Daniel M. Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Energy and Resources Group and the Goldman School of Public Policy, where he directs the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory. From 2010 to 2011, he was the inaugural Chief Technical Specialist for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the World Bank.

He is a member of the panel of advisors to the National Geographic's Great Energy Challenge initiative.

Dr. Kammen has founded or is on the board of over 10 companies, and has served the State of California and U.S. federal government in expert and advisory capacities. He has authored or co-authored 12 books, written more than 240 peer-reviewed journal publications, testified more than 40 times to U.S. state and federal congressional briefings, and has provided various governments with more than 50 technical reports. Dr. Kammen also served for many years on the Technical Review Board of the Global Environment Facility. He is a frequent contributor to or commentator in international news media, including Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times. Kammen has appeared on 60 Minutes, Nova, Frontline, and hosted the six-part Discovery Channel series Ecopolis.

Dr. Kammen is a Permanent Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, a fellow of the American Physical Society. In the US, he serves on two National Academy of Sciences boards and panels and, in April, 2010 was named by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton as the first Energy and Climate Fellow for the Western Hemisphere.

Dr. Kammen was educated in physics at Cornell and Harvard, and held postdoctoral positions at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard. He was Assistant Professor and Chair of the Science, Technology and Environmental Policy Program at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University before moving to the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Kammen has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on various reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1999.

California enacted its Global Warming Solutions Act (AB32) in 2006. Since then, an entire network of interacting, mutually-reinforcing legislation  has evolved in the state,  historic in how the different measures support one another. A solar roof mandate (one million by 2020)  augments  an electric vehicle mandate (also one million in 2020), while both bolster  a…

Last year President Obama launched Power Africa, an initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity.  In a parallel move, the House Foreign Affairs Committee leadership introduced the Electrify Africa Act to encourage access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.  Since then, there has been…

Our cities have the potential to be a key climate change solution. Already they are hot-beds of innovation in local and global approaches to the nexus of sustainability and quality of life.  People who live in cities drive less, use less energy to heat, cool, and light their homes, and even their water and sewer…

In the poem “Mending Wall,” Robert Frost asserted that “good fences make good neighbors.”  World history is replete with foreign policy built around physical walls, from Emperor Hadrian, to the Great Wall of China, to the Berlin Wall, the wall between Palestine and Israeli, to the U.S.-Mexico border.  Containment and isolation have often been the…

Everyone who works on energy futures – myself included – spends a great deal of time envisioning and then evaluating the scientific, technical, policy, and behavioral factors needed to initiate and sustain these shifts. We recently completed a study of what it would take in western North America to expand the deployment of solar power…

  Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now famous comment, “Never let a serious crisis to go to waste,” could not have been more true of Hurricane Sandy, which was a harbinger of the costly destructive power of climate change.  Sandy made clear that willful ignorance of climate science and inaction is simply…

Recently I was asked to serve as a judge for the Shell Student Energy Challenge, an infographic competition that was part of the student fuel-efficiency contest, Shell Eco-marathon. Shell sponsors National Geographic’s Great Energy Challenge initiative. This provided a fascinating opportunity to evaluate what many of us feel: that we must begin by not only communicating…

We generally complain that action on climate change is mired in polarized partisan politics and thus nothing can be done.  True to an extent, but let’s hold on a bit. In terms of generating important discussion about the clarity that exists around the conclusion that the scientific debate over climate change as an anthropogenic process…

It is with the greatest sadness that I have to write about the sudden passing of a colleague, co-author, and most importantly, a friend, Abeeku Brew-Hammond, who passed away on March 25, 2013. Abeeku had an incredibly rich and interdisciplinary career in energy.  At his passing he was an associate professor, and director of The Energy…

This past week I attended and had the pleasure to speak and debate at the 2013 World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.  This was the sixth such summit, and the third I have attended. The stated goal of the meeting is to: bring together global leaders in policy, technology and business…

