June 10, 2008
Breakthrough Lecture Series 2009 at UC Berkeley
Later this month, three Senior Fellows at the Breakthrough Institute will speak at UC Berkeley as part of a special public lecture series on national climate policy and environmental politics (lecture descriptions below). Please RSVP to teryn-at-thebreakthrough.org if you plan on attending. Note that seating is only guaranteed for those who RSVP.
Lecture I: Dr. Marty Hoffert: June 17th, 6:00-7:30PM
Lecture II: Dr. William Chaloupka: June 24th, 6:00-7:30PM
Lecture III: Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr: July 1st, 6:00-7:30PM
Lecture I: "The Scientific Case for Breakthroughs: Why Efficiency, Conservation, and Incremental Technology Improvement Won't Be Enough to Avert Climate Disaster"
Dr. Marty Hoffert, Professor Emeritus, Physics, NYU
Wednesday, June 17, 6:00-7:30PM
Giannini Hall Room 141 (campus map)
In 2002 Dr. Hoffert et al. published a landmark analysis in Science, "Advanced Technology Paths to Global Climate Stability," which argued that incremental improvement of existing technologies would not be enough to avert dangerous levels of climate change. Hoffert et al. argued that pollution regulation wouldn't be enough, and that massive government investment was required. In 2006 Hoffert published findings in Scientific American which found that twice as many emissions reductions were required to stabilize the climate. Now Dr. Hoffert will bring together more than 40 years of research and thinking about energy and climate change to make the case for major government investment in advanced technologies, including space-based solar, air capture, and high-altitude wind technology.
Lecture II: "Beyond Environmental Ethics: How Green Moralizing Gets in the Way of Green Politics"
Dr. William Chaloupka, Professor of Political Science, Colorado State University
Wednesday, June 24, 6:00-7:30PM
Mulford Hall Room 240 (campus map)
Environmentalists and climate scientists have done great work raising public awareness of the risks of climate change, but in moralizing against consumption, in insisting that the global poor cannot live as we live without ecological collapse, and in insisting that organics, recycling, and public transit are moral acts, greens have unwittingly created a powerful cultural backlash. Polling shows that more Americans than ever before prioritize economic growth over environmental protection and say that news of global warming is being "exaggerated." Professor William Chaloupka, the author of a landmark essay and several books on nature, science and green politics, will argue that environmentalists be more self-aware, stop seeing nature and science as stable foundations and sources of authority for their politics, and halt their moralizing about carbon footprints and the like, which alienates potential allies. Instead, Chaloupka says, greens must embrace a new cultural politics, one that is nimble, strategic, and able to change to meet new conditions.
Lecture III: "The Efficiency Illusion and other Energy Myths: Why Cap & Trade Won't Work -- and What Can"
Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., University of Colorado, Professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES)
Wednesday, July 1st, 6:00-7:30PM
Giannini Hall Room 141 (campus map)
As climate policy gets debated in Washington and around the world, Roger Pielke, Jr., an expert on science and environmental policy, will argue that the current climate policy framework rests on faulty assumptions about energy efficiency and the decarbonization of the global economy. Pielke is lead author of a controversial 2008 Nature article, "Dangerous Assumptions," which argued that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based its policy analysis on highly optimistic assumptions about future efficiency gains and also missed the recarbonization of the global economy, due largely to the turn back to coal led by China and India.
Pielke will argue that such flawed assumptions lead many analyses to routinely double-count emissions reductions achieved through energy efficiency, and ignore the actual history of technological change, making the challenge of decarbonization seem easier and less costly. The result, he argues, is that the policies we are debating are far from up to the challenge of stabilizing concentrations of greenhouse gases at levels now deemed acceptable. Pielke will lay out an alternative framework for action on climate change, one focused on technology innovation, adaptation, and decarbonization of the global economy.