October - December 2000 Issue
Elisabeth M. Drake, the Energy Laboratory's Associate Director for New Technologies during the past ten years, retired on December 29. Dr. Drake received SB and ScD degrees in chemical engineering from MIT. She spent most of her career at Arthur D. Little, Inc., starting a hazardous facilities risk management group and becoming Vice President and leader of ADL's Environment, Health, and Safety Practice. From 1982-1986, Dr. Drake was the Cabot Professor of Chemical Engineering and Chairman of the Chemical Engineering Department at Northeastern University. She joined the MIT Energy Laboratory in 1990. In 1992, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, cited for her leadership in industrial safety and risk management. She is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and a Registered Professional Engineer.
At the Energy Laboratory, Dr. Drake was responsible for identifying, planning, and managing programs in support of new technology development responsive to the growing importance of environmental sustainability and resource conservation in internationally competitive markets. She started a program to develop industrial models for estimating life-cycle trade-offs among materials use, energy use, economics, and environmental effects to assess alternative manufacturing technologies and/or recycling policies. Most recently, she participated in a much-publicized assessment of likely new technologies for passenger cars for 2020 (see conference report on pages 6 and 7 as well as e-lab, October-December 1999). Dr. Drake has also led Laboratory efforts to expand opportunities for energy-related education. With four colleagues, she developed an interdepartmental graduate course entitled "Sustainable Energy," which balances the topics of energy, economics, society, and the environment.
Her expertise, enthusiasm, and personal support have enriched the work and lives of colleagues, collaborators, and students in the Energy Laboratory and at MIT. She will be missed.
On October 16, the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change in conjunction with the US Association for Energy Economics sponsored a half-day workshop entitled "The Role of Non-CO2 Gases and Aerosols in Climate Policy: The Hansen et al. Alternative Scenario." Held in Washington, DC, the workshop was attended by about a hundred people, mostly from Washington-based trade associations and interest groups, government agencies, and staff from Capitol Hill. The focus was an article published recently by James E. Hansen of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and colleagues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article created significant controversy by focusing on non-CO2 gases and aerosols, thereby appearing to challenge conventional wisdom that CO2 from fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change. Dr. Hansen offered a clarification of the article, indicating that energy conservation was an important element of his alternative scenario. Speakers from MIT, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and US national laboratories addressed various aspects of the article, including the roles of black carbon, other greenhouse gases, and energy conservation potential. Hosts for the workshop were the International Energy and Environment Program at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University and the National Capital Area Chapter of the US Association for Energy Economics.
Sixty-three participants from industry, government, and academia attended the fall workshop of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research, held on November 16-17. Topics included electricity markets in the United States-what happened in California; North Sea reserve appreciation; volatility and short-run energy price movements; renewed prospects for nuclear power; whether the "natural resource curse" is real; and sulfur dioxide allowance banking behavior. In a lunchtime presentation, Professor Glen L. Urban of the Sloan School of Management described e-commerce research at MIT; and during dinner, Professor Stephen Ansolabehere of the Department of Political Science considered what the US election results tell us.