ND Energy virtual symposium to explore carbon neutrality with an emphasis on global partnerships and climate justice



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The Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy) at the University of Notre Dame will host its fourth annual research symposium on Thursday, June 3, and Friday, June 4, 2021, from 1 to 5 p.m. (ET) both days. This event is free and open to the general public.


This year’s symposium titled, “Achieving Carbon Neutrality: An Emphasis on Global Partnerships and Climate Justice” will build upon previous symposia, research presentations, and the goals of the Biden/Harris Administration to explore timely and important topics surrounding the urgency to tackle climate change, reduce carbon emissions, and create a clean and sustainable energy future. World-renowned researchers and industry experts will share their insights, perspectives, and expertise in several areas including global energy trends, carbon offsets, public reporting, and business transformation, each offering specific strategies to achieving these goals.  

"Although we have seen lower carbon emissions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the world resuming normal activity, it will be crucial for us to maintain this momentum and also regain a renewed focus on achieving net zero,” said Peter C. Burns, director of ND Energy and Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. “I’m excited about the topics during this year’s research symposium, as they are sure to spark several thoughtful and productive conversations that will lead to actions, enabling us to achieve this goal.”

Registration for the symposium is required to receive the Zoom link. For complete details and to register by June 2, visit the research symposium website.

Below is a summary of the schedule.



June 3, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. (ET)

"ND Energy and University Sustainable Energy Initiatives" by Peter C. Burns, Director, Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy); Henry Massman Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, University of Notre Dame

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Opening Keynote: “Power Trip: Transforming Past Societies to Address Today’s Looming Crisis” by Michael Webber, Josey Centennial Professor in Energy Resources and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas-Austin; Chief Science and Technology Officer, ENGIE (Paris, France) 

“U-M President's Commission on Carbon Neutrality Recommendations and Pathway Forward” by Jennifer Haverkamp, Professor from Practice at Michigan Law and Graham Family Director of the U-M Graham Sustainability Institute, University of Michigan

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Panel Discussion: “Creating a Sustainable Regional Network of Stakeholders, Researchers, and Community Members to Achieve Carbon Neutrality” moderated by Carol Mullaney, Senior Director, Office of Sustainability, University of Notre Dame, with panelists:

  • Tom Purekal, Program Director and Term Assistant Teaching Professor, Pulte Institute for Global Development
  • Danielle Wood, Associate Professor of the Practice and ND-GAIN Project Director, Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI)
  • Jay Brockman, Director, Center for Civic Innovation (CCI)
  • Ginger Sigmon, Managing Director, Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy)
June 4, 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. (ET)

“Becoming the First U.S. University to Achieve Carbon Neutrality” by Megan Litke, Director of Sustainability Programs, Office of Sustainability, American University

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“Benefits of Measurement, Reporting, and Verification to Achieve Carbon Neutrality and Aid in Policy Development” by Chelsea Hasenauer, Senior Manager of GHG- and Water-related Measurement, Reporting, and Verification Initiatives, The Climate Registry

“Commodifying Absence: Carbon Offsets to Achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2025” by Brenna Biggs, Carbon Neutrality Initiative: Carbon Offsets Fellow, University of California-Irvine

Closing Keynote: “GE's Commitment to Carbon Neutrality by 2030 and Beyond” by Lene Mi Ran Kristiansen, Sustainability Leader, GE Renewable Energy (Kolding, South Denmark, Denmark

Poster sessions are planned for both days to showcase research at Notre Dame and will be presented by undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral research associates.

For more information, contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, Center for Sustainable Energy (ND Energy), bvillaro@nd.edu.

About ND Energy:
ND Energy is a University research center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today.