Robert H. Socolow
Lecturer with rank of Professor in Public Affairs
Senior Research Scholar
Co-Director, The Carbon Mitigation Initiative; Director, Climate and Energy Challenge, Princeton Environmental Institute
Ph.D. Harvard University (1964)
B.A. (Physics) Harvard College (1959)
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies; Fellow of the American Physical Society; Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Robert Socolow is Professor Emeritus of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University. His current research focuses on global carbon management and fossil-carbon sequestration. He is the co-principal investigator (with ecologist, Stephen Pacala) of Princeton University's Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI), a fifteen-year (2000-2015) research project supported by BP (and formerly by Ford). Under CMI, Princeton has launched new, coordinated research in environmental science, energy technology, geological engineering, and public policy.
Innovative strategies to strengthen R&D for "clean" electric power--and other sectors, presented at the U.S. Department of Energy Cornerstone Workshop for the Quadrennial Technology Review, Arlington, VA, December 4-5, 2014
Leapfrogging, Panel Discussion on Innovation: China Energy Group, Princeton University, November 24, 2014
Destiny Studies: A plausible element of the new Climate Futures Initiative at Princeton University, October 2, 2014
Assuring wise terrestrial biocarbon solutions to climate change by well-crafted conditionality, presented at "Princeton Studies Food: A Conference Showcasing Food and Agricultural Systems Research and Interest at Princeton," September 26, 2014
Commitment accounting of CO2 emissions, Steven Davis and Rob Socolow, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 9, Number 8
Risks of Climate Change and Risks of Climate Change Solutions, presenred at Workshop on Risk and Uncertainty Perception: Modeling and Climate Change Policy, RISICO Project, Bocconi University, Milan, July 15-16, 2014
Grid-Scale Energy Storage: Implications for Renewable Energy, An Energy Technology Distillate from the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, June 1, 2014
Papers (and a few talks) are organized under the following subheads:
A. Geoengineering (including Direct Capture of CO2 from Air)
B. Nuclear Power (including Nuclear Proliferation)
C. Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption
D. Fossil Fuels, CO2 Capture and Storage, Hydrogen, Biofuels, Wind
*Those items marked with an asterisk are of special interest.
"Stabilization Wedges and the Polygame," a guest lecture at Alta Scuola Politecnica in Belgirate, Italy, May 24, 2013.
Interview, University of Minnesota, Institute on the Environment’s Momentum “What Would It Take?”, Winter 2012 special issue
Alta Scuola Politecnica Spring School, Belgirate, Lago Maggiore, Italy, “Global change and sustainability,” coordinated by Professor Gatto, May 18, 2012. You can find the video in the Courses playlist or directly at this link
7 Billion People, 30 Gigatons of CO2, 1 Warming Planet: Population & Climate in the 21st Century, Discover Magazine, November 18, 2011
When Politicians Distort Science, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 20, 2011
Interview on stabilization wedges, L'Usine A' Ges, October 2011, pp.8-9
"Wedges Reaffirmed," by Robert Socolow, September 19, 2011
Ten solicited comments on the essay, “Wedges Reaffirmed,” by Robert Socolow, September, 2011
"Sustainable Wedges and Climate Change," Robert H. Socolow, in D. Hafemeister, B. Levi, M. Levine and P. Schwartz, eds., Physics of Sustainable Energy: Using Energy Efficiently and Producing It Renewably. American Institute of Physics (AIP) Conference Proceedings, 2008, Volume 1044, pp. 28-48.
Innovators – Global Warming’s Big Thinkers, Time Magazine, article by Michael D. Lemonick, April 9, 2007
“Stabilization Wedges: An Elaboration of the Concept,” Robert H. Socolow, a chapter in Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, H. J. Schellnhuber, W. Cramer, N. Nakicenovic, T. Wigley, G. Yohe (eds), Cambridge University Press (Cambridge), pp. 347-354, 2006.
“A Wedges Analysis of the IPCC SRES Scenarios,” Jeffery Greenblatt, Keywan Riahi, and Robert H. Socolow. Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (GHGT-8), June 19-22, 2006, Trondheim, Norway. Issued on CD-ROM, by Elsevier/IEA GHG.
*"A Plan to Keep Carbon in Check," Robert H. Socolow & Stephen W. Pacala, Scientific American, September 2006.
