Kudos to my U.C. Davis faculty colleague, Dan Sperling, this year’s recipient of the prestigious Blue Planet Prize. The Prize, awarded by the Asahi Glass Foundation, is often referred to as the Nobel Prize for environmental science.
Dan Sperling is one of the most influential transportation scholars and policymakers in America. A professor of engineering at U.C. Davis, he also directs UCD’s Institute for Transportation Studies, as well as the University’s newly-formed, interdisciplinary Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy. He’s a prodigious scholar, having written hundreds of academic papers and twelve books–most recently, Two Billion Cars: Driving Toward Sustainability.
What makes Dan unique among his academic colleagues is that he’s also a most influential policymaker. Dan serves as a member of the California Air Resources Board (having been appointed to that position by the Governor of California), and in that post has been instrumental in charting state transportation policy and implementing California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a.k.a. AB 32. Among Dan’s most impressive, recent achievements is his academic research and development of the concept of a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, followed by his successfully advocating that his fellow CARB members adopt the LCFS as an integral part of California’s plan to achieve the ambitious greenhouse gas reduction goals mandated by AB 32.
Dan will travel to Tokyo this fall to formally accept his Blue Planet Prize, which comes with a $500,000 award. (Professor Sperling continues an illustrious University of California tradition: three years ago, Berkeley Law Professor Emeritus Joe Sax received the Blue Planet Prize for his own, pioneering environmental law scholarship.)
Congratulations to Dan Sperling on earning this prestigious award, and for serving as such a compelling example of how academics can apply their scholarship thoughtfully, effectively and well.