Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment View this newsletter in your browser.
March 2013
Research Highlights Research Highlights
People Spotlights People Spotlights
Program Updates Program Updates
In the News In the News

Calendar of Upcoming Events
Energy Seminar
"Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) From Hydrocarbon-Based Power Projects"

Eric Redman, President & CEO, Summer Power Group, LLC
» Read more ...
Energy Seminar
"Climate Change, Energy Markets and Economics"

Charles Kolstad, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Precourt Institute for Energy
» Read more ...
Energy Seminar
"China Miniseries (1 of 5): Better Burning - China's Attempt at 'Clean Coal'"

Shisen Xu, President, Clean Energy Research Institute, China Huaneng Group
» Read more ...
"What Has China Learned That is Relevant for African Agricultural Development and Food Policy?"

Scott Rozelle, Helen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute, Stanford; and Alain de Janvry, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Goldman School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley
» Read more ...
"Connecting the Dots: The Energy, Water, Food and Climate Nexus"

Leading energy researchers at Stanford will discuss the interconnections and interactions among humanity's needs for and use of energy, water, food and the environment.
» Read more ...
Campus Event
Sustainability Festival

In celebration of Earth Day, Stanford will host a campus community gathering to experience and enjoy Stanford's thriving culture of sustainability.
» Read more ...
Lecture Q&A
"Peril and Opportunity: Solving the Climate Crisis and Reinvigorating Democracy"

Former Vice President Al Gore will speak about climate change in a lecture he gives in memory of well-known climate scientist Stephen H. Schneider of Stanford Woods.
» Read more ...

Boot Camp for Emerging Leaders

Stanford's newest class of environmental leaders will learn how their research can shape solutions when they travel to Washington, D.C., next week. The 2013 cohort of graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in our Rising Environmental Leaders Program (RELP) will spend an intensive week in the nation's capital, meeting with key congressional staffers, government agency officials (including outgoing Secretary of Energy Steven Chu) and leaders from NGOs, think tanks and other organizations. The 20 "DC Bootcamp" participants will learn how to fund research, build networks, inform policymakers and communicate science to nonscientists. RELP is an innovative, interdisciplinary program that exposes participants to national policy development, partnership building and public service careers, while developing leadership and communication skills. It is one of a diverse group of Stanford Woods Institute education and leadership programs designed to help students, scientists and decision-makers link knowledge to action.



Debbie Drake Dunne
Executive Director

Jeffrey R. Koseff
Perry L. McCarty Director

Barton H. Thompson, Jr.
Perry L. McCarty Director

Research Highlights

An Alternative Energy Future for New York

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo will soon decide whether to approve hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") for natural gas in the state. To date, no alternative to expanded gas drilling has been proposed. But a new study co-authored by Senior Fellow Mark Jacobson (Engineering) finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert New York's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water and sunlight. The plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply that creates local jobs and saves the state billions of dollars in pollution-related costs.

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Climate Change Makes Corn Thirstier

We have read the headline a number of times now warning us that increasing temperatures are threatening global crop production. One need only recall the drought and heat wave that hit the U.S. Midwest last summer, damaging corn and soybean production. Higher temperatures are certainly part of the problem, but a new study led by Center Fellow David Lobell (Earth Sciences), associate director of the Center on Food Security and the Environment, finds its impacts in the U.S. are more indirect. Water stress may be the main culprit.

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New Light on China's Pollution Problem

It's no secret that China is faced with some of the world's worst pollution. Until now, however, information on the magnitude, scope and impacts of a major contributor to that pollution - human-caused nitrogen emissions, including excessive fertilizer use - was lacking. A new study co-authored by Senior Fellow Peter Vitousek (Biology) reveals, among other findings, that amounts of nitrogen deposited on land and water in China by way of rain, dust and other carriers increased by 60 percent annually from the 1980s to the 2000s, with profound consequences for the country's people and ecosystems.

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Stanford-Led Team Pioneers New Way to Survey Thawing Arctic

In the snows of Alaska, a Stanford-led team of researchers, including Senior Fellow Rosemary Knight (Earth Sciences), discovered a new way to determine if the soil beneath lakes, normally frozen, is thawing as a result of climate change. If so, the lakes could become a new source of methane, a global warming gas. The team's measurements help explain how thawing permafrost could affect the climate.

