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Honors Colloquium

Fall 2008 Honors Colloquium

Princeton energy expert to examine solutions to climate change in URI Honors Colloquium lecture, Dec. 2

Robert SocolowRobert Socolow, co-director of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative at Princeton University, will present the final lecture in the University of Rhode Island’s 2008 Honors Colloquium on Tuesday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m.

His presentation, “Solutions to the Global Carbon and Climate Problem,” will be held in Edwards Auditorium on URI’s Kingston campus.

The Honors Colloquium, “People and Planet: Global Environmental Change,” explores human-caused global change, its consequences and potential responses through a series of lectures, films, exhibits and a cabaret.

An internationally recognized expert on energy and global carbon management, Socolow’s research interests include carbon dioxide capture from fossil fuels and storage in geological formations, nuclear power, energy efficiency in buildings, and the acceleration of deployment of advanced technologies in developing countries. He is a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and the former director of Princeton’s Center for Energy and Environmental Studies.

In his lecture, Socolow will provide “useful quantitative insight into the monumental challenge of mitigating climate change. The Earth is our subject of study,” he said, “and carbon flows generated by human activity are the agents of change.” Socolow will also introduce “a new scheme for assigning responsibility across industrialized and developing countries, one that bases ‘fairness’ on individual emissions and takes specific account of the rich in poor countries and the poor in rich countries.”

The Carbon Mitigation Initiative, which Socolow co-directs, is a joint project of Princeton, British Petroleum and Ford Motor Co. to find solutions to the greenhouse gas problem. It works to identify the most effective, safe and affordable methods of capturing and sequestering a large percentage of carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Time Magazine has described Socolow and co-director Stephen Pacala as strategists who “have come up with a remarkably straightforward way of approaching [global warming]. To stabilize the world's carbon emissions, they propose not chasing a single magic bullet but harnessing seven different categories of reduction, using available technology. Their goal is to draw a road map for reducing CO2 emissions that is both realistic and effective. Each of the strategies they have identified could prevent a total of 25 billion tons of emissions by 2056.”

For background material on this lecture, click here.


Major Sponsor:

The G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation

Sustaining Sponsors:

URI Office of the President; URI Honors Program; The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment; The Thomas Silvia and Shannon Chandley Honors Colloquium Endowment.

Leadership Sponsors:

URI Graduate School of Oceanography and URI College of Arts and Sciences.


Environmental Data Center, URI Department of Natural Resources Science; R.I. Center for the Book at Providence Public Library; R.I. Office of Library and Information Services; R.I. Sea Grant College Program; U.S. E.P.A. Office of Research and Development, Atlantic Ecology Division; URI Classroom Media Services; URI Coastal Institute; URI College of Business Administration; URI College of Engineering; URI College of the Environment and Life Sciences; URI College of Human Science and Services; URI College of Nursing; URI College of Pharmacy; URI Division of Student Affairs; URI Division of University Advancement and the URI Alumni Association; URI Foundation; URI Office of the Provost; URI Office of the Vice President for Administration; URI Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology Services; URI University College.

Colloquium Coordinators:

Professor Steven D'Hondt, Graduate School of Oceanography;
Professor Arthur Spivack, Graduate School of Oceanography;
Professor Judith Swift, Theatre and Communication Studies.

For information about ways to support the Honors Colloquium, contact Tom Zorabedian at 401-874-2853 or