Business as Usual, a chapter on current emissions trends in Field Notes from a Catastrophe Man, Nature and Climate Change, by Elizabeth Kolbert, Bloomsbury 2006
“‘Wedges’: Early Mitigation with Familiar Technology,” Robert Socolow, Stephen Pacala, and Jeffery Greenblatt. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies (5-9 September 2004, Vancouver, Canada). Vol. II, Part 2, Pages 1983-1986, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2005.
*"Stabilization Wedges: Solving the Climate Problem for the Next 50 Years with Current Technologies," S. Pacala and R. Socolow, Science, Vol. 305, Issue 5686, pp. 968-972, August 13, 2004.
"Solving the Climate Problem: Technologies Available to Curb CO 2 Emissions," by Robert Socolow, Roberta Hotinski, Jeffery B. Greenblatt, and Stephen Pacala, Environment, Vol. 46, No. 10, pp. 8-19. December 2004
Grand Challenges for Engineering, National Academy of Engineering (R.H. Socolow, Committee Member), 2008
Lessons learned from the U.S. experience with shale gas--take the time to get it right, an interview with Science|Business, in Brussels, Belgium, October 9, 2013.
Robert H. Socolow, "Truths We Must Tell Ourselves to Manage Climate Change", Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 65, Number 6, pp.1455-1478.
"40-year phase-out for conventional coal? If only!", by Robert Socolow, 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7, Issue 1, March 2012
"When politicians distort science," by Robert Socolow, Roger A. Pielke, Jr., and Randy Olson, Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, October 20, 2011
*“High-consequence outcomes and internal disagreements: tell us more, please,” Robert H. Socolow, Climatic Change, August 9, 2011
*(Contributor) America’s Climate Choices, National Research Council of the National Academies, 2011
(Presentation) "Low-Carbon Energy," by Robert Socolow. Presented to National Academy, Summit on America's Climate Choices: Developing the Framework for a National Response to Climate Change. Keynote Perspectives on Climate Change. Washington, D.C. March 30, 2009.
*(Contributor) America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation: Summary Edition, 2009 . Reprinted with permission from “America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation,” 2009, by the National Academy of Sciences, Courtesy of the National Academies Press, Washington, D.C.
(Contributor) Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future. InterAcademy Council (R.H. Socolow, Study Panel Member). October, 2007.
*"Good Enough Tools for Global Warming Policy Making," R. H. Socolow & S. H. Lam, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, February 2007
(Contributor) Review of DOE's Vision 21 Research and Development Program, Phase I, National Research Council, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2003.
The Century-Scale Problem of Carbon Management, a chapter in the book The Carbon Dioxide Dilemma Promising Technologies and Policies, Proceedings of a Symposium, April 23-24, 2002, National Academies
"Safe vs. Fair: A Formidable Trade-off in Tackling Climate Change." Massimo Tavoni, Shoibal Chakravarty and Robert Socolow, Sustainability 2012, Volume 4, Issue 2
"Living Ethically in a Greenhouse," by Robert H. Socolow and Mary R. English. The Ethics of Global Climate Change. Edited by Denis G. Arnold. Cambridge University Press, 2011
*"Sharing Global CO2 Emission Reductions Among One Billion High Emitters," Chakravarty, Shoibal, A. Chikkatur, H. de Coninck, Stephen W. Pacala, Robert H. Socolow and Massimo Tavoni. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2009: 106(29), doi: 10.1073/pnas.0905232106 11884-11888
"A Focus on Individuals can Guide Nations towards a Low Carbon World," Chakravarty, Shoibal, Robert H. Socolow, Massimo Tavoni. Climate Science and Policy," November 13, 2009
"China's rapid deployment of SO2 scrubbers," Yuan Xu, Robert H. Williams and Robert H. Socolow, Energy & Environmental Science 2,459-465, published March 13, 2009. doi: 10.1039/b901357c
Tribute to Amulya Reddy 1930-2006, Energy for Sustainable Development, Volume X No. 2, June 2006
Facing New Unknowns, Robert H. Socolow, Special Report: Approaching Midnight, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 63, No. 1, pp. 45-46, January/February 2007
Scale, Awareness and Conscience: the Moral Terrain of Ecological Vulnerability, a chapter in New Dimensions in Bioethics, Science, Ethics and the Formulation of Public Policy. Edited by Arthur W. Galston and Emily G. Shurr, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001
"Fulfilling the Promise of Environmental Technology," by Marc H. Ross and Robert H. Socolow, Issues in Science and Technology, Volume VII, Number 3, pp. 61-66, Spring 1991
*Failures of Discourse: Obstacles to the Integration of Environmental Values into Natural Resource Policy. A Reading of the Controversy Surrounding the Proposed Tocks Island Dam on the Delaware River. When Values Conflict: Essays on Environmental Analysis, Discource, and Decision. Edited by Laurence H. Tribe, Corinne S. Schelling (and) John Voss. Cambridge, MA, American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Ballinger Pub. Co. xv, 1976
"Ruminations on The Limits to Growth and the Fractured Academy," by Robert H. Socolow, Transactions of the ASME, Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement, and Control, March 1973
Patient Earth, co-editor with J. Harte. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.