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For more research, see the Stanford Woods Institute quarterly Research Digest.
People Spotlights

Al Gore to Speak in Honor of Stephen H. Schneider

Former Vice President Al Gore will share his thoughts on addressing climate change within our democracy and take questions from students at Stanford on Tuesday, April 23, when he gives a lecture in honor of Stephen H. Schneider, the senior fellow at Stanford Woods and world-renowned climate scientist who died in 2010. The program will begin at 7 p.m. in Memorial Auditorium on the Stanford campus. Stanford students and postdoctoral fellows need only show their Stanford identification card to be admitted. All others should contact the Stanford Ticket Office on the second floor of Tresidder Union.

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'Chasing Ice' Discussion

What if a visually stunning, Oscar-nominated film brought the science of climate change to audiences across the U.S.? It's not a fantasy. The documentary Chasing Ice, which includes an interview with Stanford Woods Institute Senior Fellow Terry Root (Biology), is "full of stunning images in addition to being timely ... as watchable as it is important," according to The New York Times. The film chronicles photographer James Balog's mission to gather evidence of our changing planet through images of the world's melting glaciers. Woods recently co-sponsored a free screening - attracting 300 people - followed by a panel discussion with Root and Woods Center Fellows Michael Wara (Law) and Noah Diffenbaugh (Earth Sciences). The panel was moderated by Stanford alumnus Jeff Orlowski ('07), the film's producer and director. Watch a Chasing Ice trailer and video of the panel discussion here

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Dispatches From Antarctica

Winter is the perfect time to visit Antarctica for Senior Fellow Rob Dunbar (Earth Sciences). With the help of an ice-breaking research ship, Dunbar is leading a 70-day trip to study the food supply in the Ross Sea - a giant phytoplankton bloom visible from space - at the onset of winter. It is the first such research trip seeking to trace the bloom in February and March, when the days grow shorter and temperatures drop. At the beginning of the voyage, Dunbar also answered questions via video from Anarctica. Check out photos and updates from the expedition here.

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AAAS: Woods Researchers at World's Largest Scientific Meeting

In February Stanford Woods Institute researchers took part in the world's largest general scientific conference, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Boston. Senior Fellows Barbara Block (Biology), Paul Ehrlich (Biology), Chris Field (Biology) and Liz Hadly (Biology), along with Woods-affiliated postdoctoral scholars in the Natural Capital Project and fellows with the Woods-based Leopold Leadership Program, discussed their work on sustainable solutions to pressing environmental challenges, including climate change, food security, development mitigation and renewable energy. Check out our News and Press Releases page for stories about these researchers between Feb. 15 and 19.

Program Updates

Let's Talk About Climate Change

Stanford students filmed interviews of Leopold Leadership Program fellows as part of a class that seeks to educate future environmental communicators while providing material for California Gov. Jerry Brown's effort to engage the public on climate change and other environmental issues. The videos will soon be posted on the California Office of Planning and Research website. In the videos, scientists including Senior Fellow Terry Root (Biology) and Woods-affiliated Professor Kevin Arrigo (Earth Sciences) discuss in stark terms environmental challenges such as from widespread species extinctions and Arctic warming. They also point the way to solutions ranging from composting to desirable and competitive low-emission products.

Read more ...

In the News
Selected media coverage of the Stanford Woods Institute and its
fellows, affiliated scholars and supported research.

A New Light on China's Pollution

KCBS Radio, Feb. 26
Interview with Senior Fellow Peter Vitousek (Biology) about nitrogen's role in China's pollution problem


Science Seat: Meet a Climate Change Scientist

CNN, Feb. 22
In this profile piece, Senior Fellow Chris Field (Biology) explains what triggered his interest in climate change.


Palm Oil Casualty? 14 Pygmy Elephants Fall Prey to Pesticides in Borneo

The Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 11
Mentions Stanford study led by Senior Fellow Lisa Curran (Anthropology) on how the expansion of palm oil plantations is accelerating global warming and harming wildlife.


Tracking the Pack

The New York Times, Feb. 3
A look at how technology can connect us to other species. The article mentions a project by Senior Fellow Barbara Block (Biology) that tags Pacific predators, including sharks.


Are You Eating What You Think You're Eating?, Jan. 29
In this piece, Senior Fellow Steve Palumbi (Biology) "exposes the seedy side of seafood." He's pictured underwater dressed in "business casual."

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