Grand Challenge

11/15/2013 12:56 pm0 commentsViews: 22

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles region would be powered exclusively
by renewable energy and get water from local sources under ambitious goals that
UCLA researchers said today they hope to accomplish by the year 2050.
More than 70 faculty and staff from departments and institutes campus-
wide will take part in UCLA’s “Thriving in a Hotter Los Angeles” challenge to
make Los Angeles completely sustainable by the middle of this century.
UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said the first of six “Grand Challenges”
UCLA plans take on in coming years is “bigger than any research we have
tackled before.”
With about 70 percent of the world’s population expected to be living in
cities by 2050, UCLA researchers said they hope that their efforts in Los
Angeles could guide others toward full sustainability.
They cite a UCLA study that found the Southland could become 4 to 5
degrees Fahrenheit warmer by mid-century, leading to more wildfires and
diminishing snowfall in the local mountains.
Their effort is also in response to the 2012 White House Office of
Science and Technology Policy that challenged universities to embark on major
efforts to solve society’s biggest problems.
Researchers say they hope to provide lawmakers with a “full
sustainability” proposal by 2019 and will need to raise $150 million for
research into technology and policy.
Mark Gold, a UCLA adjunct professor and associate director of the
university’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, said “the
technology to make greater Los Angeles more sustainable is within reach,”
including for water conservation and use of renewable energy sources like wind
and solar.
Technologies to be studied by the UCLA research team include smart
electrical grids that can handle renewable energy sources, carbon-free
transportation, solar panels on all rooftops, cheaper and more efficient water-
capturing methods, and environmentally friendly ocean water desalination.
They will also look at policies to spur homeowners into reducing their
water use for landscaping, and to encourage them to capture rain water and
reuse “graywater” from showers, baths and hand washing basins.
Other ideas include creating wildlife habitats in underpasses and
developing land-use strategies that involve native plants and animals, such as
green rooftops, native gardens and neighborhood green spaces.


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