Friday, May 28, 2010

BP, University partnership ends

The year 2010 marks the end of BP’s original 10-year partnership with Princeton University’s Carbon Mitigation Institute (CMI) and the beginning of its five-year renewal of this relationship – a promise to support Princeton to at least its current level of funding from 2011 to 2015. As a part of the Princeton Environmental Institute, CMI supports research that would lead to safe, effective and affordable solutions to climate change.

One of the program’s most important contributions was their “stabilization wedges” concept, pioneered by the program’s leaders, ecology and evolutionary professor Stephen Pacala and mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Robert Socolow, in 2004. Featured in “An Inconvenient Truth,” the concept introduces 15 existing strategies to reduce global carbon emissions, such as carbon capture and the use of biomass fuels, and proposes that any combination of several of these strategies could prevent global emissions from rising for the next five decades.

Since then, one of its mostinfluential contributions has been its “One Billion High Emitters Research” in 2009. CMI estimates that global emissions come disproportionately from the wealthy: half of the world’s emissions in 2008 came from just 700 million people. Their paper suggests allocating the job of emissions reductions to nations based on the carbon emissions of their rich citizens. It made Time Magazine’s 50 Best Inventions of 2009 List as “The Personal Carbon Footprint.”

CMI involves 70 faculty members, postdoctoral fellows and students from more than 10 different departments.

by Camille Framroze