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Mark Jacobson

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Mark Zachary Jacobson (born 1965) is professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University and director of its Atmosphere and Energy Program.[1] Jacobson develops computer models about the effects of different energy technologies and their emissions on air pollution and climate. According to Jacobson, a speedy transition to clean, renewable energy is required to reduce the potential acceleration of global warming, including the disappearance of the Arctic Sea ice. This change will also eliminate 2.5-3 million deaths worldwide each year, related to air pollution, and reduce disruption associated with fossil fuel shortages.

Jacobson says that wind, water, and solar power can be scaled up in cost-effective ways to fulfill our energy demands, freeing human society from dependence on both fossil fuels and nuclear power. In 2009 Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi published “A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet With Renewables” in Scientific American.[2] The article addressed several issues, such as the worldwide spatial footprint of wind farms, the availability of scarce materials needed for manufacture of new systems, the ability to produce reliable energy on demand, and the average cost per kilowatt hour. A more detailed and updated technical analysis has been published as a two-part article in the journal Energy Policy.[3]

Current positions

  • Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 2007–present.
  • Director and co-founder, Atmosphere/Energy Program, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 2004–present.
  • Senior Fellow, Woods Institute for the Environment, January 2008 – present.
  • Senior Fellow, Precourt Institute for Energy, January 2010 – present.


Using computer modeling he developed over 20 years, Jacobson has found that carbonaceous fuel soot emissions (which lead to respiratory illness, heart disease and asthma) have resulted in 1.5 million premature deaths each year, mostly in the developing world where wood and animal dung are used for cooking. Jacobson has also said that soot from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and burning wood is a "bigger cause of global warming than previously thought, and is the major cause of the rapid melting of the Arctic's sea ice".[1]

Jacobson states that if the United States wants to reduce global warming, air pollution and energy instability, it should invest only in the best energy options, and that nuclear power is not one of them.[4] Jacobson's analyses state that "nuclear power results in up to 25 times more carbon emissions than wind energy, when reactor construction, uranium refining and transport are considered".[2] However, scientists from Yale University and agencies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who have analyzed the total Life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions of energy sources have not arrived at the same nuclear power emissions conclusions as Jacobson has, in this respect.[5][6]

Jacobson has also worked on "carbon capture and sequestration technology, concluding that it can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants but will increase air pollutants and will extend all the other deleterious effects of coal mining, transport and processing, because more coal must be burned to power the capture and storage steps".[2]

Jacobson has mainly studied how wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 per cent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels.[7] He advocates a "smart mix" of renewable energy sources to reliably meet electricity demand:

Because the wind blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps.[2]

In 2010, the journal Energy Policy published two papers by Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi about "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power". The articles analyze the feasibility of providing worldwide energy for all purposes (electric power, transportation, heating/cooling, etc.) from wind, water, and sunlight (WWS). In Part I, Jacobson and Delucchi discuss WWS energy system characteristics, current and future energy demand, availability of WWS resources, numbers of WWS devices, and area and material requirements.[8]

In Part II, Jacobson and Delucchi address variability, economics, and policy of WWS energy Jacobson and Delucchi suggest producing all new energy with WWS by 2030 and replacing the pre-existing energy by 2050. Barriers to the plan are primarily social and political, not technological or economic. The energy cost in a WWS world should be similar to today's costs.[9]

More recently, Jacobson and his colleagues have developed detailed proposals for switching to 100% renewable energy produced by wind, water and sunlight, for New York, California and Washington states, by 2050. As of 2014, a more expansive new plan for the 50 states has been drawn up, which includes an online interactive map showing the renewable resource potential of each of the 50 states. The 50-state plan is part of The Solutions Project, an independent outreach effort led by Jacobson, actor Mark Ruffalo, and film director Josh Fox.[10]


  • Bachelor of Science Civil Engineering, Bachelor of Arts Economics, and Master of Science Environmental Engineering (1988) Stanford University.
  • Master of Science (1991) and Ph.D. (1994) Atmospheric Science, University of California at Los Angeles.[11]



  • Jacobson, M. Z., Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling. Cambridge University Press, New York, 656 pp., 1999.
  • Jacobson, M. Z., Fundamentals of Atmospheric Modeling, Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, New York, 813 pp., 2005.
  • Jacobson, M. Z., Atmospheric Pollution: History, Science, and Regulation, Cambridge University Press, New York, 399 pp., 2002.
  • Jacobson, M. Z., Air Pollution and Global Warming: History, Science, and Solutions, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2011.

Important journal publications (selection)

  • Strong radiative heating due to the mixing state of black carbon in atmospheric aerosols. In: Nature (journal)|Nature 409, (2001) 695-697.
  • Streets et al: Recent Reductions in China’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In: Science (journal)|Science 294, (2001), 1835–1837.
  • Global direct radiative forcing due to multicomponent anthropogenic and natural aerosols. In: Journal of Geophysical Research 106, Issue D2, (2001), 1551–1568.
  • Control of fossil-fuel particulate black carbon and organic matter, possibly the most effective method of slowing global warming. In: Journal of Geophysical Research 107, Issue D19, (2002), 16-22.
  • with W. G. Colella and D. M. Golden: Cleaning the Air and Improving Health with Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Vehicles. In: Science (journal)|Science 308, No. 5730, (2005), 1901–1905.
  • with Christina L. Archer: Evaluation of global wind power. In: Journal of Geophysical Research 110, Issue D12, (2005), 16-22.
  • Review of solutions to global warming, air pollution, and energy security. In: Energy and Environmental Science 2, (2009), 148–173, S. 155.
  • with Mark A. Delucchi: Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials. In: Energy Policy (journal)|Energy Policy 39, Vol. 3, (2011), 1154–1169.
  • with Mark A. Delucchi: Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies. In: Energy Policy (journal)|Energy Policy 39, Vol. 3, (2011), 1170–1190.
  • with Christina L. Archer: Saturation wind power potential and its implications for wind energy. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109, No. 39, (2012), 15679–15684.
  • Bond et al: Bounding the role of black carbon in the climate system: A scientific assessment. In: Journal of Geophysical Research 118, Issue 11, (2013), 5380–5552.
  • Jacobson et al: 100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States. In: Energy and Environmental Science (2015).


  1. 1.0 1.1 David Perlman. Scientists say soot a key factor in warming San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Jacobson, Mark Z.; Delucchi, M.A. (November 2009). "A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030" (PDF). Scientific American 301 (5): 58–65. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1109-58. PMID 19873905. 
  3. Nancy Folbre (March 28, 2011). "Renewing Support for Renewables". New York Times. 
  4. Mark Z. Jacobson. Nuclear power is too risky, February 22, 2010.
  5. Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Nuclear Electricity Generation. J of Ind Ecology - "The collective literature indicates that life cycle GHG emissions from nuclear power are only a fraction of traditional fossil sources and comparable to renewable technologies."
  6. Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation
  7. Kate Galbraith. 100 Percent Renewables by 2030? Green Inc., December 1, 2009.
  8. Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials.
  9. Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies.
  10. Mark Schwarz (February 26, 2014). "Stanford scientist unveils 50-state plan to transform U.S. to renewable energy". Stanford Report,. 
  11. Mark Z. Jacobson

External links

This article is taken over from the English Wikipedia - Mark Z. Jacobson

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