Stephanie Ohshita, an assistant professor in environmental science,
became an energy efficiency expert in order to help save the earth's
environment. She and others have advocated energy efficiency as one
solution to climate change, yet the U.S. government has not been taking
action. So Ohshita has found other allies.
efficiency consultant has gone to Asia, specifically Japan and China,
and found governments willing to enact standards and other policies on
energy efficiency. Japan has put a few million dollars toward
international energy cooperation and Ohshita is helping government
officials there decide the best methods for implementation. Ohshita has
also worked with China's government, which has policies in place for
energy efficiency and renewable energy.
"What I work on the most
is looking at solutions to mitigate global warming," Ohshita said. "If
you look at the main cause of climate change, it's energy use, whether
in automobiles, coal burning, or even natural gas. We need to conserve
energy -- do what we do but do it smarter."
To promote a melding of economic and environmental goals, Ohshita has co-authored a book, Cooperative Climate: Energy Efficiency Action in East Asia, due out this fall. The book is aimed at policy makers primarily in east
Asia in the hopes that everything from new appliances to the production
of chemicals can incorporate energy efficient practices. "You need a
top-down push," Ohshita said, to get energy efficiency policies in
To make any real progress against global warming, Ohshita
said, efficiency standards and big changes in transportation networks
have to be enacted. Some scientists estimate that we must reduce
emissions by 80 percent or run the risk of severely upsetting earth's
atmospheric balance, resulting in catastrophic weather patterns.
there's a lot happening in a positive way," she affirmed. China and
Japan already require that their domestic appliances be efficient and
are looking at renewable energy sources. The U.S. government, she said,
needs to act responsibly and take more action to reflect the country's
share of the climate change problem. The U.S. emits about 25 percent of
the world's greenhouse gases.