Clean Energy Innovation Reception
Moderator: Ronald G. Prinn
MIT President Susan Hockfield
Governor Deval Patrick
Governor Jennifer Granholm
About the Speakers
MODERATOR: RONALD G. PRINN SCD '71
Ronald Prinn's research interests incorporate the chemistry, dynamics, and physics of the atmospheres of the Earth and other planets, and the chemical evolution of atmospheres. He is currently involved in a wide range of projects in atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemistry, planetary science, climate science, and integrated assessment of science and policy regarding climate change.
He leads the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), in which the rates of change of the concentrations of the trace gases involved in the greenhouse effect and ozone depletion have been measured continuously over the globe for the past two decades. He is pioneering the use of inverse methods, which use such measurements and three-dimensional models to determine trace gas emissions and understand atmospheric chemical processes, especially those processes involving the oxidation capacity of the atmosphere. Prinn is also working extensively with social scientists to link the science and policy aspects of global change. He has made significant contributions to the development of national and international scientific research programs in global change.
DR. SUSAN HOCKFIELD
Susan Hockfield has served as the sixteenth president of MIT since December 2004. A strong advocate of the vital role that science, technology, and the research university play in the world, she believes that MIT can best advance its historic mission of teaching, research, and service by providing robust and sustained support for the ideas and energies of its faculty and students.
A noted neuroscientist whose research has focused on the development of the brain, Dr. Hockfield is the first life scientist to lead MIT and holds a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience in the Institute's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.
Under her leadership, MIT has launched a major Institute-wide initiative in energy research and education and continues to expand its activities at the intersection of the life sciences and engineering, with a particular focus on cancer research. The Institute has also embarked on a sustained effort to strengthen support for student life and learning, including undergraduate curriculum renewal, and is undertaking major campus construction and renovation projects with a combined value of approximately three-quarters of a billion dollars.
GOVERNOR DEVAL PATRICK
Deval Patrick was reelected to a second term as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in November 2010, renewing his commitment to expanding opportunity and prosperity in Massachusetts. Governor Patrick's life has charted a path from the South Side of Chicago to the U.S. Justice Department, Fortune 500 boardrooms, and now the Massachusetts State House. In each of these capacities, Governor Patrick has been guided by the advice of his grandmother: hope for the best and work for it.
First elected in 2006 on a platform of hope and change, Governor Patrick entered office propelled by an unprecedented grassroots campaign. Despite a challenging economic environment, the Patrick administration maintained or expanded the state's investment in critical growth sectors while delivering timely budgets and cutting state spending. Governor Patrick funded public education at the highest levels in the history of the Commonwealth and its school reform initiatives earned Massachusetts the top spot in the national Race to the Top competition. And through targeted initiatives that play to the Commonwealth's unique strengths, like his landmark 10-year, $1 billion program to promote the state's life sciences industry, the Governor has positioned the state as a global leader in biotech, bio pharmaceuticals and IT, and as a national leader in clean energy, including making Massachusetts home to the country's first offshore wind farm.
KEYNOTE: GOVERNOR JENNIFER GRANHOLM
Jennifer M. Granholm was elected governor of Michigan 2002. In 2006, she was re-elected with the largest number of votes ever cast for governor in Michigan. As Governor, Granholm led the state through a brutal economic downturn that resulted from a meltdown in the automotive and manufacturing sectors. She worked relentlessly to diversify the state's economy, strengthen its auto industry, preserve the manufacturing sector, and add new, emerging sectors, such as clean energy, to Michigan's economic portfolio.
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, who recently joined The Pew Charitable Trusts' Clean Energy Program, traveled to Massachusetts to promote the importance of clean energy innovation and favorable public policy as an engine to grow our state and national economies and create jobs. Governor Granholm brings first-hand experience to the national discussion. During her two terms as governor, she worked to revitalize one of the country's most challenged state economies, partly through attracting clean energy jobs and businesses to Michigan. The Governor enjoyed the opportunity to engage in an open dialogue about how we can grow our clean energy economy in Massachusetts and encourage research, development, and innovation.
About the Reception
David Chandler, MIT NEWS
In a spirited talk at MIT, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm presented a plan for a bipartisan initiative that she said could help the United States regain a world leadership role in the creation of new clean-energy technologies — and the thousands of new jobs that those technologies could provide.
