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Future of New York's energy focus of winter seminar series


William Schlesinger
William Schlesinger

William Schlesinger, a prominent carbon biogeochemist and president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, N.Y., will kick off the 15th annual Environmental Science, Policy and Engineering Winter Seminar Series Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.

Schlesinger’s talk, “Change and Energy Futures for New York,” is free and open to the public.

The theme of this year’s interdisciplinary series is “New York’s Energy Future.” The series is sponsored by the Environmental Science, Policy and Engineering (ESPE) program, with support from the Mellon Foundation.

Schlesinger, who spent 27 years on the faculty of Duke University, has been investigating the link between environmental chemistry and global climate change for more than 30 years. His recent work focuses on understanding how trees and soil influence atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

He is the author or coauthor of some 200 scientific papers on subjects of environmental chemistry and global change and the widely used textbook, Biogeochemistry: An Analysis of Global Change.

Schlesinger was among the first to quantify the amount of carbon held in soil organic matter globally, providing subsequent estimates of the role of soils and human impacts on forests and soils in global climate change.

Other speakers in the series (all at the Nott, 7 p.m.):

Thursday, Feb. 2: Victor Abate, vice president for Renewable Energy at General Electric in Schenectady

Wednesday, Feb. 15: Frank Murray, president and CEO of New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)

Thursday, Feb. 23: Andrew Revkin, an environmental journalist for the New York Times and author of the blog, Dot Earth, where he reports on natural resources, the environment, climate change and sustainability.

Wednesday, Feb. 29: Kathleen Segerson, professor of economics at the University of Connecticut and a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board. Segerson’s research focuses on the incentive effects of alternative environmental policy instruments, including applications in the following areas: groundwater contamination, hazardous waste management, workplace accidents, land use regulation, climate change and nonpoint pollution from agriculture.