Climate change

August 3, 2010

Travels to US and China: ecological models and the Argonne National Laboratory

Filed under: Climate Change, IFR (Integral Fast Reactor) Nuclear Power — Barry Brook @ 4:30 pm

Am away for a 3-week trip to the US and China (24 July to 15 Aug).

But fear not! I will remain active over this time. Indeed, there are quite a number of new posts in the pipeline for this period, including guest pieces by Rob Parker, Geoff Russell and Peter Lang (soon — an executive summary and review of the ZCA critique), a couple of new energy policy and planning essays by yours truly, plus parts III and IV of the climate change basics series, part II of the sea level rise post, and some more TCASE entries.

What am I doing on my travels, you may ask? Well, firstly to Chicago, where I work for a week with Dr Robert Lacy, Prof Resit Akcakaya and collaborators, on integrating spatial-demographic ecological models with climate change forecasts, and implementing multi-species projections (with the aim of improving estimates of extinction risk and provide better ranking of management and adaptation options). This work builds on a major research theme at the global ecology lab, and consequently, a whole bunch of my team are going with me — Prof Corey Bradshaw (lab co-director), my postdocs Dr Damien Fordham, Dr Mike Watts and Dr Thomas Prowse and Corey’s and my ex-postdoc, Dr Clive McMahon. This builds on earlier work that Corey and I had been pursuing, which he described on ConservationBytes last year.

After that research workshop, I fly back across the states to Sacramento CA, where I’ll be staying with Tom Blees (author of Prescription for the Planet) for a few days. I’ll also be meeting up with Steve Kirsch and a few other SCGI folks then, which should be great. Then, Tom and I will drive up to Idaho Falls and stay for a few days with Dr Charles Till, who ran the superb R&D programme for the Integral Fast Reactor at the Argonne West National Laboratory. Chuck, along with other members of the 1984-1994 IFR research team, Dr Michael Linberry and Dr John Sackett, will give Tom and I a personalised tour of what is now the Idaho National Laboratory, including the site where the Experimental Breeder Reactor II was run, and a visit to the fuel conditioning facility. Needless to say, I can’t wait!

Then, Tom, Chuck and I will go on a sightseeing drive through Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons, before I fly out of the US. This will be great, as I get to look over the sites occupied by the endangered Yellowstone grizzly bear, for which I wrote a population viability analysis (among other species) for my PhD studies back in the 1990s.

I then go straight to Shanghai for World Expo 2010, where I’m a plenary speaker at the ‘Australia — China Futures Dialogues: Achieving Sustainable Economic Development in the Asia Pacific’, thanks to an invitation from Prof Andrew O’Neil of the Griffith Asia Institute. I’ll be talking about climate change, sustainability, and of course, nuclear power and other alternative energy sources.

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