The Christmas to New Year period is traditionally ‘hibernation mode’ for blogs, when page views and comment counts plummet (my hits have dropped about 70% compared to early December!).
I suppose this is a time when people find better things to do than sit in front of a computer screen (family time, good food, beach/snow [depending on hemisphere], travel, reading, new games and toys, whatever). So during this activity lull, it’s as good a time as any to announce a few little personal triumphs.
Within the last month or so I received two tokens of recognition for my work in the sustainable energy space. To explain what, I reproduce below a short write-up done by the University of Adelaide’s media office. I’ve added a few relevant hyperlinks and cites, for further information.
International recognition for Environment Professor
The University of Adelaide’s Professor Barry Brook — an environmental scientist who holds strong pro-nuclear energy views — has received recognition from two prominent international bodies.
Professor Brook, who is Director of Climate Science at the University’s Environment Institute, has become the first Australian appointed to the international award committee of the $1.2 million Global Energy Prize.
Known as the “Nobel Prize of Energy”, this is the most prestigious international award granted for outstanding scientific achievements in the field of energy that have benefited the human race. From Wikipedia:
The Global Energy Prize is an independent award for outstanding scientific research and technological development in energy, which contribute to efficiency and environmentally friendly energy sources for the benefit of humanity.
The award was established in Russia, through the non-commercial Global Energy partnership and with the support of leading Russian energy companies Gazprom, FGC UES and Surgutneftegaz. Laureates are presented with their award by the President of Russia.
The Global Energy Prize promotes energy development as a science and demonstrates the importance of international energy cooperation, as well as public and private investment in energy supply, energy efficiency and energy security. It stands for the belief that advances in science and technology should serve the long-term interests of human development, improving social security and living standards of people in all countries.
The Institute is dedicated to “modernizing liberal thought for the 21st Century” and creating “secure, free, prosperous, and fulfilling lives on an ecologically vibrant planet”.
Both appointments are in recognition of Professor Brook’s work on energy policy. He holds strong views on the use of nuclear energy and alternative energy systems from an economic, environmental and scientific point of view.
“I’m honoured to have been chosen for the international selection committee of the Global Energy Prize and as a fellow of The Breakthrough Institute within a short space of each other,” Professor Brook says.
“Although many environmentalists consider nuclear power to be somehow anti-environment, it’s my firm belief that nuclear energy actually offers a viable low-carbon, low-impact alternative that cannot be matched by other low-carbon solutions.
“The reality is that any of the main ‘green energy’ solutions – solar, wind, geothermal – are expensive and won’t be sufficient for displacing fossil fuels. Even if we were willing and able to pay for them, the result, without nuclear being part of the mix, would be an unacceptably unreliable energy supply system,” he says.
In addition to his extensive research, supervision and public outreach duties, Professor Brook runs a highly popular blog on climate change and energy options.
The blog – http://bravenewclimate.com/ – has already received more than three million page hits and fifty thousand comments since he established it in August 2008.
In that time, Professor Brook’s own views have shifted towards nuclear energy as a viable alternative to fossil fuels, with a particular emphasis on next-generation technologies that recycle nuclear waste, are passively safe, and provide a truly sustainable energy source.
Professor Brook blogs about scientific findings and commentary from a range of sources, including many of his colleagues who work in the fields of conservation, climate, environment and energy science.
One such colleague is University of Adelaide Adjunct Professor Tom Wigley (from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in the United States). Professor Wigley has also been made a 2012 Senior Fellow at The Breakthrough Institute.
So, there you have it. Tom Wigley, also a 2012 BTI Senior Fellow, is a good friend and colleague of mine, and we are currently writing a couple of new papers on energy systems and global decarbonisation options in relation to climate change mitigation, which will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals next year.
Tom and I will be attending The Breakthrough Dialogue in California in June 2012, where we’ll join Michael Shellenberger, Ted Nordhaus, Jesse Jenkins and many others for a stimulating brainstorming workshop on energy, policy and the environment (see here for a wrap of the 2011 event).
The Global Energy Prize for 2012 is now accepting nominations — details here. In sum:
The winner of the 2012 Prize will be selected by an International Prize Award Committee, which includes 37 internationally-based scientists and specialists, as well as representatives of international research organisations. The award will be given for outstanding achievement in the field of energy, including:
— discoveries, inventions and fundamental research providing new opportunities for energy industry development;
— development projects, engineering improvements and application-oriented innovations which create new ways of using energy more efficiently;
— discoveries, inventions and theoretical R&D projects opening up new energy sources as well as opportunities for using them;
— discoveries, inventions and research which have resulted in finding breakthrough approaches to addressing energy transmission and energy saving challenges;
— discoveries, inventions and research which have materially contributed to the solution of environment protection and development problems as well as opened up new and feasible ways of using innovative energy conversion method.
I’ll be visiting Russia twice a year (St. Petersburg and Moscow) for the GEP selection deliberations and awards ceremony. As you might guess, I can’t wait!