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November 5, 2007

MEDIA ADVISORY: First-ever conference on behavior, energy and climate change to be held Nov. 7-9

In an unprecedented effort to develop stronger responses to climate change, dozens of leading policymakers and scholars will gather later this week in Sacramento to probe the human behavior that underlies the way we use energy, adopt new technologies, decide what we purchase and take action to produce—and reduce—emissions.

The first-ever Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference will feature talks on such topics as the relationship between social norms and household energy consumption, the "cheeseburger effect" on global warming and what prompts people to buy a Prius instead of another type of car. These and other talks aim to deepen understanding of individual and organizational behavior relating to climate change and to leverage that knowledge to develop new approaches.

The conference covers both long-term and short-term strategies. It will explore measures that could affect how we promote commerce and build cities and transportation infrastructure over the next century. Yet it also will examine more immediate steps, such as conservation and improved energy efficiency, which can produce substantial reductions in carbon emissions at relatively little cost over the next decade.

Members of the media are invited to attend, though the conference has already sold out. About 500 people from across the United States and abroad have registered, including researchers from anthropology, psychology, sociology and economics; policymakers from Congress and federal and state agencies; and participants from major business and nonprofit groups.

The schedule includes:

  • A plenary on future directions in behavior and policy with Rep. Brian Baird, D-Wash., chair of the House Science Subcommittee on Research and Science Education; Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, chair and commissioner of the California Energy Commission; Dian Grueneich, commissioner of the California Public Utilities Commission; and California Assemblyman Ira Ruskin, D-Palo Alto, chair of the budget subcommittee on resources.
  • Cathy Zoi, the founding CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, whose chair is Al Gore, discussing the group's campaign to persuade Americans—and people elsewhere in the world—of the urgency of implementing solutions for the climate crisis.
  • Opening remarks by Carl Blumstein, director of the California Institute for Energy and Environment at the University of California; Steve Nadel, executive director of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy; and Jim Sweeney, director of the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency at Stanford University.
  • Gail Slocum from PG&E on the company's ClimateSmart program, which is trying to enable customers to offset the carbon produced by their energy use. ClimateSmart will make the conference "climate neutral" by purchasing offsets to cover conference and participant travel emissions.
  • A panel on how media productions, such as serial dramas and An Inconvenient Truth, and health promotion campaigns can influence behavior, featuring William Ryerson, president of the Population Media Center; Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change; and Carrie Armel of the Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency and Stanford Medical School Prevention Research Center.
  • The event is hosted by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, the California Institute for Energy and the Environment and Stanford University's Precourt Institute for Energy Efficiency. It begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7, and runs through 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at the Radisson Hotel Sacramento at 500 Leisure Lane

    To see the full schedule, visit

    Editor Note:

    Members of the media who want to attend should contact Jonathan Rabinovitz at (650) 724-2459 or; Nancy Miljanich at (415) 269-7835 or; or Linda Schuck, BECC conference chair, at (650) 722-2966 or


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