Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, will top the speakers list at SOLAR 2013, the 42nd annual National Solar Conference in Baltimore, April 16-20.
Joining McKibben on the podium will be Kevin Knobloch, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Both speakers will focus on critical need for rapid response to climate change, and especially on the role of carbon-neutral energy sources in the swift reduction of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
Also speaking in Baltimore will be leading experts on the successful development of distributed power sources in Germany. Invited are Jochen Flasbarth (invited) is president of the German Federal Environmental Agency, and Thomas Chrometzka (invited) is head of international affairs at the German Solar Industry Association. German experts will speak on ways in which Germany has been able to race to more than 25-percent renewable electricity, on the way to 35 percent by 2020.
Bill McKibben, a well known environmental author and activist, is the founder of 350.org, an international climate change campaign. 350.org is named for the safe level of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million.
When he’s not busy organizing, Bill is an active writer on the climate crisis and other environmental issues. His 1989 book The End of Nature was the first book to warn the general public about the threat of global warming. After his stint as president of the Harvard Crimson, Bill became a staff writer at The New Yorker. Today he is a frequent contributor to various magazines including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is also a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing in 2000.
His first book, The End of Nature, was published in 1989 by Random House after being serialized in the New Yorker. It is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has been printed in more than 20 languages. Several editions have come out in the United States, including an updated version published in 2006.
His next book, The Age of Missing Information, was published in 1992. It is an account of an experiment: McKibben collected everything that came across the 100 channels of cable tv on the Fairfax, Virginia system (at the time among the nation’s largest) for a single day. He spent a year watching the 2,400 hours of videotape, and then compared it to a day spent on the mountaintop near his home. This book has been widely used in colleges and high schools, and was reissued in a new edition in 2006.
Subsequent books include Hope, Human and Wild, about Curitiba, Brazil and Kerala, India, which he cites as examples of people living more lightly on the earth; The Comforting Whirlwind: God, Job, and the Scale of Creation, which is about the Book of Job and the environment; Maybe One, about human population; Long Distance: A Year of Living Strenuously, about a year spent training for endurance events at an elite level; Enough, about what he sees as the existential dangers of genetic engineering; Wandering Home, about a long solo hiking trip from his current home in the mountains east of Lake Champlain in Ripton, Vermont back to his longtime neighborhood of the Adirondacks.
In March 2007 McKibben published Deep Economy: the Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future. It addresses what the author sees as shortcomings of the growth economy and envisions a transition to more local-scale enterprise.
In late summer 2006, Bill helped lead a five-day walk across Vermont to demand action on global warming that some newspaper accounts called the largest demonstration to date in America about climate change. Beginning in January 2007 he founded stepitup07.org to demand that Congress enact curbs on carbon emissions that would cut global warming pollution 80 percent by 2050. With six college students, he organized 1,400 global warming demonstrations across all 50 states of America on April 14, 2007. Step It Up 2007 has been described as the largest day of protest about climate change in the nation’s history. A guide to help people initiate environmental activism in their community coming out of the Step It Up 2007 experience entitledFight Global Warming Now was published in October 2007 and a second day of action on climate change was held the following November 3.
March 2008 saw the publication of The Bill McKibben Reader, a collection of 44 essays written for various publications over the past 25 years.
Bill resides with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter Sophie, in Ripton, Vermont. He is a scholar in residence at Middlebury College.
Kevin Knobloch brings 32 years of experience in public policy, government, advocacy, and media to his job as president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). He is knowledgeable about a range of environmental and national security issues including global warming, natural resource and clean energy economics, renewable and efficient vehicle technologies, nuclear weapons, forest management, and corporate responsibility, as well as legislative strategy and procedure.
Kevin was named president of UCS in December 2003, after serving as executive director for four years. Earlier in his career, from 1989 to 1992, he served as the organization’s legislative director for arms control and national security. Kevin currently oversees all of the organization’s programs and operations, and has led UCS delegations to the United Nations international climate negotiations in Montreal in 2005, Bali in 2007, Poznan in 2008, and Copenhagen in 2009.
Kevin has served as chair of the Green Group, a coalition of the CEOs of 32 national environmental organizations, and served as co-chair of the Green Group Climate and Energy Committee for seven years. He recently completed eight years on the board of directors of the Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES), and continues to serve on the Environmental League of Massachusetts board of directors. He is also co-founder and former president of the Arlington (MA) Land Trust.
Kevin holds a master’s degree in public administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, with a focus on natural resource economics and environmental management, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he concentrated in English and journalism. He began his career as an award-winning newspaper journalist, writing for several Massachusetts publications.
During six years on Capitol Hill in the 1980s, Kevin was the legislative director for U.S. Senator Timothy Wirth (D-CO) and legislative assistant and press secretary for U.S. Representative Ted Weiss (D-NY). He later served as director of conservation programs for the Appalachian Mountain Club in Boston.
Jochen Flasbarth has led Germany’s largest national environmental authority since September 2009.
Flasbarth’s last post was as head of the Nature Conservation and Sustainable Use of Natural Resources Directorate at the Federal Ministry for Environment (BMU). Prior to that he served as director of the NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union) for eleven years, an association which he modernized. Since the mid-1980s Flasbarth has performed various volunteer duties at a number of environmental organizations, including that of acting as member of the steering committee of the Deutscher Naturschutzring and as founding member of the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (association for sustainable mobility and a major German transport and environmental organization). As member of the supervisory board at the Wuppertal Institute he cooperated closely on climate and resource protection research projects.
The main focus areas of his environmental policy activities have included nature conservation as well as ecological transport policy, climate protection, and ecological ﬁnance policy.
As an environmental expert Jochen Flasbarth was a member of the National Committee for Sustainable Development convened by then-Minister for Environment Angela Merkel, as well as the National Sustainability Council founded by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. He played a key role in the success of the UN’s Biodiversity Strategy in Bonn and has since headed the presidency of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. Flasbarth studied economics, political science and philosophy at the Universities of Münster and Bonn.
Born in Düsseldorf, Germany, Thomas Chrometzka studied political science with a focus on international relations, with minors in communication and social anthropology, at the Westfälische-Wilhelms University in Münster, Germany and Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. In 2006 he earned a master’s degree in political science.
After graduation he was Program Manager of the European Master in Renewable Energy, a study program administered by the European Renewable Energy Research Centres Agency (EUREC) in Brussels in 2007.
Later that year he joined the German Solar Industry Association in Berlin as International Affairs Officer. At BSW-Solar, Thomas worked on European projects, solar policy analysis and global PV market development.
In 2009, Thomas became Head of International Affairs at BSW-Solar, responsible for promoting the German Solar Industry abroad and contributing to creating favorable framework conditions for solar globally. For BSW-Solar he is responsible for the development of an export strategy of the German solar industry in cooperation with the German Ministry of Economy (BMWi). Furthermore, Thomas coordinates the European-funded project PV LEGAL, which aims at removing bureaucratic barriers for PV system installations in Europe.
The 42nd annual National Solar Conference, SOLAR 2013, examines policy initiatives that can streamline permitting and financing for large and small projects. It explores the emergency-preparedness aspects of distributed power, and the industry’s road forward as renewable installations double annually. SOLAR 2013 is the best opportunity all year for investors, businesses, policy analysts and other renewable energy researchers to exchange ideas and explore new concepts. Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society is the nation’s leading association of solar professionals and advocates. Our mission is to speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy.
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