Dr. Daniel Kammen, Professor of Energy & Society, Energy and Resources Group (ERG) and the Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), provides an overview of the current state of energy around the globe and the changes that are happening rapidly.
After completing his undergraduate studies at Cornell and then graduate studies at Harvard, where he received his Ph.D. in 1988, Dr. Kammen embarked on his long career in the energy field. His postdoctoral work at Caltech and Harvard led him to a position of
professor and Chair of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at Princeton University in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs from the early to late 90s. Notably, Dr. Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, and he holds additional appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, as well as the Department of Nuclear Engineering. And in 2010, Dr. Kammen was honored to be named the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA) Fellow, tapped by former Secretary of State Hilary R. Clinton.
Dr. Kammen discusses his background and training as a physicist and the steps that he took to reach his current area of study and development in the energy field. Upon seeing an ad seeking engineers for work in Central America, the young physicist convinced the group to include him as well, alongside the engineers, and thus his journey began on the path to energy studies—solar, wind, etc. Dr. Kammen discusses how energy is thought about by various governments, and how new technology and climate change issues are changing the game. He talks about how old utility models are giving way to newer models, and how solar and cleaner energy is leaping forward in the market. As he states, clean energy can make energy management and production actually easier while helping to reduce climate problems.
Dr. Kammen details many of the current problems with energy in America. As he explains, regarding the US government, the current administration is still investing in antiquated energy sources, such as coal, that absolutely cannot be a part of our future, as modern society attempts to move to more sensible, climate-friendly energy sources. The energy expert talks about the future of clean energy in regard to transportation, etc. He talks about emissions, discussing the number of emissions that are created by not only the operation of cleaner energy vehicles but also in the manufacturing of them. As he states, electric vehicles use lighter materials, composite materials, that make them more favorable, with a smaller carbon footprint simply in manufacturing, thus tipping the scales in favor of electric over gas-powered, before consideration of the batteries (which most people think is the main issue). Dr. Kammen goes on to discuss lithium batteries and sources of lithium. He states that even with the lithium and recycling taken into account, the incredible benefits of using cleaner energy vehicles is clear.
Dr. Kammen talks about the future of energy, greenhouse gases, and air quality, and how investing in new sources of energy is good for the environment, as well as the economy!