Energy is a vital element of some of the most important and most divisive processes of our times. The widespread use of fossil fuels provides the foundation on which economic globalization is taking place. At the same time, the use of these fuels is a central cause of global climate change, which may prove to be the single largest environmental issue that we face today. Studies of fossil fuel resource availability indicate that world oil production may peak within the next decade, even while demand for the fuel continues to rise. As a result many scholars foresee increasing possibilities for resource conflicts as well as rising fuel prices. Renewable energy and energy efficiency have significant potential to contribute to solutions for some of the environmental, economic, and security problems associated with current trends in world energy use, but many barriers currently limit the widespread use of these technologies. The path towards progressive solutions to these issues requires an interdisciplinary approach that combines technical and scientific expertise with economic, social, and political analyses.
To shed light on these crucial issues, SERC initiated an annual speaker series to bring a dynamic set of presenters to Humboldt State University. The series includes leading scholars from a range of academic disciplines, as well as prominent government officials and inspiring activists. Featured speakers in the 2005/06 series, our first annual, included Dr. Alan Lloyd, Secretary Emeritus of the California Environmental Protection Agency and Chair of California’s Climate Action Team, Dr. Joan Ogden, Co-Director of the Hydrogen Pathway Program at the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and Dr. Michel Gelobter, Executive Director of the environmental non-profit Redefining Progress. Also presenting were Mark Hankins, the Managing Director of Energy for Sustainable Development Africa (ESDA), a Nairobi based energy consulting firm, Jim Zoellick of SERC, and Dr. Arne Jacobson of SERC and the Environmental Resources Engineering Department at HSU.
SERC has a diverse line-up of speakers scheduled for the 2006/07 series that will continue the exploration into the vital role energy plays in our lives. Visit www.schatzlab.org/speaker_series to stay apprised of this exciting series.