Research, Science & environment

Debut of new video series on Berkeley's climate change impact

By Robert Sanders

William Collins examines ways of reducing the key culprits in climate change: carbon dioxide and “black carbon” from ordinary diesel combustion

Berkeley News this week premieres a series of short, TED-like talks highlighting the work of 17 UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab researchers who are tackling the global challenges of climate change.

Climate modeler William Collins, a professor of earth and planetary sciences and a Berkeley Lab researcher, kicks off the series with a 5½-minute video exploring “pathways for getting down off the up escalator of climate change.”

Showcasing the strategies that are already working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Collins concludes that “we can build a world that both embodies the sustainability that we think is so critical to human life and also embodies the diversity we hold as a critical value.”

The videos were recorded during a May 12 Cal Future Forum symposium at Berkeley, “Our Changing World: Responding to the global impacts of human activity,” which provided a state-of-the-planet overview, focusing on the challenges humanity faces and the solutions being developed at Berkeley and implemented globally.

Every week, Berkeley News will post another video in the series, highlighting the work of biologists, ecologists and climate scientists as well as chemists, physicists, engineers, economists and public policy experts.

UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab scholars and scientists are leaders in research to understand and respond effectively to humanity’s global environmental impact, and have helped shape California’s response to global climate change, as the state tries to create a clean-energy economy, ameliorate the effects of change worldwide and promote green businesses for the future. Increasingly, California’s playbook is being adopted by other states and is serving as a guide to nations globally.

These researchers have already developed energy-efficiency standards that are used around the world, created new technologies for making our cities more resilient to droughts and floods and converting sunlight into modern fuels, and are at the forefront of methods to forecast future change.

In their talks, the Berkeley researchers address issues such as how to verify climate treaties, the future of carbon sequestration, superdikes to deal with rising sea levels, the future of farming and the connections among biodiversity loss, human health and social conflict.

The symposium was supported by Tencent, with special thanks to the company’s chief exploration officer and UC Berkeley alumnus David Wallerstein.

Cal Future Forum video highlights