Jamaica Bay and Kennedy Airport, A Multidisciplinary Environmental Study, Volume I: Conclusions, Recommendations, Summary, by Robert H. Socolow, Member of the Jamaica Bay Environmental Study Group of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, D.C., 1971.
Jamaica Bay and Kennedy Airport, A Multidisciplinary Environmental Study, Volume II, by Robert H. Socolow, Member of the Jamaica Bay Environmental Study Group of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Washington, D.C., 1971.
Environmental Problems in South Florida, Part II, Robert H. Socolow, Full-Time Member, Environmental Study Group, et al. Report of the Environmental Study Group to the Environmental Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, March 1970
Institutions for Effective Management of the Environment, Part I, by Robert H. Socolow, Full-Time Member, Environmental Study Group, et al. Report of the Environmental Study Group to the Environmental Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, January 1970
A. Geoengineering (including Direct Capture of CO2 from Air):
The Geoengineering Agenda, a briefing at the kickoff meeting of the Committee on Geoengineering Climate: Technical Evaluation and Discussion of Impacts. National Academy of Sciences, July 16, 2013.
"Geoengineering and our Collective Future: New challenges for ethics," a workshop at Princeton on ethics of risk and climate change, April 13, 2013.
"Modeling meets science and technology: An introduction to a special issue on negative emissions," by Massimo Tavoni and Robert Socolow. Climatic Change, 2013. Vol.118, No.1, pp.1-14.
"Can geoengineering be green?," by Robert H. Socolow, Issues in Science and Technology, Volume XXVII, Number 1, Fall 2010
Invited response to the article, “Pursuing Geoengineering for Atmospheric Restoration,” by Robert B. Jackson and James Salzman, the Forum Issues in Science and Technology, Volume XXVII, Number 1, Fall 2010, pp. 12-13.
*(Presentation) Thoughts about Asilomar 2.2. Presentation at the Asilomar International Conference on Climate Intervention Technologies, March 25, 2010
*(Contributor) J. J. Blackstock, D. S. Battisti, K. Caldeira, D. M. Eardley, J. I. Katz, D. W. Keith, A. A. N. Patrinos, D. P. Schrag, R. H. Socolow and S. E. Koonin, Climate Engineering Responses to Climate Emergencies (Novim, 2009)
(Presentation) "Prospicience and Geoengineering: What if we can Dial our Future?" by Robert Socolow. Presented for the Ethics and Climate Change Lecture Series, a series co-sponsored by The Princeton Environmental Institute and the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, October 14, 2008.
"CCS Technology: Ready to Go,” Forward, Fundamentals of Carbon Capture and Storage Technology, The Petroleum Economist Ltd, London 2007.
B. Nuclear Power (including Nuclear Proliferation):
Reflections on Fukushima: A time to mourn, to learn, and to teach. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March 21, 2011
*“Balancing Risks: Nuclear Energy & Climate Change,” with Alexander Glaser. Dædalus. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press for the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, September 2009 138(4), doi:10.1162/daed.2009.138.4.31 31-44
(Presentation) "Setting the Stage," by Robert Socolow. Presented to A Conference on The Future of Nuclear Energy, Chicago, IL, September 25, 2008
Book review, The Yale Review, Winter 1969, of Scientists in Politics: The Atomic Scientists Movement, 1945-46, by Donald A. Strickland, Purdue University Press
"The Mood of Scientists," by Robert H. Socolow, VISTA, published by United Nations Association of the United States of America, Inc., New York, NY, Volume 4, Number 4, January-February 1968, pp. 56-61
C. Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Consumption:
(Interview) "Stable-Wedge Theory." Robert Socolow speaks with Charles Linn, FAIA, on his stabilization wedge idea. September 2009.
