Posted by: Chris Kim
Hello to those who might be following this blog and welcome to my first official post! It’s 9 hours before my flight to Copenhagen and despite some fatigue (I’ve been conducting research at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory around the clock since Thursday), my excitement is building. I’ve been trying to absorb as much news and information I can during the first week of the UN Climate Change Conference, as well as reading my (signed) copy of Al Gore’s new book “Our Choice,” which I can strongly recommend for its readability and sheer density of information, presented both clearly and relatively optimistically.
The first part of the book examines multiple alternative energy sources, which dovetails well with a few lectures I’ve been giving at Chapman recently to my physical geology classes, a course on the chemistry of environmental issues, and Chapman’s new Student Sustainability Initiative, a workshop series for students who want to become future environmental leaders. In these lectures I’ve discussed the various pros, cons, and potentials of solar, wind, nuclear, biomass, hydroelectric, and conventional fossil fuel sources, including information about the fundamentals of the greenhouse effect, the relative carbon costs of the different sources, and the effectiveness of energy efficiency measures as a way to control domestic energy usage and related emissions. I’ve sensed a hunger for information from students and a sober awareness that these are the issues that may well define their generation, and am encouraged to bring all that I will learn from Copenhagen back into the classroom to share with them and my colleagues.
But first, time to get a few hours of sleep…