Category: James Baldwin
Baldwin’s talk, titled “The Middlesex Canal in the Context of the Great 19th Century Energy Transition” discussed the rise and fall of the Middlesex Canal and the role of it’s chief engineer and his son in the transition to steam power in 18th century New England. The Middlesex Canal was the first canal built in the United States and operated from 1802 to 1851 and connected Boston to Lowell, and ultimately Concord NH, by water. Canal Street in Boston lies on the canal bed.
To learn more about Baldwin’s work, check out his profile page.
For the past 3 years, Earth & Environment’s James Baldwin has been accompanying his GE150 students to the Boston Museum of Science (MOS). GE150, Sustainable Energy- Technology, Resources, Society and Environment is a course that examines the social, economic and environmental implications of energy technologies with a goal of considering how society can produce and use energy sustainably. The course is highly interdisciplinary making use of knowledge from both the physical and social sciences to analyze existing energy technologies and resources as well as options for the future.
Each Fall, Baldwin’s GE150 students take advantage of the annual admission-free MOS college night to take part in a class scavenger hunt for extra credit. The students are given a set of five clues that lead them to exhibits that related to material that has been, or will be, covered in lectures. To get credit, students take pictures of themselves with the exhibit related to a specific clue.
While his students explored the museum, Baldwin walked around with groups of 3-6 students to discuss some of the exhibits and how they related to the challenges society faces with respect to energy.
Last week, students in Prof James Baldwin’s Sustainable Energy class took advantage of the free admission for college students at the Museum of Science “College Night” to look at exhibits related to energy and the environment.
Prof. Baldwin met his students at the museum and discussed some of the exhibits on renewable energy, energy conservation and basic energy related science. In addition students were given a set of clues leading to specific exhibits. To prove they figured out the clue and found the exhibits the class took pictures of themselves (selfies) in front of them.
Earth & Environment Lecture James Baldwin will be in Tampa, Florida on Saturday to give three talks as part of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers.
Baldwin’s first talk details an analysis of spatial trends in global C02 emissions.
Baldwin’s second talk will focus on work Baldwin coauthored with Earth & Environment alum Michael Mann; their talk will be on the topic of forecasting landuse change and wildfire risk in California.
The third talk will be on work Baldwin coauthored with recent graduate Peter O’Connor and will focus on O’Connor’s work to quantify population weighted climate exposure.
The 2014 Annual AAG meeting runs from Tuesday April 8th to Saturday April 12th. The meeting’s sessions will cover the full breadth of geography from physical geography areas such as geomorphology and climate to human geography topics such as transportation and development.
The theme of tonight’s Rhett Talk will be “Social Justice.” Baldwin’s talk will focus specifically on the implications of demographic and environmental change for humanity in the coming decades.
In addition to Baldwin’s lecture, two other faculty members will also give brief lectures on past and present issues related to social justice.
Each talk will last roughly 15 minutes and be followed by a 5 minute Q&A session.
BU Rhett Talks are modeled after the popular TED talks and are designed to allow students to engage with faculty on a variety of interesting, intellectual topics.
For one night a year the Museum of Science opens its doors free of charge to area college students, and, for the second year in a row, Department of Earth and Environment Visiting Assistant Professor James Baldwin took advantage of the museum’s night of free admission to lead his students on a sustainable energy scavenger hunt.
For the scavenger hunt, Prof. Baldwin challenged the students in his GE150 Sustainable Energy class to search out specific exhibits at the Museum related to sustainable energy: “we looked at and discussed exhibits that demonstrated key scientific principles related to energy, the evolution of society’s use of energy, and also the extensive exhibit on renewable energy,” stated Baldwin.
Baldwin provided clues to the students to lead them to specific exhibits; the students then took pictures of themselves with the exhibits for extra credit. Some of the exhibits that the students had to find this year included a cloud chamber which enables visualizations of subatomic particulars and fission events and a display on solar “power towers.”
While students searched for the different exhibits, Baldwin roamed the museum with his students, explaining the science behind sustainable energy: “in total I was talking with students one on one and in small groups for nearly 4 hours,” said Baldwin, “although exhausting for me, all the students who went had an awesome time and so did I. I look forward to doing it again next fall.”
GE150, Sustainable Energy, focuses on the sustainability challenges that exist in our current energy systems. Students in the course learn about the physical principles and environmental aspects of energy systems, both renewable and nonrenewable, and then discuss ways society can become more sustainable from an energy perspective. Topics range from technological questions such as “what is a heat engine” and “how a nuclear reactor works” to global perspectives on things like climate change, energy policy, and conflict over energy.
Prof. Baldwin and Sue Wing Forecast U.S. CO2 Emissions to Exceed Official Estimates in Recent Journal of Regional Science Paper
Recent developments in U.S. climate change policy have seen the first tentative steps toward legislating a binding aggregate emission cap and implementing curbs on GHGs at the state and regional levels.1 This state and regional level policy action has been identified as both a critical element in U.S. emissions reductions and as a force to shape national climate change mitigation policy (Byrne et al., 2007; Lutsey and Sperling, 2008; Rabe, 2008). Consequently, the resulting economic effects of these policies is the subject of intense recent interest (Grainger and Kolstad, 2009; Hassett et al., 2009; Sue Wing, 2010). The first step in making any such assessment, and one incorporated or mandated in all state climate action plans (EPA, 2012), is to forecast how states’ baseline emissions are likely to evolve. Prerequisite to such projections is the ability to characterize the geographic variations in the precursors of GHGs—particularly CO2—based on an understanding of their historical evolution.
In this paper we investigate how the driving forces behind U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have evolved over the period 1963–2008. We take an explicitly spatial approach, quantifying in detail the interregional variations in CO2 precursors that are largely absent in the literature. While several recent papers have exploited state-level databases on the prices and quantities of fuel use, their focus has been quantifying the aggregate effects of drivers such as income and prices.2 The unfortunate consequence is that the substantial interregional heterogeneity underlying these results, which is interesting in its own right, has largely been ignored. An important exception to this general trend is Metcalf’s (2008) inquiry into the drivers of the energy intensity of U.S. states, which he disaggregates into intrasectoral changes in energy efficiency and intersectoral changes in the structure of economic activity. This paper’s key feature is the use of index number decomposition analysis, which is a popular technique for apportioning the time-evolution of a composite variable into contributions associated with movements in its constituent factors.3 We build on this approach, developing an extended decomposition framework which attributes the evolution of CO2 emissions over space and time to five precursors: the emissions intensity of energy use, the energy intensity of economic activity, the composition of states’ output, per capita income and population. Click to read entire paper…