CITRIS Faculty Weigh in on COP15

On December 7, 2009, representatives of the world’s governments convene in Copenhagen, Denmark, continuing the progress towards agreement among nations to regulate and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after 2012, when the current treaty, known as the Kyoto Protocol, expires. The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997 and it has since been signed by 187 countries. The US, the world’s largest single contributor of GHG, is the only major industrialized nation that has not signed it. Although the Obama administration insists that it wants to reverse US policy and participate as an active signatory of a new treaty, winning the congressional support needed to do so before the Copenhagen conference is highly unlikely. The conference, known as COP15, will set the course for international climate policy for decades to come.

Science writer Gordy Slack interviewed researchers from the four CITRIS campuses, and an ambassador, to hear their perspectives on the various issues facing the COP15 delegates:

John Zysman and BRIE: US Businesses Seek Clarity, and COP15 Could Help Provide It

John Zysman, UC Berkeley professor of political science and the author of several influential books, is the co-founder of the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (BRIE) and the advisor to graduate students Mark Huberty and Nina Kelsey, who also participated in this discussion. Huberty and Kelsey are research associates at BRIE.

Ali Shakouri: Bridging Disciplines to Bring Hot Storage Ideas to Market

Ali Shakouri is the director of the Thermionic Energy Conversion Center, a multi-university research collaboration developing new direct thermal-to-electric energy conversion technologies. Shakouri is a professor of electrical engineering at UC  Santa Cruz.

Jeff Wright: Merced’s Living Labs: Inspiration  for UC, CA, and COP15

Jeff Wright is dean of engineering and director of CITRIS at UC Merced. He uses advanced modeling and information technologies to research water resources and environmental management

Daniel Sperling: Transportation Policy Key to Emissions Reduction

Daniel Sperling is director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis. He is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the acting director of the Energy Efficiency Center. He is the author of the recently-released book Two Billion Cars. Sperling also serves on the California Air Resources Board, where he oversees the state’s climate change, alternative fuels, vehicle travel and land use, and zero-emission vehicle programs.

Friis Arne Petersen: America’s Warming to Climate Change?

Ambassador Friis Petersen is the Danish Ambassador to the United States. Before assuming that position in 2005, he was Head of the Foreign Ministry and Permanent Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.