How Big is Your Own Carbon Footprint?

Featured Image: CNR Breakthroughs Fall 2017

Data for Climate Action Selects Dan Kammen’s Team for Grand Prize

The Data for Climate Action Challenge invites data scientists, researchers, and innovators to use the world’s rapidly amassing data to address climate change. Earlier this month, Global Pulse, the United Nations initiative for big data and data science, announced the Data for Climate Action Challenge winners during the COP23 UN climate change conference. The Grand Prize was awarded to “Electro-mobility: Cleaning Mexico City’s Air with Transformational Climate Policies Through Big Data Pattern Analysis in Traffic & Social Mobility.” Among many other researches, Dan Kammen was recognized for his contribution to this project.


Visit the Data for Climate Action website here, or read the press release announcement here.

Dan Kammen Featured in Fall 2017 Breakthroughs Magazine

In the Fall 2017 issue of the College of Natural Resources’ Breakthroughs magazine, Dan Kammen is spotlighted for the innovative ways in which he has merged science with environmental policy. Read about Dan’s inspiration to become involved with climate science and policy, his start at Energy and Resources Group, former science envoy work in the Middle East and Africa, and exciting areas for future research.

Breakthroughs Fall 2017: International Adventures in Clean Energy

ERG’s EcoBlock Project Selected by Scientific American as a World Changing Idea for 2017

The Oakland EcoBlock Project is an urban sustainability experiment that focuses on reducing the footprint of a typical neighborhood block. As a mini-grid system for shared energy and water in a low-income community, it has the potential to encourage more efficient resource usage and shared clean transportation, and to promote far broader social and racial inclusion. The project has been identified by Scientific American in their “Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2017,” solutions that are turning innovative visions for social, environmental, and economic change into reality.

Read the full article here.


Margaret Torn Recognized for Exceptional Scientific Achievement by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

ERG Associate Professor Margaret Torn was recently granted LBNL’s 2017 Director’s Award for Exceptional Achievement in the Scientific category.

“The Director’s Awards program recognizes significant achievements of Lab employees. Each year, these awards are given for accomplishments, leadership, collaboration, multi-disciplinary science, cross-divisional projects, and commitment to excellence in support of the Lab’s mission and strategic goals.”

View the announcement here.

Featured Image: Flickr, ‘Advanced Light Source’ – Lawrence Berkeley Nat’l Lab – Roy Kaltschmidt

UC Wins Excellence in Green Power Use Award from EPA

Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the University of California system with the Excellence in Green Power Use Award for its investments in renewable energy, and continued progress toward reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. The EPA aims to recognize organizations that “both exceed the minimum benchmark requirements for green power usage and ‘demonstrate a distinct market impact through innovation, communications, and stakeholder engagement.'”

Quoted on UC Berkeley’s sustainability efforts, Dan Kammen added, “Berkeley has led the way in doing building energy efficiency audits and using this data to design better building control systems.”

Read the Daily Californian article here.

Read about EPA’s Green Power Leadership Awards here.

Featured image: Chou Hall in the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, which aims to be the first zero-waste building on campus by 2018 (photo: Kevin Chan –  The Daily Californian Staff)

Kammen on Energy in Africa: Why Renewables Will Give More People Access to Energy than Coal

ERG Professor Dan Kammen was quoted in CarbonBrief this week, reinforcing the International Energy Agency’s assertion that renewable energy is emerging as a cheaper and more socially responsible alternative to coal in providing electricity to the 1.1 billion people who still lack energy access.

“Coal doesn’t even deliver the thing for which it’s really been touted for, and that is, bringing people out of poverty because somehow it’s this least-cost fossil fuel source…I really cringe a bit when I see people touting mega fossil fuel projects as the obvious, first thing to look at…Distributed clean energy, time and time again today, has proven to be better, cheaper, more socially and environmentally positive.” – Dan Kammen

Read the full article here.