April 20 conference on uncovering and preserving environmental data

ATTENTION: Reporters covering science, the environment and public policy

WHAT: At a time when some scientists fear that critical environmental data will be lost or destroyed, the University of California, Berkeley, is hosting a daylong conference on how this data can be used, with keynote speaker Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sponsored by the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the conference will feature government, industry and academic experts discussing both science and the politics of science, focusing on how data science is and is not being used to better understand energy and the environment, motivate policy and shape businesses.

WHEN: Thursday, April 20, 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

WHERE: Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, 3rd floor, 2594 Hearst Ave., UC Berkeley campus
WHO: In addition to McNutt, a geophysicist and former editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals and the newly elected president of the NAS, the speakers include data scientists from Tesla, PG&E and Google, founders of startups such as UtilityAPI and Building Robotics, government representatives from Mexico and California and academics from the U.S. and Hong Kong.

DETAILS: This year’s Philomathia Forum on Energy and the Environment centers around the sources and use of data to solve critical environmental sustainability problems.

“This comes at a time when the use of science, data and fact-based policymaking has never been more exciting and has never been under greater imminent threat,” said Daniel Kammen, one of the symposium organizers and a UC Berkeley professor in the Energy and Resources Group and the Goldman School of Public Policy. “It seemed like a good time to dig in on this.”

Topics include advanced grid integration of renewable energy with storage, improved efficiency through smart buildings and electric transportation, and mitigating climate change through improved air quality.

Data science has become increasingly important in a variety of professional and academic spheres, Kammen noted, where people harness large datasets of spatial and temporal information to improve understanding of Earth’s environment and shape energy and environmental policy.
“We are asking, what are the unusual and unconventional sources of data we can uncover relevant to sustainability, social and environmental issues, and take that back to inform policy at the state and federal level,” said Kammen, who is also science envoy for the U. S. State Department.

This event is organized by the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, the Energy and Resources Group, the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory and the Berkeley Institute of Data Science.

For more information on the forum, visit the website.

NOTE: Reporters who wish to attend should contact Robert Sanders, rlsanders@berkeley.edu.