Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara



"Energy in Transition"

Gary Dirks
Director, Global Institute of Sustainability
Professor, School of Sustainability
Arizona State University

Monday, November 18, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

"Dr. Dirks has been at the forefront of energy and policy for much of his career, and his credentials speak for themselves. He is unique among academics, having been successful in both the business and academic worlds. This informative and enlightening talk regarding the future of energy is one you won't want to miss." — PhD student host Ty Brandt


Access to affordable energy is vital to economic development and human well-being. The current global energy system has served humanity well on the whole by providing affordable and reliable supplies over many decades. Now the global energy system is under pressure to change from a diverse range of factors. New supplies, declining availability of traditional supplies, air quality, and climate change are all combining to create an energy transition that will present both uncertainty and new opportunity. In this talk, I will describe some of these factors and how they might impact the future of energy provision and consumption. I will also discuss efforts at Arizona State University to contribute to the energy transition through our LightWorks Initiative and the Global Institute of Sustainability.  

Gary Dirks, PhD is director of Arizona State University’s Global Institute of Sustainability and director of LightWorks, an ASU initiative that capitalizes on ASU’s strengths in solar energy and other light-inspired research. He is also the Julie A. Wrigley chair of sustainable practices, a professor of practice in the School of Sustainability, and distinguished Sustainability Scientist. Before joining ASU, Dirks was president of BP Asia-Pacific and BP China. In China, he grew BP from an operation with fewer than 30 employees and no revenue to more than 1,300 employees and revenues of about $14 billion in 2008. Dirks has served on the boards of the India Council for Sustainable Development, the U.S. China Center for Sustainable Development, and the China Business Council for Sustainable Development. Dirks received China’s “Friendship Award” in 2003 and received an honorary CMG (Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George) from the United Kingdom in 2005. In December 2008 he was recognized by the People’s Daily as one of the 10 most influential multinational company leaders of the last 30 years of China’s economic development. Dirks received a PhD in chemistry from ASU in 1980. He was the first doctoral student to work in the Center for the Study of Early Events in Photosynthesis (now the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis).

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


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