“Beneficial Biofuels - The Food, Energy, and Environment Trilemma,” Tilman, D., Robert H. Socolow, J. A. Foley, J. Hill, Eric Larson, L. R. Lynd, Stephen W. Pacala, J. Reilly, Timothy Searchinger, C. Sommerville, and Robert H. Williams. Science, Vol. 325. no. 5938, pp. 270-271, July 17, 2009. See also, “Response to Letters to the Editor,” Science, Vol. 326: 1344 (2009).
(Presentation) "Place-based Mitigation of Climate Change," by Robert Socolow. Presented to Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil, at the Penn Institute for Urban Research, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, November 6, 2008
"The Critical Role of Energy Efficiency in Mitigating Global Warming," Government Law & Policy Journal, Summer 2008, Vol. 10, No. 1, published by the New York State Bar Association, Albany, NY
“Oxford Commission on Sustainable Consumption Report,” (with John Gummer, Clive Butler, Eileen Claussen, Henrique Cavalcanti, Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Dipak Gyawali, Saburo Kato, Li Lailai, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Steve Rayner, Ted Smyth, Sir Crispin Tickell, and Nina Witoszek Fitzpatrick), published by Mansfield College, Oxford, April 2004.
Environmentally Significant Consumption, co-editor, with P.C. Stern, T. Dietz, V.W. Ruttan, and J.L. Sweeney, Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council, Washington, DC., National Academy Press, 1997.
Reflections on the 1974 APS energy study, by Robert H. Socolow, reprinted from Physics Today, January 1986, American Institute of Physics
Ice Pond, a chapter in Table of Contents by John McPhee, Collins 1985
Energy Conservation, Proceedings of the Soviet-American Symposium, Moscow, June 1985, co-editor with Marc Ross, US-Soviet Committee on Energy Conservation Research and Development, National Academy of Sciences
*Saving Energy in the Home: Princeton's Experiments at Twin Rivers, editor. Ballinger Press, 1978.
Efficient Use of Energy, co-editor with Kenneth Ford, Gene Rochlin, and Marc Ross. American Institute of Physics, 1975.
Energy Conservation Residential/Commercial Sector, Robert H. Socolow, Chairman, reprinted from the Proceedings of the NSF/RANN Conference on Energy Conservation Research, February 18-20, 1974
"New Tasks for the Energy Industries," by Robert H. Socolow, Public Utilities Fortnightly, Vol. 91, No. 12, June 7, 1973
"Energy Utilization in a Residential Community," Working Paper W-7, by Richard A. Grot and Robert H. Socolow, February 20, 1973
D. Fossil Fuels, CO2 Capture and Storage, Hydrogen, Biofuels, Wind:
Perspective (Cover Story): "Sustaining Fossil Fuel Use in a Carbon-Constrained World by Rapid Commercialization of Carbon Capture and Sequestration," Michael C. Sheppard, Robert H. Socolow. AIChe Journal, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, Volume 53, No. 12, December 2007, pp. 3022-3028.
"Baseload Wind Energy: Modeling the Competition between Gas Turbines and Compressed Air Energy Storage for Supplemental Generation," Jeffrey B. Greenblatt, Samir Succar, David C. Denkenberger, Robert H. Williams, and Robert. H. Socolow. Energy Policy. Vol. 35, Issue 3, Pages 1474-1492, March 2007.
*"Can We Bury Global Warming?," Robert H. Socolow, Scientific American, July 2005, pp. 33-40
*(Contributor) The Hydrogen Economy: Opportunities, Costs, Barriers, and R&D Needs, National Research Council, Board on Energy and Environmental Systems, Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2004.
"The Century-Long Challenge of Fossil-Carbon Sequestration," U.S. Policy on Climate Change: What Next?, John A. Riggs, editor. Washington, DC: The Aspen Institute, 2002, pp. 97-107.
"Production of Hydrogen and Electricity of Coal with CO2 Capture," (with T.G. Kreutz, R. Williams, P. Chiesa, and G. Lozza) Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, (GHGT-6), September 30 - October 4, 2002, Kyoto, Japan.
*"Nitrogen management and the future of food: Lessons from the management of energy and carbon," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, Vol. 96, pp. 6001-6008, May 1999.
*"The Industrial Ecology of Lead Batteries for Electric Vehicles," with Valerie M. Thomas, Journal of Industrial Ecology, M.I.T. Press, Cambridge, MA, Volume 1, No. 1, Winter 1997, pp. 13-36; see also Volume 1 No. 2, Spring 1997, pp. 33-40.