Introduced by her "old pal," Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, and MIT President Susan Hockfield, Granholm spoke at Tuesday's reception on clean-energy innovation. The event was hosted by the MIT Energy Initiative and the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, a program that its co-director, TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Science Ronald Prinn, described as a "unique collaboration between the natural and social sciences."
"At MIT, we're bullish on clean energy," Hockfield said in her introduction. In fact, she said, "bullish is an understatement. We're maniacs about it!" She added that she sees the clean-energy domain as a major area in which to rebuild the nation's economy.
Patrick said his attendance was intended "to celebrate the leadership of MIT" in clean-energy technology. He said the Institute "has gone so far beyond the basic science... to commercialize so many great ideas" in clean energy, and that in today's climate of volatile oil prices, "all the elements align for moving ourselves rapidly to a clean-energy future." He added that in Massachusetts, there has been a 60 percent increase in energy-related employment "during the worst economy in living memory."
Granholm, who now represents the Pew Charitable Trusts' Clean Energy Program, said other countries have been "much more aggressive" than the United States in pushing for clean energy, while this country has "a patchwork" of state policies and no strong national program to promote such technologies. In searching for what Granholm called "pragmatic energy policies that can get bipartisan support" even in the current highly polarized political debate, her organization has identified four specific policy priorities, she said.
First, "a national renewable energy standard" would call for at least 20 percent of the nation's energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, she said. Such a policy "sends a market signal" that would help businesses focus on developing needed technologies.
A second priority, she said, is encouraging more energy efficiency in industrial facilities. She pointed to the example of a French company called Veolia Energy, which develops combined heat and power systems that can be up to 90 percent efficient in using natural gas, the cleanest of all fossil fuels, compared to typical fossil-fuel powerplant efficiencies of around 50 percent. Granholm pointed out that so much energy is wasted in U.S. powerplants in the form of heat that "if you could just capture that waste heat, you could power the entire nation of Japan."
Third, she said, is to push for more electrification of the transportation system — including a 25 percent market share for new electric cars by 2020 — and improved efficiency for non-electric vehicles. That would help spur the growth of companies such as the MIT-spinoff A123 Systems, which is already "hiring hundreds of people" for its new battery factories.
And fourth, she said, is to "increase the amount of money we, as a nation, invest in energy development." ARPA-E, the U.S. Department of Energy's agency for investment in innovative energy technology, currently has a budget of $3.8 billion per year. "If we boost that to $16 billion, we could really be on the map" as a major producer of energy systems, she said.
Granholm pointed out that since 2004, there has been a 630 percent increase in private-sector investment in clean energy worldwide. In 2008, the United States was number one in production of clean-energy technology, but by 2009 China had surged ahead, and in 2010 both China and Germany were ahead of the United States. "Every day, businesses make decisions about where to locate," and without a strong clean-energy policy, the country's competitive position "will continue to ratchet down," she said.
While some people worry that implementing any national policy on clean energy may be difficult right now given the polarized atmosphere in Washington, Granholm said, a recent national survey gives reason for hope. "Eighty-four percent of Americans want to see a national energy policy that encourages renewable energy and efficiency," a number that includes 74 percent of Republicans, and even a majority of Tea Party members, she said.
Patrick said fostering clean-energy technologies "is good for us, it's good for the environment, it's good for the economy, it's good for jobs. So let's get on with it!"
Testimony to Policymakers
Providing expert testimony to policymakers is a notable event and important mode of communication for the Program. A key aspect of our mission is to provide objective information to the policy-making community that is helpful to their deliberations on global change issues. Responding to requests for testimony enables Program participants to directly communicate insights from their area of expertise and help contribute to improved understanding.
U.S. Congressional Testimony and Correspondence
The True Costs of Alternative Energy Sources: Are We Unfairly Penalizing Natural Gas?
U.S. Joint Economic Committee
April 26, 2012
Michael Greenstone, Director of The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, participated in a Joint Economic Committee hearing examining the potential impact on the American Consumer due to loss of refining capacity. Greenstone focused on the true cost of alternative forms of energy, taking into account their social (i.e. health) costs. His testimony was based on his recent report, which was reported by the Washington Post. The testimony is available here.
