Berkeley in the News

Berkeley in the News is a daily selection of articles and commentaries in the news media that mention UC Berkeley. The views and opinions expressed in these articles do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the campus.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

1. UC Berkeley Carbon Footprint Study Puts 'Peer Pressure' On South Bay Cities

Speaking from San Francisco's Global Climate Action Summit, Christopher Jones, director of Berkeley's CoolClimate Network, discusses his team's release of a first-of-its-kind interactive map of the Bay Area, color-coded to show the relative size of neighborhoods' carbon footprints. Sponsored by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the study quantifies the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions derived from a range of factors, including commute patterns, energy use, house size, and consumption of greenhouse-intensive foods, like meat. Affluent areas, including the South Bay cities of Saratoga, Los Altos, and Woodside, were among the neighborhoods with the biggest footprints. After the map's release, Jones says that cities were in touch with him to defend their green records. "Certainly the cities with higher emissions, it can definitely light a fire under them to do more," he says, noting that the study didn't intend to green-shame anyone, but that the resulting peer pressure is a powerful side effect. "I definitely think there is peer pressure between cities. Cities are making commitments at this summit to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. That's really important, so we want that peer pressure between cities, and also between households and between businesses." Link to video.
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2. Daily Intelligencer: Voters Are Ready for a Green New Deal. Are Democrats?
New York Magazine Online

A commentary about the urgent choice facing humanity -- whether we "mobilize against climate change" or just "sit back and watch cable news coverage of this month's '1,000-year storm' until our coastal cities sink into the sea" -- cites one of the reasons we should opt for the first choice, and it has to do with money. According to estimates by Berkeley researchers, for every Celsius degree of warming, the cost to the global economy will be, on average, 1.2 percent of GDP.
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3. Multifaceted reforms needed to reach California's education goals, research project finds

An extensive collection of preK-12 education studies by California researchers has been released to inform the education agenda of the state's next governor and legislature. Called "Getting Down to Facts II," the project was co-coordinated by the Berkeley-affiliated Policy Analysis for California Education, or PACE, and at least one of the studies was produced by Berkeley researchers, including public policy professor Rucker Johnson. His study found a link between extra spending on poor children and improvements in their reading scores and graduation rates.
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4. Behind Your Rising Health-Care Bills: Secret Hospital Deals That Squelch Competition
Wall Street Journal (*requires registration)

A Wall Street Journal analysis of hospital data from Berkeley researchers is cited in this article about how secretive hospital contracts with insurers "block efforts to curb health-care costs." A chart provided by assistant adjunct professor Brent Fulton illustrates how dramatically hospital systems have been taking over primary-care practices, upsetting the balance of power between hospital systems, independent practices, and medical groups.
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5. Republicans, Democrats face risks and rewards in Brett Kavanaugh's embattled Supreme Court nomination
USA Today

In an article speculating about the implications of the potential collapse of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court hearings following accusations of sexual misconduct, it's suggested that the slow process of bringing a new nominee to the table could allow the Democrats to regain control of the Senate and set them up to select the next justice. But Berkeley Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky says: "I don't think the Democrats would confirm anyone in the last two years of the Trump presidency. ... That would really heighten the Supreme Court as an issue in the 2020 election."
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6. U.S. trade deficit to worsen: experts

Interviewed at a seminar on "The Economic Consequences of Mr. Trump," economics and political science professor Barry Eichengreen remarked that the U.S. trade deficit will be deepening due to declining savings rates brought about by the Trump administration's tax cuts. "People are paying less taxes and buying more," he said.
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7. Acclaimed Berkeley playwright Philip Kan Gotanda opens up about his mysterious new play
San Jose Mercury News (*requires registration)

Playwright Philip Kan Gotanda, a Berkeley theater, dance, and performance studies professor, has a new play debuting at the Ubuntu Theater Project. According to this critic, the play -- "Pool of Unknown Wonders: Undertow of the Soul" -- is a "fractured narrative in which five travelers adrift in time take a strange, dreamlike trip guided by a mysterious navigator. Though they travel as a group, each person's journey is deeply personal and steeped in haunting traumas and ugly buried truths." Professor Gotanda says: "The play I think is about -- and I say 'I think' because the ending isn't even absolute yet -- a group of individuals who are on a journey in an attempt to reconcile the irreconcilable. ... They all have individual stories, and they're heading for this place called the Pool that's located within an area called the Zone." This is the second play Professor Gotanda has written for Ubuntu. The first was an adaptation of "Rashomon." For more on this, visit the Ubuntu Theater Project.
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