U.C. Davis Professor Dan Sperling Awarded Blue Planet Prize

credit: Manny Crisostomo / Sac Bee
credit: Manny Crisostomo / Sac Bee

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.

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Reader Comments

One Reply to “U.C. Davis Professor Dan Sperling Awarded Blue Planet Prize”

  1. While we are handing out awards, it is also worthwhile to recognize the humble air-conditioning mechanic and the primary role of the air-conditioning industry in mitigating the impacts of global warming. One can talk about AB32, fuel standards, cap & trade, and other such speculations which have no real effect on actually mitigating warming. Whereas, air-conditioning actually and effectively mitigates warming and offers hope to future generations.

    One could honestly state that the humble air conditioning mechanic contributes far more to the solution than all the scholars, academics, lawyers and policymakers combined. Hurrah for air-conditioning mechanics, may you have many years of prosperity, health and life.

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Richard Frank

Richard Frank is Professor of Environmental Practice and Director of the U. C. Davis School of Law’s California Environmental Law & Policy Center. From 2006-2010, …

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