UC Berkeley’s Center for Law Energy & the Environment, or CLEE, received the first installment of a $100,000 donation from campus alumnus Stuart Gardiner, the gift going to the exploration of ideas that could help in combating climate change.
The donation is intended to support CLEE’s efforts to explore and identify the most promising climate solutions, with the understanding that some ideas would ultimately be discarded, according to Jordan Diamond, CLEE executive director.
The gift allows them to analyze and select the most impactful idea from all the suggestions put forward, Diamond added.
“You don’t always know which is the best and which are going to actually move quickly and get taken up in a useful way, and so my feeling is that you need to work on a suite of different solutions,” said Ken Alex, director of Project Climate at CLEE. “If you can work on half a dozen or more at a time, some of them will move forward more quickly than others and you can focus on those.”
Alex noted that CLEE must overcome many barriers as some of the most promising solutions face many obstacles before becoming policy, these ranging from the bureaucratic to the technical.
The gift will allow CLEE the time and space to think about what solutions would be effective while not restricting them to a particular project or solution, Alex added.
“CLEE is intended to channel the expertise of and expert scholarship at Berkeley Law into real work impacts,” said Judith Katz, director of advancement at CLEE. “It’s kind of taking the ivory tower into the real world.”
According to Diamond, the center has four primary programs that focus respectively on climate issues, water allocation, ocean governance and land use. The programs serve to create a more sustainable world by ensuring an adequate and equitable water supply and facilitating the transition to renewable energy, among other things.
In the past, CLEE has worked on projects that range from creating plans for electric vehicle infrastructure to the development of GrizzlyCorps, an AmeriCorps program that focuses on climate change, according to the center’s faculty director Dan Farber.
“Ever since I was a child, I’ve been very interested in science,” Gardiner said. “I’d say starting in the 1990s, climate change became a subject that started cropping up more and more often in the news. … I concluded for myself that this was the most urgent issue facing humanity.”
Gardiner added that he thinks CLEE is doing a lot of useful and important work in helping California to reduce and halt the conditions giving rise to climate change.
He noted that they are also helping people adapt to the effects.
“I have a lot of confidence that they have both motivation and talent to continue to make a really important difference,” Gardiner said. “I have a lot of optimism that they are going to continue to do important work in the area and I hope that what I’ve contributed just enables them to do more.”