FCI - Spring 2011 Special Guest Seminar:

Please join us for the Spring 2011 Seminar Series.  The seminars will consist of one presentation from leading climate researchers. The location of the live presentations will alternate between UF and FSU, and the presentations will be transmitted via video to the non-host institution.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Attend the live seminar at UF’s Frazier Rogers Hall, Room 122.

View the video broadcast at FSU COAPS, R.M. Johnson Building, Room 220.



Speaker: Dr. Robert Socolow. Professor, Co-Director, The Carbon Mitigation Initiative

Title: "How Would We Act If We Took Climate Change Seriously?"

 Ph.D.  Harvard University (1964), National Associate of the National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the American Physical Society, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

 Robert Socolow is a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. His current research focuses on global carbon management and fossil-carbon sequestration. He is the co-principal investigator (with ecologist, Stephen Pacala) of Princeton University's Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI),  http://cmi.princeton.edu/ , a fifteen-year (2000-2015) research project supported by BP and Ford. Under CMI, Princeton has launched new, coordinated research in environmental science, energy technology, geological engineering, and public policy. 

Pacala and Socolow are the authors of “Stabilization wedges: Solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies” (Science, August 13, 2004). Socolow is on two current committees of the National Academies: “America's Energy Future” and “America's Climate Choices” and was a member of the Grand Challenges for Engineering Committee of the National Academy of Engineering. He was the editor of Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, 1992-2002.

Socolow received a Ph.D. in theoretical high energy physics in l964 from Harvard University. He was an assistant professor of physics at Yale University from l966 to l97l. He was awarded the 2003 Leo Szilard Lectureship Award by the American Physical Society: “For leadership in establishing energy and environmental problems as legitimate research fields for physicists, and for demonstrating that these broadly defined problems can be addressed with the highest scientific standards.”


Title: "How Would We Act If We Took Climate Change Seriously?"

If a problem is not impossible to solve, must it be easy to solve? Psychologists understand that political behavior is likely to be more consistent with Yes than No. Alas, moderating climate change is neither impossible nor easy, but hard. The paper on "stabilization wedges" that Steve Pacala and I published in Science in 2004, showing that a problem is solvable that was believed to be hopeless, probably contributed to the rush to embrace dangerously tough targets and to conclude that fossil fuels will wither away, that "fairness" and "safety" are not in collision, and that a period of negative emissions lies ahead. Rather, human beings confront the difficult problem of managing uncertain risks. Every "solution" can be implemented well or poorly, and there is an optimum pace. We must trade the risks of disruption from climate change against the risks of disruption from mitigation.