An Open Letter to Congress from U.S. Scientists on Climate Change and Recently Stolen Emails
December 4, 2009
Prof. Ronald Prinn and 24 leading U.S. scientists with substantial expertise on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems, our built environment and human well-being, assure policy makers and the public of the integrity of the underlying scientific research and the need for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. In response to the recent controversy dubbed 'Climategate', the scientists seek to set the record straight: The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming. The letter is available here.
Allocation Issues in Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Systems
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 21, 2009
Prof. Gilbert Metcalf participated in a Hearing on the costs and benefits for energy consumers and energy prices associated with the allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Prof. Metcalf's written testimony is available here. The archived webcast of the hearing and other testimonies presented are available here.
Some Fundamentals of Allowance Allocation
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 21, 2009
Dr. Denny Ellerman participated in a Hearing on the costs and benefits for energy consumers and energy prices associated with the allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Dr. Ellerman's written testimony is available here. The archived webcast of the hearing and other testimonies presented are available here.
The Future of Fossil Fuels: Geological and Terrestrial Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources
May 1, 2007
Dr. Howard Herzog participated in a Hearing on carbon capture and sequestration and the future of fossil fuels. Dr. Herzog's written testimony is available here. Other transcripts from the hearing are available here.
The European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
March 26, 2007
Dr. Denny Ellerman participated in a Roundtable Hearing to discuss the progress of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and to receive information on lessons learned for policymakers who want to better understand how a market-based trading program could operate efficiently and effectively in the United States. A transcript of the hearing is available here.
Climate Change: A Growing Scientific Impetus for Policy
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means
February 28, 2007
Prof. Ronald Prinn participated in a Hearing on energy and tax policy, the first in a series that focused on climate change. Prof. Prinn's written testimony is available here. Other transcripts from the hearing are available here.
Interpreting the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
February 13, 2007
Prof. Henry Jacoby participated in a Hearing on the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, examining the economic impacts of climate change and stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Prof. Jacoby's written testimony is available here. A transcript of the full hearing is available here.
Other examples of testimony to policymakers and advice provided upon request include presentations to:
- official E.U. bodies, such as the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change to President Barrosso of the European Commission, on emissions trading;
- non-U.S. governmental bodies, such as the Commission des affaires européennes of the French Assemblée Nationale, on the E.U. ETS;
- the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, on insights into proposed cap-and-trade systems;
- the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on the economic analysis capabilities and methodology applied in the Joint Program's work;
- the Executive Office of the President of the USA, on scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric concentrations;
- regional groups, such as those working on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative of the Northeastern U.S. (RGGI), on the issue of a safety valve; and
- state-level associations, such as the California Air Resources Board, on emissions trading and air quality issues, and the Florida legislature, on issues of cellulosic biofuels and climate change mitigation.
Program participants also contribute their expertise in various advisory roles, in response to requests for briefings, and through involvement in steering committees, panels, and professional organizations. Outlets for this type of communication include involvement in national and international bodies such as the U.S. National Academies, the International Panel on Climate Change, and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program; participation in Synthesis and Assessment activities of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program; as well as myriad informal contacts with government and international agencies, sponsor organizations, NGOs, and fellow researchers.
Geoengineering: Science & Governance
An MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and Harvard University Center for the Environment initiative.
About the Seminar Series
Solar geoengineering is the concept of deliberately cooling the Earth by reflecting a small amount of inbound sunlight back into space. It is the only currently known method for reducing temperatures in the short term (years to decades), and therefore has the potential to reduce many of the worst impacts of global warming. But what would be the side effects, both physical and socio-political? How would it work and who gets to decide if it is deployed? Does humanity have the wisdom and the institutions to govern the development of such a powerful technology in this messy, multi-polar world?
This seminar series, held jointly by the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) and MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, will explore the science, technology, governance and ethics of solar geoengineering. In bringing together international experts, participants will learn some of the greatest challenges and hear opinions on how this technology could and should be managed.
To find out about the next event, please visit: http://environment.harvard.edu/geoengineering. Or follow us on Twitter at #HarvMITGeoeng.