Boston University School of Law

August 1, 2008

Michael Gollin (’84) contributes to environmentally based Nobel Peace Prize Award


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recognized Michael Gollin’s work as contributing to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007, which the IPCC shared with Al Gore. Gollin was a co-author of an IPCC Special Report, “Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer,” published by Cambridge University Press in 2000.

“This IPCC volume is the most comprehensive assessment available on technology transfer and provides invaluable information to serve industry, policy-makers, environmental organizations, and researchers in global change, technology, engineering and economics,” said Gollin.

Almost 200 experts from around the world contributed to the IPCC report, which discusses environmentally sound technologies to address climate change, and how these technologies can be passed on from developed to developing countries.

“My chapter three related to international agreements and legal structures to facilitate climate change technology innovation and transfer, including intellectual property issues such as access to government-owned technology and the role of privately developed technologies,” said Gollin.

After hearing from the IPCC that he was being recognized for his work and would be sharing the Nobel Peace Prize with the organization, he told them, “I look forward to receiving my small ‘piece’ of the Peace Prize!”

Although Gollin figures he has won about "1/3000” of the Prize, “Friends tell me that's more than most people can say."

With such monumental strides in environmental research, Gollin’s contribution is far from unimportant. R. K. Pachauri of the IPCC told Gollin the award was only being shared with those who "have contributed substantially to the work of the IPCC over the years since the inception of the organization.“

Gollin added, "[The IPCC] was credited with the steady, some might say tedious, gathering of information and building of consensus that led to the sea of change in attitudes about climate change over the past few years. They made their case brick by brick, and I guess I was a brick maker or bricklayer.”

Gollin’s work with the IPCC is not his only in the environmental field. His interest spans decades, and he was initially invited to work with the IPCC through an experience with the National Academy of Sciences panel on groundwater cleanup technologies, which issued another groundbreaking report.

“The recognition is a very nice reinforcement of the tremendous amount of professional and pro bono work I do in addition to my exceedingly busy law practice and an incentive to keep doing the public/professional interest activities,” he said.

Reported by Elizabeth Ress