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March 22, 2008

Fewer Endangered Species

Hey, amazing. The world is getting safer for critters. Dirk Kempthorne, Secretary of the Interior, hasn't declared a single animal or plant species endangered or threatened since he took office in 2006. What a relief! Just eight years ago, animals and plants were going down like bowling pins. Now they're thriving. Maybe all that development wasn't so bad after all.

Bridge, anyone?

October 25, 2007

News on science and world poverty

The Council of Science Editors (includes editors of many scientific publications around the world) has organized this week to focus some page space on the theme of research on poverty and human development. For some good news on the topic, see some of the amazing data visualizations of Hans Rosling, who argues that many countries that we used to think of as experiencing mass poverty are now developing by many standards at a rapid pace. There are still some bleak spots—many of the countries in Africa unfortunately are not yet on target to meet the Millennium Development Goals. One of the interesting tidbits is a project that is using randomized testing to study the effectiveness of various anti-poverty measures. It seeks to combine sensible, tailored solutions on the ground with a research protocol to rigorously test how well the measures work. While this might seem to be “mundane science” to some, I think it’s a great example of usable science working to help the world’s poor.

Posted on October 25, 2007 10:25 AM View this article | Comments (0)
Posted to Author: Dilling, L. | Sustainability

May 16, 2007

The Importance of the Development Pathway in the Climate Debate

Today I am testifying before the House Committee on Science and Technology of the U.S. Congress. In my testimony I argue that we should pay attention to development paths in addition to the mitigation of greenhouse gases. You can see my testimony in full here in PDF.

A full reference:

Pielke, Jr., R.A., 2007. Statement to the House Committee on Science and Technology of the United States House of Representatives, The State of Climate Change Science 2007: The Findings of the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change, 16 May.

February 27, 2007

University of Colorado Sustainability Initiatives

Not long ago we raised some questions about how well the University of Colorado's commitment to sustainability was actually being reflected in actions. Recent remarks by our Chancellor, G.P. "Bud" Peterson, at a conference on sustainability last week suggest that our campus leadership is in fact now taking this issue seriously. Here is an excerpt:

First, on behalf of CU-Boulder I have pledged to participate in the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (PCC), which will solidify our goal of reducing Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. CU-Boulder will begin immediately, a detailed inventory of our current emissions; then, within two years, the campus will outline short and long-term strategies for emission reductions to reach the PCC goal of "climate neutrality" - zero net GHG.

This is a bold challenge, but CU-Boulder has an excellent record to build upon. Today, the University purchases 10 percent of the campus's electricity from renewable sources, and we have reduced our electrical consumption by 13 percent per square foot since 2001. In addition, CU-Boulder has helped to generate 3.2 million rides per year on RTD buses through participation in RTD's Ecopass program, created a recycling program that is diverting 1600 tons from landfills annually (and has saved the campus about $2.4 million in avoided costs over the past three years alone) and pioneered water conservation programs that save over 110 million gallons annually on campus.

Most of all, our students are to be credited for their leadership in helping to make the recently completed ATLAS building at CU-Boulder the first public building in the state of Colorado to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification - one of only seven buildings statewide to achieve such a designation.

With the need for a centralized heating and cooling facility to be built, we must take new and stronger measures to offset our purchase of electricity from sources that increase our carbon output. To assist in this process, I am pleased to announce that in the next fiscal year, we will begin investing $250,000 annually in projects to reduce campus energy consumption, particularly electrical consumption. At some point in the near future, we expect we may seek new funds or a reallocation of a portion of the $250,000 for renewable energy production systems on campus properties or close to the campus.

I am also asking that investments beyond the $250,000 per year be considered for future funding as a pressing campus priority in order to aggressively pursue options for greatly reducing CU-Boulder's GHG emissions. To offset our carbon output in the meantime, our campus has committed to spending an additional $50,000 per year for the purchase of renewable wind energy.

Finally, I am pleased to announce one more measure that I believe will lay the groundwork for even more progress toward sustainability. That is the establishment of the Chancellor's Committee on Energy, Environment and Sustainability (CCEES), a working group to be led by Vice Chancellor for Administration Paul Tabolt, charged with setting sustainability goals for the campus and advising the university on all environmental matters.

Posted on February 27, 2007 06:52 AM View this article | Comments (0)
Posted to Author: Pielke Jr., R. | Education | Sustainability

June 04, 2004

Science, Technology, and Sustainability Program at NAS

A very interesting program at NAS:

“The National Academies have established a Science and Technology for Sustainability Program (STS) to encourage the use of science and technology to achieve long term sustainable development - increasing incomes, improving public health, and sustaining critical natural systems. The first two projects under the STS program are the Roundtable on Science and Technology for Sustainability and a workshop series entitled "Strengthening Science-Based Decision Making."”

the program is supported by a $10 million endowment. Learn more here.

Posted on June 4, 2004 11:59 AM View this article | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Posted to Author: Pielke Jr., R. | Sustainability

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