Experts to Speak at ISU on Climate Change, Carbon and Energy Issues

Experts to Speak at ISU on Climate Change, Carbon and Energy Issues

Iowa State University's 'Live Green - Sustainability Series' will kickoff September 24; other topics and speakers will follow in coming weeks.

Richard Heinberg, a leading author on oil depletion and a post carbon world, will keynote Iowa State University's "Live Green! Sustainability Series". Heinberg's lecture, "Toward a Post Carbon Food System," will be at 8 p.m. Sept. 24 in the Memorial Union Sun Room. The Leopold Center at ISU is a sponsor for this talk.

ISU President Gregory Geoffroy will kick off the series with brief remarks prior to Heinberg's lecture. The" Live Green! Sustainability Series" of speakers, panels and forums will address sustainability and energy innovation, and lead up to the university's Live Green Symposium in February 2010. The series includes a panel discussion on ISU sustainable energy innovation research on Oct. 6, and a faculty forum on global climate change on Nov. 3. The "Live Green! Sustainability Series" is cosponsored by the Office of the President and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body.

The party's over - oil, war and the fate of society

Heinberg is the author of eight books, including, "The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies," "Powerdown: Options and Actions for A Post-Carbon World," and "Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines." He has been featured in a number of film documentaries, including "End of Suburbia" and Leonardo DiCaprio's "11th Hour." Heinberg writes a regular column for Ecologist magazine, and his monthly MuseLetter has been included in Utne Magazine's annual list of Best Alternative Newsletters.

Heinberg is senior fellow in residence at the Post Carbon Institute, Sebastopol, Calif., which helps individuals and communities understand and respond to the environmental, societal and economic crises created by our dependence on fossil fuels. "He provides a very comprehensive picture of what we need to prepare for in a post-fossil fuel era," says Fred Kirschenmann, a fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at ISU. "But his vision is not all dismal; he talks about the positive social effects that can come as a result of this transition, such as stronger communities and the re-ruralification of America."

For example, Kirschenmann refers to Heinberg's 2007 essay, "50 Million Farmers" which discusses having more people on the land, such as farmers and those who grow for farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture enterprises, as well as urban residents who grow food in community gardens.

More than 70% of Iowa's electricity comes from coal

In a Des Moines Register opinion piece on Wednesday, Sept. 2, Heinberg wrote, "More than 70% of Iowa's electricity comes from coal. That's a much higher proportion than the national average of 50% …There are few states where the stakes are higher. Iowa is currently second in the nation in per-capita production of wind energy, and has the potential for much more wind and other renewables. But with its alarming reliance on coal, the state must choose: Either lead the way to a clean, renewable future, or risk being saddled with a dirty 20th century energy system that no one can afford to maintain."

While in Iowa, Heinberg also will speak on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at the University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education in Cedar Falls. He also will present the keynote address at the annual conference of the Iowa Environmental Council on Friday, Sept. 25 in Ankeny.

Heinberg's lecture at Iowa State is also part of the National Affairs Series and is cosponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Ag. Two other presentations are scheduled this fall as part of the "Live Green! Sustainability Series".

Two other presentations are Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 at ISU

"Sustainable Energy Innovation at Iowa State" will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The presentation will feature a panel of three ISU faculty who will discuss ongoing sustainable energy research on campus.

Larry Johnson, professor of food science and human nutrition and director of the BioCentury Research Farm and the Center for Crops Utilization Research, will provide a brief update on the work to be done at the new BioCentury Research Farm and moderate the discussion. The BioCentury Research Farm is the first-in-the-nation integrated research and demonstration farm devoted to biomass production and processing. It provides researchers with the opportunity to integrate harvesting, transportation, storage and processing, while also offering facilities for outreach programming and industry collaboration.

Jim McCalley, Harpole Professor in Electrical Engineering, will discuss his ongoing study of the country's energy and transportation infrastructure, and how new technologies can best be mixed with elements of the existing power system to produce cost-effective, sustainable energy and transportation systems.

The third panelist is Victor Lin, a professor of chemistry, director of the ISU Center for Catalysis, and program director of the Chemical and Biological Sciences Program in the U.S. Department of Energy's Ames Laboratory. Lin will describe the work of his team, which is using nanotechnology to re-engineer how biodiesel may be refined more cheaply and environmentally friendly through high-tech thermochemical and catalytic technologies.

"Global Climate Change: A Faculty Forum," will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. Three faculty panelists will discuss one of the nation's most critical issues. 

Gene Takle, professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences, will lead a discussion with other members of Iowa State's Climate Science Initiative team, which was established in response to the public concern over global climate change and its impact on every segment of society. Faculty participants include agricultural economics professor John Miranowski, who is director of the Institute for Science and Society; William Gutowski, professor of geological and atmospheric sciences; and Ray Arritt, professor of agronomy.

This event is also part of the Faculty Forum Series and the World Affairs Series. It is cosponsored by the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.

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