The Tibetan Plateau is home to unique, rare and endangered fauna and flora that has adapted to survival in this lofty, arid land. For thousands of years rivers originating here have nourished the civilizations stretching from Pakistan to China and throughout India and South Asia. Home to about one-third of the world’s population, this vast region is facing dramatic changes as the glaciers that both store and supply water shrink, and global warming brings new regimes and patterns in climatology.
What will these changes be? What are the mechanisms that cause them? How can so much of the world’s humanity adapt or prepare? And what will be the fate of the plants and animals that have for so long called this place home?
Explore how UCLA researchers are studying the causes and the effects these changes will bring to The Tibetan Plateau and all it touches.
Watch The Tibetan Plateau
As humankind faces massive changes in weather patterns, sea level, ocean acidity, and oxygen levels, Scripps Oceanography has launched a new center focused on understanding and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Mark Merrifield, director of the new center explains how the members of this dynamic network will develop strategies for climate change adaptation.
Watch Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptations
Climate change is creating increasingly uncertain futures for people all over the globe. From melting ice caps, to rising sea levels, to wildfires and drought, every community is feeling the impact. We can react to disasters by providing aid and rebuilding, but how can we get out in front of them? Jacqueline McGlade has spent years studying climate change, worked with the United Nations Environment Programme, and is currently a Professor of Resilience and Sustainable Development at the University College London. She discusses how new technology and a growing understanding of the world’s ecosystems can help us adapt. She shares lessons she learned while studying the Inuit of Greenland and living with the Maasai in East Africa and explains how cultures focused on community can thrive in regions most-susceptible to climate change. McGlade argues there are at least seven principles, which if followed, can help build a resilient world.
Watch (Re)active Resilience: How to Thrive in a Changing Climate.
Hear from six Berkeley Lab scientists with big new ideas designed to help transform our carbon-drenched, overheating world. Each has tremendous promise and social value.
Energy-Efficient Desalination: Making fresh water from salty sources on the cheap
Current desalination techniques require huge amounts of energy and generate large amounts of environmental waste. Berkeley Lab’s Chinmayee Subban, a Cornell PhD, leads a desalination research project that reduces environmental waste and energy use by incorporating an innovative mix of low-cost materials. The technique could help relieve the stress on global water supplies by reclaiming brackish water both in the US and other countries—including in the developing world.
DIY Efficient Windows: Applying paint-on coatings for energy-efficient windows
Replacing millions of porous windows with energy-efficient versions in older buildings and homes can be prohibitively expensive. Berkeley Lab’s Raymond Weitekamp, a Caltech PhD, has a new approach: an inexpensive, paint-on, energy-efficient coating that can be applied simply and evenly without the help of a professional—while the windows are still in place. The paintable, clear material contains photonic crystals, developed by his startup company PolySpectra.
CalWave: Harnessing energy from ocean waves
At CalWave, Marcus Lehmann is developing the WaveCarpet which harnesses the power of ocean waves to produce electricity and freshwater. Avoiding the pitfalls of other wave-energy projects, the WaveCarpet operates submerged, allowing it to survive stormy seas while causing no visual pollution or posing any collision danger. Recently CalWave was selected as one of nine ¬finalists to compete for the Department of Energy’s Wave Energy Prize—a 20-month design-build-test competition. Earlier this year, the German-born Marcus was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 in the Energy Sector.
Nanoscale Sponges: Capturing carbon with metal-organic frameworks
Removing excess carbon from an overheating atmosphere is an urgent and complicated problem. The answer, according to Berkeley Lab’s Jeff Urban, could lie at the nanoscale, where specially designed cage-like structures called metal organic frameworks, or MOFs, can trap large amounts of carbon in microscopically tiny structures. A Harvard PhD with expertise in thermoelectrics, gas separation and hydrogen storage, Urban directs teams at the Molecular Foundry’s Inorganic Materials Facility.
Recycling CO2: Fueling your car on recycled CO2
Kendra Kuhl co-founded Opus 12 to find out if an electrochemical process, operating inside a desk-sized reactor, can do on an industrial scale what is often hailed as the Holy Grail of carbon-recycling research—convert CO2 captured from smokestacks into ethanol and other valuable products. A self-proclaimed chemistry geek in high school, the Berkeley Lab scientist honed her big idea while completing her PhD at Stanford.
MyGreenCar: Test driving “virtually” to compare real fuel economy and EV range
A Berkeley Lab scientist specializing in all things vehicular—from powertrain technologies, vehicle electrification and vehicle-grid integration to advanced engine technologies, personalized fuel economy and EV range prediction—Samveg (Sam) Saxena is leading the development of a new app called MyGreenCar. MyGreen Car predicts personalized fuel economy and eliminates EV range anxiety as a barrier for prospective car buyers. He also leads the development of V2G-Sim, a research platform for understanding how vehicles will interface with the grid.
If you prefer to watch them all together, the entire program is here. See more programs from the series here.