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People + values/creative chaos = sustainability

Sandra Bass, Asst Dean of Students, Director UC Berkeley Public Service Center | February 16, 2016

Every now and again my curiosity and limited ability to focus pays off. Back in graduate school, when I was praying to be hit by a lightening bolt of clarity to help me make sense of my dissertation research, I met a scholar who stalked disasters. Within hours of hearing about an earthquake, tsunami, or … Continue reading »

Special guest lecture: ‘Is a sustainable global economy possible?’

Malcolm Potts, professor of population and family planning | August 27, 2015

Like every university, UC Berkeley is home to an intellectual chasm that makes the Grand Canyon look like Strawberry Creek. Classical economists teach a world where economic growth is sacred, perpetual and always good. Those in the life sciences and some physical sciences, such as energy and astronomy, understand that our world is small and finite. Faculty … Continue reading »

The blocked market for density and affordable housing

Karen Chapple, Professor, City and Regional Planning | October 17, 2014

Around the globe, many cities are experiencing a housing affordability crisis. There are few places this crisis is more pronounced than San Francisco and Los Angeles. California’s strict land use regulations hinder us from producing enough housing, particularly infill development, or new buildings on vacant or underutilized land in the urban core. Yet, with 200,000 units in the … Continue reading »

Why the cool kids are flocking to energy and not water economics

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | March 11, 2014

Why do kids like to go to birthday parties? Because there is lots of sugar and other kids. Academic economists are not that different. Energy economics has attracted a lot of new bright minds, both young and not so young. The reason is simple: It’s an important topic; the people working in this space are … Continue reading »

Lightbulb wars: the saga continues

Dan Farber, professor of law | January 21, 2014

Republicans have won a largely symbolic victory for an obsolete technology. Among the sleeper provisions of the new budget deal is a ban on enforcing federal lightbulb standards.  This is a great example of symbolic politics — it makes Tea Party Republicans happy, has limited practical effect, and makes little policy sense. Or to put it … Continue reading »

Postcard from Barcelona: Looking at the Catalonian path to sustainability

Steven Weissman, associate director, Center for Law, Energy and the Environment | October 29, 2013

Flying into Barcelona, it becomes immediately obvious that this is a city with its eye on a sustainable future. Right along the waterfront is a large photovoltaic array, perched on four giant supports. It is emblematic of a broader set of initiatives that, for a short time, placed Spain at the forefront of renewable energy … Continue reading »

Student competitions: representing a sustainable future

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | June 6, 2013

Recently I was asked to serve as a judge for the Shell Student Energy Challenge, an infographic competition that was part of the student fuel-efficiency contest, Shell Eco-Marathon. Shell sponsors National Geographic‘s Great Energy Challenge initiative. This provided a fascinating opportunity to evaluate what many of us feel: that we must begin by not only communicating … Continue reading »

Is ‘sustainable’ attainable?

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | February 22, 2013

Our new program, the Master of Development Practice, emphasizes ‘sustainability’ — but what exactly is it? Last week, we hosted a panel of 5 faculty experts to address this question. It was agreed that sustainability means that all humans are able to maintain a decent standard of living, akin to say, Costa Rica (neither Switzerland … Continue reading »

When efficiency is not enough

Daniel Kammen, Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy | January 28, 2013

This past week I attended and had the pleasure to speak and debate at the 2013 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  This was the sixth such summit, and the third I have attended. The stated goal of the meeting is to: bring together global leaders in policy, technology and business … Continue reading »

The bioeconomy dilemma

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | October 22, 2012

Many view the ‘bioeconomy’, as a key element of the future. While in the past, many vital activities were dependent on non-renewable inputs such petroleum based chemicals, the bioeconomy which utilizes advanced tools of modern biology, will yield products that are renewable and produced from plants and other organic matter that humans can grow. Countries, … Continue reading »

The GMO labeling debate continued: It’s about the ‘benchmark’

David Zilberman, professor, agriculture and resource economics | June 8, 2012

I was amazed by the response to my previous post – and I will try address some of the main points. I found three main themes repeating through the comments. First, it is clear that there are many people who are concerned about the side effects of GMOs and don’t trust biotech companies that produce … Continue reading »

Sustainability and the pursuit of happiness

Dan Farber, professor of law | September 7, 2011

There’s a common vision of environmentalism that mostly involves giving things up, the basic image being one of ascetic sacrifice for the benefit of the environment and future generations. Some people actually are ascetics, and most people are willing to make big sacrifices in emergencies. But by and large, people aren’t willing to give up … Continue reading »

Brown administration’s view of renewable energy in California by 2020

Ethan Elkind, associate director, Climate Change and Business Program | July 1, 2011

Governor Brown entered office in January with an ambitious agenda for renewable energy, calling for 20,000 megawatts from renewable sources by 2020, including 12,000 of localized or distributed generation and 8,000 from large-scale development. So how will this vision become a reality? UCLA and Berkeley Law gathered key leaders in California to discuss this issue at … Continue reading »

Japan embraces energy conservation

Dana Buntrock, chair, Center for Japanese Studies | May 11, 2011

Prime Minister Kan announced today that Japan will embrace energy conservation.  While many assume Japan’s practices are very “green,” this has not been the case in architecture.  The turn-around is VERY exciting. This has been coming for a while.  What took them so long? 1)  In some ways, Japan has looked pretty good when it … Continue reading »