URI Honors Colloquium: Energy expert to examine solutions to climate change, Dec. 2

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Princeton energy expert to examine solutions to climate change

KINGSTON, R.I. – November 24, 2008 – Robert Socolow, co-director of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton University, will present the final lecture in the University of Rhode Island’s 2008 Honors Colloquium on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

His presentation, “Solutions to the Global Carbon and Climate Problem,” will be held in Edwards Auditorium on URI’s Kingston campus.

The Honors Colloquium, “People and Planet: Global Environmental Change,” explores human-caused global change, its consequences and potential responses through a series of lectures, films, exhibits and a cabaret.

An internationally recognized expert on energy and global carbon management, Socolow’s research interests include carbon dioxide capture from fossil fuels and storage in geological formations, nuclear power, energy efficiency in buildings, and the acceleration of deployment of advanced technologies in developing countries. He is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the former director of Princeton’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies.

In his lecture, Socolow will provide “useful quantitative insight into the monumental challenge of mitigating climate change. The Earth is our subject of study,” he said, “and carbon flows generated by human activity are the agents of change.” Socolow will also introduce “a new scheme for assigning responsibility across industrialized and developing countries, one that bases ‘fairness’ on individual emissions and takes specific account of the rich in poor countries and the poor in rich countries.”

The Carbon Mitigation Initiative, which Socolow co-directs, is a joint project of Princeton, British Petroleum and Ford Motor Co. to find solutions to the greenhouse gas problem. It works to identify the most effective, safe and affordable methods of capturing and sequestering a large percentage of carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Time Magazine has described Socolow and co-director Stephen Pacala as strategists who “have come up with a remarkably straightforward way of approaching [global warming]. To stabilize the world’s carbon emissions, they propose not chasing a single magic bullet but harnessing seven different categories of reduction, using available technology. Their goal is to draw a road map for reducing CO2 emissions that is both realistic and effective. Each of the strategies they have identified could prevent a total of 25 billion tons of emissions by 2056.”

The final Honors Colloquium event will be It’s a Shore Thing – A Coastal Cabaret, which will use music to take a whimsical look at global environmental change along Rhode Island’s coastlines. The event will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7:30 p.m.

The major sponsors of the 2008 Honors Colloquium are the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, the URI Office of the President, the URI Honors Program, the URI Graduate School of Oceanography and the College of Arts and Sciences. Additional support came from the Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment, the Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, the deans of the remaining URI colleges, the offices of the URI vice presidents, the EPA Atlantic Ecology Division and Rhode Island Sea Grant.

For further details about the colloquium, including an updated schedule and information on parking, go to www.uri.edu/hc or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.