Sustainability Forum Panelists Advocate for Rethinking Energy

Marilyn Brown, professor in the School of Public Policy (SPP), was the keynote speaker at the Spring Sustainability Forum, organized by the Student Government Association's Sustainability Committee and held on April 25, 2013, in the Student Center Theater. The committee is chaired by Mary Shoemaker, an SPP student.

Brown, who serves on the International Panel on Climate Change, said that climate change is not simply going to be solved by big fixes in the power generation sector through renewable energy, but by significant strides in energy efficiency. Many smaller efficiency upgrades can yield significant environmental and fiscal benefits; however, people often use more energy in these instances, creating a rebound effect.

A panel followed Brown's talk. Panelists included:

  • Miroslav Begovic, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Kim Cobb, associate professor in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
  • John Crittenden, director of the Brook Bryers Institute for Sustainable Systems and professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Erik Johnson, assistant professor in the School of Economics

The panel discussed the falling costs of electricity generated through alternative means—such as solar—and the methods by which the public and private sectors can promote investment in these energy sources. The event gave attendees an understanding of the many developments in the renewable energy sector moving toward a carbon-free future, as well as the impediments that must be overcome to achieve this goal.

SGA representatives Mary Shoemaker and Nathan Sacks contributed to this report.

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Rebecca Keane