Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment View this newsletter in your browser. January 2014
Research Highlights Research Highlights
People Spotlights People Spotlights
Program Updates Program Updates
In the News In the News

Calendar of Upcoming Events
Energy Seminar
"The Case for a Carbon Tax as U.S. Climate Policy"

Michael Wara, Associate Professor of Law; and John P. Weyant, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford
» Read more ...
Energy Seminar
"Energy Policy (and Politics) in Theory and Practice: A Case Study in Renewable Energy Finance"

Dan Reicher, Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance; and Felix Mormann, Visiting Professor, Stanford Law School
» Read more ...
Environmental Forum
"The Last Frontier of Recycling - Above-Ground Mining of Plastics From Some of the Largest and Most Complex Waste Streams in the World"

Michael Biddle, President and Founder, MBA Polymers, Inc., USA
» Read more ...
Energy Seminar
"Smart Grid"

Ram Rajagopal, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford
» Read more ...
Environmental Forum
"Fiscal Federalism and Spillover Benefits: Evidence From Water Infrastructure Investment"

Megan Mullin, Associate Professor of Political Science, Temple University
» Read more ...
Energy Seminar
Title TBD

Yi Cui, Associate Professor, Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford
» Read more ...

Hope for the Future

As the year draws to a close, we approach a milestone. In 2014, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Going into the next decade, we reaffirm our commitment to catalyze transformative environmental and sustainability research around the world. A perfect example of this mission: the Environmental Venture Projects (EVP) program. Since 2004, the EVP has awarded more than $8.5 million in seed grants to interdisciplinary research teams, which have garnered nearly $39 million in follow-on funding. EVP is accepting letters of intent from Stanford faculty members for 2014 grants until Jan. 10 (details). We look forward to more innovative approaches to global challenges. In the meantime, have a safe and peaceful holiday season.


Debbie Drake Dunne
Executive Director

Jeffrey R. Koseff
Perry L. McCarty Director

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

Research Highlights

Prawn vs. Snail: Nature's Role in Fighting Disease

Freshwater prawns could provide an environmentally safe option for controlling the spread of a debilitating parasitic infection called schistosomiasis, while providing a source of marketable, protein-rich food. Researchers supported by the Stanford Woods Institute's Environmental Venture Projects seed grant program are exploring this possibility by studying the effects of reintroducing prawns to river shoreline environments in Senegal, West Africa.

Read more ...

Neighborly Practice Could Help Solve Pressing Health Issue

Only a third of urban dwellers in sub-Saharan Africa have access to a piped water connection in their homes. A possible solution - the purchase of water from neighbors connected to public or private utility lines - is either illegal or informal in many places. Stanford Woods Institute researchers are questioning the logic of limiting this practice, while helping shape a $178 million World Bank project and one African country's national water policy.

Read more ...

Searching for a Silent Killer

Americans have largely rid themselves of lead poisoning, which has been linked to symptoms ranging from anemia to mental retardation. An interdisciplinary team of researchers supported by the Stanford Woods Institute's Environmental Venture Projects seed grant program is trying to determine why lead contamination still lingers in one of the poorest corners of the world. Their work could lead to more rapid testing for contamination, greater public awareness and decisive regulatory action.

Read more ...

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

Steven Chu Offers Inside Look at Washington

"The country needs really smart people to help it and to lead it," former U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu told a recent gathering of Stanford students, faculty and staff. Chu, the William R. Kennan, Jr. Professor of Physics and Professor of Molecular and Cellular Physiology at Stanford, addressed postdoctoral scholars and graduate students from the Rising Environmental Leaders Program, the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Stanford Technology Ventures Program at a special event co-hosted by the Stanford Woods Institute.

Read more and watch video ...

U.S. Supreme Court Taps Fellow to Help Settle Water Dispute

The United States Supreme Court appointed Stanford Woods Institute Co-Director and Senior Fellow Barton H. "Buzz" Thompson (Law) as a special master to adjudicate a long battle between Montana and Wyoming over their respective water rights. Montana and Wyoming each argue that the other has violated the Yellowstone River Compact of 1950, an agreement that governs water use in a basin that includes parts of Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Their legal battle has already lasted more than six years.

Read more ...

Obama Nominates Fellow to Head Department of Energy Research

Franklin "Lynn" Orr, a Stanford Woods Institute senior fellow and director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford, will be nominated by President Obama to serve as Under Secretary for Science at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the White House announced Nov. 14. Orr, 66, would be responsible for overseeing all DOE energy and science research programs, including the majority of the national laboratories. If Orr's appointment is confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will retire from Stanford to accept the post.

Read more ...

Mark Jacobson Honored for Renewable Energy Work

Woods Senior Fellow Mark Jacobson (Civil and Environmental Engineering) was awarded Global Green USA's 2013 Policy Design Award for his analysis and policy framework envisioning a future powered by renewable energy. Jacobson is also a senior fellow at the Precourt Institute for Energy.

Read more about Jacobson's research ...

Program Updates

Learn How to Account for Value of Natural Services

Governments and industries often make decisions that degrade ecosystems because they do not have a reliable way to assess nature's true value. Accounting for "natural capital" can help people make more informed decisions on use of land and water. Learn more about the science and practice of incorporating ecosystem services into decision-making at the Natural Capital Project Annual Meeting and Training on March 26-28, 2014, at Stanford. Scientists and policy experts will be on hand to demonstrate mapping and valuation software. The early-bird discount on registration ends Jan. 31. Scholarships are available.

Read more and register ...

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

How We Can Use Nature to Fend Off Flooding in Puget Sound

The Seattle Times, Dec. 12
Op-ed co-authored by Stanford Woods Institute Consulting Professor Mary Ruckelshaus

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

A Closer Look at Tornadoes in a Human-Heated Climate

The New York Times, Dec. 9
Columnist quotes scientists, including Senior Fellow Noah Diffenbaugh (Earth Sciences), critiquing a recent op-ed that declared there has been a decline in tornadoes

Climate Extremes on the Rise, With Worse to Come, IPCC Leader Says

The Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 6
Quotes Woods Senior Fellow Chris Field (Biology, FSI), who is co-chair of Working Group 2 of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, on climate change tipping points

The Great Greening of the Global North

NPR, Nov. 19
A discussion on NPR program "On Point" about how farming is changing due to climate change; includes comments by Senior Fellow David Lobell (Earth Sciences, FSI)

Species Moving Already as Climate Heats; Lowcountry on Climate 'Cusp'

Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier, Nov. 17
Quotes Senior Fellow Terry Root (Biology) on how species are moving their range and adjusting their seasonal timing due to climate change

New 49ers Stadium: Is It Really Environmentally Friendly, or Just Eco-Hype?

San Jose Mercury News, Nov. 17
Senior Fellow and Woods Co-Director Jeff Koseff (Civil and Environmental Engineering) comments on sustainability merits of new stadium

A Wired Ocean? How Big Data Is Saving Marine Predators, Nov. 15
Interview with Senior Fellow Barbara Block (Biology) about findings from a project that tagged more than 5,000 marine animals

Americans Back Greenhouse Gas Cuts From Power Plants

USA Today, Nov. 13
Discusses state-by-state analysis by Senior Fellow Jon Krosnick (Communication and Political Science) that shows vast majority of Americans believe global warming is real and man-made

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