A debate is in full-swing in northwest Washington state about the energy, economic, and environmental future of the region, where coal export terminals have been proposed to send U.S., and potentially Canadian coal to Asia. A plan to build a sprawling $665 million coal terminal northwest of Bellingham,  Washington has been the focal point of…

The most recent Conference of the Parties meeting (COP) conference in Doha has now come and gone.  As has been dissected at necessary nauseam, more or less nothing was accomplished.  Some will see this as a failure, as I do, and others will (correctly) note that this meeting, the 18th such COP (see historical note…

The Americas are undergoing a transition in the energy sector that will have global geopolitical ramifications. At the same time as the United States is touted to become the world’s largest oil producer by 2020, and a net exporter by 2030, Brazil, Nicaragua, and Panama show the most promise in becoming regional hubs not only for clean energy investment, but for sustained low-carbon economic growth.

One of the great frustrations to the climate science and environmental stewardship research community is that the steady advance of solid scientific consensus about the risks of climate change warrants very little coverage.  On the other hand, disasters— mega-story Sandy, heat waves, fires, and drought— get a lot of attention, even if the risk assessment…

As China selects its new leadership this week, jobs, energy, and international relations will be very much on the minds of the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party.  Over the past decade China has transformed its economy into the leading manufacturing power in the clean energy sector.  This is a tremendous achievement, and one that…

U.S. Navy veteran Elmer Rankin, 71, has a failing heart, prostate cancer and arthritis that keeps him in a wheelchair. Last year, Rankin, who survives on his Social Security checks, could no longer afford the mounting costs to heat his home and power the oxygen tank he uses every night. He turned down the heat…

By Morgan Bazilian, Alan Miller and Daniel M. Kammen Out of the sighs of one generation are kneaded the hopes of the next. –Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazilian novelist, poet, and playwright (1839 – 1908) The June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly referred to as Rio+20, provides the global community an opportunity…

Over the past decade, plans for 160 new coal fired power plants in the United States have been scrapped, largely due to rising costs and an inability to compete in today’s energy markets. That’s because the cost of once-“expensive” clean energy has fallen dramatically, while “cheap” fossil fuels are increasingly expensive in economic, health, and…

The Solyndra uproar and the recent International Trade Commission decision to investigate Chinese solar panel manufacturers threaten to distract us from what we need most: a proactive, long-term clean and sustainable energy strategy. If you look beyond the partisan politics that have recently engulfed the solar industry, two irrefutable facts stand out. First, the solar…

What can be done to diversify our clean energy technology options?  In recent years we have seen a number of seemingly  “old” technologies undergo a reassessment, and a reinvention.  Geothermal power, once assessed as “an excellent source of baseload energy, but likely limited in commercially exploitable capacity” has undergone a renaissance. Here’s the new view…

Wangari Muta Maathi, the Nobel Prize-winning environmental activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, died Sunday at Nairobi Hospital at the age of 71 after “a prolonged and bravely borne struggle with cancer,” her website announced. I got to know Mwalimu Maathai initially 20 years ago when working on stove and woodlot projects in rural…

Former U. S. President Dwight Eisenhower was particularly fond of the saying, “plans are nothing; planning is everything” to describe his desire for teams in his administration to carefully describe what they hoped to achieve, and how far and fast they were moving to actually achieve those goals. The analytic tools were useful, but what…

What will it take to foster and spread the ideas and practices needed for sustainable development? One thing that has stirred innovative thinking are the positive results of recent prize competitions. Perhaps the most notable of these–so far–has been the Ansari X Prize. The Ansari X Prize was a space competition in which the X…

Energy poverty cripples development prospects. Where people don’t have access to modern energy services, like reliable electricity, their ability to earn a livelihood is sabotaged. That’s why UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called — admirably — for “a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all” in 2012, designated the International Year of Sustainable…

This weekend marked the beginning of an important new chapter of nation-building, with the celebration and formal launch of the world’s newest nation, the Republic of South Sudan.   United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a host of dignitaries were on hand.  The decades-long civil war with the north ended in 2005, and the World…