Joel Makower | two steps forward | July 23, 2009
This blog post highlights former OTA analyst Sunil Paul’s recent initiative, Gigaton Throwdown , which asked, “What would it take to aggressively scale up clean energy to have a major impact on job growth, energy independence, and climate change over the next ten years?”
The project involved dozens of people and asked how a single technology could reduce carbon dioxide emissions and greenhouse gases by a gigaton (1 billion metric tons) by the year 2020.
“The markets for clean technology involve a coordinated effort in three principal areas: technology, policy, and capital. Each of these plays a role in scaling technologies, clean or otherwise, and each of these “levers” must be pulled in proper sequence so as to create sustained, orderly markets that can exist without subsidies.” Makower said.
The report concludes that seven of the nine technologies analyzed have the potential today to scale up rapidly and massively by 2020. “We sort of already get the technology pieces of it,” Paul said. “And we know there is a lot of capital sitting on the sidelines that is ready to invest given the right kind of long-term opportunity.” What’s needed now, he says, is political leadership and action.
The complete Gigaton Throwdown report and more can be found at the initiative’s website.
American Association for the Advancement of Science | July 22, 2009
According to a AAAS Policy Alert, Andrew Wyckoff has been appointed as director of the Science, Technology and Industry Directorate (STI) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The Directorate’s mission is to provide analysis of science, technology and industry to inform government decisions about growth, employment and well-being.
Wyckoff, a former OTA staffer, has been a key science and technology analyst for OECD in Paris for almost fifteeen years.
Department of Defense | April 27, 2009
According to a Department of Defense press release, Dr. Ashton Carter was sworn in as Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics on April 27, 2009. Before returning to Washington, Dr. Carter was chair of the International and Global Affairs faculty at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Co-Director of the Preventive Defense Project (with former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry). In 1984, Dr. Carter prepared a report for OTA, Directed Energy Missile Defense In Space.
The White House | April 27, 2009
President Obama announced the members of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) at the National Academy of Sciences, according to a White House press release available here. The council advises the President and Vice-President in areas of science, technology, and innovation.
Rosina Bierbaum, an expert in climate-change science and ecology and former OTA employee, was appointed to the council. She is currently Dean of the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. At OTA, she directed a 1991 study Changing by Degrees: Steps To Reduce Greenhouse Gases, a study on climate change with reports to Congress in 1993: Preparing for an Uncertain Climate—Vol. I and Preparing for an Uncertain Climate—Vol. II, and other studies.
The White House | May 6, 2009
President Obama announced his intent to nominate Tara O’Toole as Under Secretary for Science & Technology, Department of Homeland Security, according to a White House press release. Tara O’Toole is currently the CEO and director of the Center for Biosecurity at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, an independent organization that works to improve the U.S. response to biological threats. She is also a professor of medicine and of public health at the University of Pittsburgh. At OTA, she was a project director of the study, Dismantling the Bomb and Managing the Nuclear Materials (1993) and participated in several other studies.
According to this website, “Arati Prabhakar joined U.S. Venture Partners in 2001 after 15 years of working with world-class engineers and scientists across many fields to brew new technologies.” The article outlines her career, which she began as Congressional Fellow at the Office of Technology Assessment.