*"Overview: Six Perspectives from Industrial Ecology", Industrial Ecology and Global Change, co-editor, with Clinton Andrews, Frans Berkhout, and Valerie Thomas. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
"Human Impacts on the Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles," by Robert U. Ayres, William H. Schlesinger, and Robert H. Socolow, a chapter in Industrial Ecology and Global Change , co-editor, with Clinton Andrews, Frans Berkhout, and Valerie Thomas. Cambridge University Press, 1994.
"Human Impacts on the Nitrogen Cycle," by Ann P. Kinzig and Robert H. Socolow, Physics Today, November 1994
Remarks at the MAE celebration for the election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, May 27, 2014
A Message of Thanks, a personal statement to India in appreciation of the hospitality granted to the Princeton Energy & Climate Scholars during their 2013 summer trip, May 2013.
Homage to Frank von Hippel, Remarks at the dinner culminating the Woodrow Wilson School - Bulletin Symposium, "Speaking Knowledge to Power," April 9, 2014
Remembering the Cuban Missile Crisis, personal memories or reflections of current Science and Security Board and Board of Sponsors members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, October 16, 2012
Chair’s address to the American Physical Society Panel on Public Affairs (POPA), To POPA: A Former Chair’s Farewell, by Robert Socolow, The Back Page, February 2012, Volume 21, No. 2
Keeping Tabs on a Small Crowded Planet, interview by Chris Emery, published in Energy & the Environment, From polymers to policy, engineers forge solutions, EQuad News, Winter 2010, Volume 21, Number 2
"Anything a Physicist is Interested In," by Robert Socolow, Remarks at the 75th anniversary celebration of the School of Natural Sciences, Institute for Advanced Study, September 24, 2005
Portrait of Innovation: Robert H. Socolow, by Martha Davidson, a chapter in “Inventing for the Environment,” edited by Arthur Molella and Joyce Bedi, The MIT Press, 2003
A book review of Martin J. Klein's Paul Ehrenfest (North-Holland Publishing Co., 1970), "Ehrenfest as Man and Mind," by Robert H. Socolow, Princeton Alumni Magazine, Good Reading, May 1972
"The Pertinence of the Physics Teacher," by Robert H. Socolow, presented at the Tutorial on Physics and the Environment, AAPT Summer Meeting, Beloit, WI, June 19, 1971
"Teaching and the environmental challenge," by Robert H. Socolow, in Physics Today, December 1971
"Decay Modes of Spin-Two Mesons," by Sheldon L. Glashow and Robert H. Socolow, Physical Review Letters, Volume 15, Number 7, August 16, 1965
A Report From Stowe, by Robert H. Socolow, Department of Physics, Harvard University, October 13, 1961
Travel, Not Research, Some Reflections of a Sheldon Fellow, by Robert H. Socolow, in Harvard Alumni Bulletin, May 28, 1960
"An outsider dream of a new generation of IAM featuring transparency, cosmopolitanism, and a nimble treatment of time," presentation at the Workshop on Equity and Risk in Integrated Assessment Models, College d'Etudes Mondiales, Paris, May 19-20, 2014
A talk in Princeton, presented jointly with Steve Pacala, at the 13th Annual Meeting of the Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI), Carl Fields Center, April 15, 2014
"The road ahead for planetary environmentalism: An appreciation of Charles Weiss," guest lecture at Georgetown University, March 28, 2014
"Why are we here? Why are we here? Why are we here?" A presentation at Aspen Global Change Institute Workshop, February 24-28, 2014
Humanity's collective future animates environmentalism, A response to the lecture of Sam Scheffler, December 4, 2013, Princeton University
"Stabilization Wedges and the Polygame," a guest lecture at Alta Scuola Politecnica in Belgirate, Italy, May 24, 2013.
"Truths We Must Tell Ourselves to Manage Climate Change," a guest lecture at CLAIRE Spring Seminar Series: Smart Energy Solutions in Urban Environment, Pracatinat, Italy, May 22, 2013.
A talk in Princeton, presented jointly with Steve Pacala, at the 12th Annual Meeting of our Carbon Mitigation Initiative (CMI), April 16, 2013, providing an overview of the project.
"Coming to Grips with Future Time," a lecture at Princeton on environmental humanities in a changing world, March 8, 2013.
A talk to Eric Wood’s and Justin Sheffield’s freshman seminar at Princeton, November 26, 2012, introducing the challenge of climate change.
"Air Capture Introduction and Overview" a talk to the Direct Air Capture Summit, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), University of Calgary, March 7, 2012
"What would we do if we took climate seriously?" a talk to the Energy and Resources Group, University of California at Berkeley, February 15, 2012.