In a Jan. 12 press conference, Stanford President John Hennessy announced a new interdisciplinary initiative on energy issues and $100 million in new spending for energy research. The initiative will be housed at the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency and will draw upon intellectual resources from the entire university, including FSI's Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD), which has been studying the production and consumption of energy and its effects on sustainable development since 2001.
One of the issues Hennessy singled out - finding an alternative to coal that is environmentally friendly yet cheap enough to sell to China - is at the core of PESD's Global Coal Markets platform, one of the program's four active research platforms. Richard K. Morse and others are tracking power generation in China, India, and the U.S. and finding that coal use is on the rise but the whole picture is complex due to the current world economic crisis. On the issue of climate change, David G. Victor recently proposed a new policy framework, "climate accession deals," for more successfully engaging developing nations in a post-Kyoto world.
On Feb. 12, PESD will host a public conference titled "Public Forum: How Will Global Warming Affect the World's Fuel Markets?", as part of the program's winter seminar on coal. Peter Hughes, director of Arthur D. Little's Global Energy & Utilities Division, will talk about whether natural gas is the "default climate change option." Hughes' presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with FSI Director Coit D. Blacker, Stu Dalton from EPRI, and PESD Director David Victor.
PESD research findings are regularly featured in the New York Times, energy blogs, Newsweek, scholarly journals, and in printed book publications. The relevancy of its research findings derives from its interdisciplinary look at energy through law, political science, and economics.