Aspen Environment Forum Lineup Announced

February 19, 2009  • Institute Contributor

 Contact: Andrea Browne-Phillips
The Aspen Institute
(202) 736-3846

Beth Foster
National Geographic
(202) 857-7543

  Aspen Environment Forum Announces Lineup of More than 80 Speakers at Second Annual Forum March 25-28 in Aspen
Forum Will Focus on Energy Solutions and Innovation

WASHINGTON (January 16, 2008)—The 2009 Aspen Environment Forum, themed “Powering the Planet: Energy for the Long Run,” will convene leading minds in science, business, policy, and journalism for a powerful, three-day exchange of ideas and solutions around the world’s energy challenges and opportunities. More than 80 speakers will engage with the audience to discuss and debate energy use, energy economics, natural resources and extraction, cutting-edge technologies, efficiency, conservation, climate change, food production, and more. Registration for this public forum, which runs from March 25–28, is now open at

Today, the Aspen Institute and National Geographic announce a lineup of nearly 70 speakers, and more to come, for a powerful three-day exchange of ideas. Designed to offer a realistic look at grave challenges and highlight bold solutions, the Forum presents a distinct theme each day:

  • Day One: The Power Challenges

  • Day Two: Energy Transitions

  • Day Three: New Energy World

Presenters at the 2009 Aspen Environment Forum include:

  • Angela M. Belcher, Germeshausen Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Sally M. Benson, Executive Director, Global Climate and Energy Project, Stanford University

  • Carol M. Browner*, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change–designate; former Administrator, US Environmental Protection Agency

  • Ken Caldeira, physicist, Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institute of Washington

  • Steven Chu*, Secretary of Energy-designate, Obama Administration; Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Professor of Physics and Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Berkeley

  • Sarah Darby,  Research Councils’ Energy Programme Research Fellow, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford

  • Chip Giller, President and Founder,

  • John P. Holdren*, Chief Science Advisor-designate to President Elect Obama; Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy, Director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

  • Daniel M. Kammen, Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley

  • Jane Lubchenco*, Director-designate, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology, Distinguished Professor of Zoology, Oregon State University

  • Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board

  • Daniel G. Nocera, Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Director, Solar Revolutions Project; Director, Eni Solar Frontiers Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Bill Ritter, Governor of Colorado

  • David B. Sandalow, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Brookings Institution; Author, Freedom From Oil (2008); Former US Assistant Secretary of State

  • Robert Socolow, Professor, The Princeton Environment Institute; Co-Director, The Carbon Mitigation Initiative

  • Mark Tercek, President and CEO, The Nature Conservancy

  • Vijay Vaitheeswaran, Correspondent, The Economist, Author, ZOOM: The Global Race to Fuel the Car of the Future (2007)

  • Neville Williams, Founder, Standard Solar Inc

  • R. James Woolsey, Senior Executive Advisor, Booz Allen Hamilton

*Invited and accepted before Obama Administration appointment.
To view the full list of accepted speakers to date, visit

Joining the dialogue will be National Geographic scientists, editors, and journalists, who will bring unique perspectives through stunning images and stories that document global environmental issues. The Aspen Environment Forum also invites members of the public to join in and let their voices be heard.

“We are now challenged to find new ways to power the planet that can both sustain us and be sustained into the future. The 2009 forum presents a critical opportunity to engage one another, as well as key decision makers, on our shared energy future,” said Walter Isaacson, president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. “We’re thrilled to bring the forum back for a second year with National Geographic, an ideal partner and a global leader in connecting people to a world larger than the one in which they live.”

“National Geographic has a longstanding commitment to showing how people impact life on Earth, and the magazine has led the way in documenting the world’s environmental and energy challenges. Now, more than ever, we need to bring a clear-eyed vision to reporting on the challenges facing us around energy sources and energy use and to exploring solutions,” said Chris Johns, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine. “The Aspen Environment Forum is a powerful way to harness many voices and perspectives around this important topic, and we are excited to join the Aspen Institute for the second year in creating a venue for this important conversation.”

Media interested in covering this event should contact Jennifer Myers at (202) 736-2906 or for press pass information. For general registration, contact Deborah Murphy at (970) 544-7960 or, or go to the forum’s website at Space is limited; early registration and travel booking are encouraged.

Sponsors for the Aspen Environment Forum, presented by the Aspen Institute and National Geographic, include Duke Energy, Shell, and GM.

About National Geographic

The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Since 1888, the Society has funded more than 9,000 expeditions around the globe, encouraging conservation of natural resources and raising public awareness of the importance of natural places, the plants and wildlife that inhabit them, and the environmental problems that threaten them. Through various media vehicles, including its official journal, National Geographic magazine, the Society reaches more than 325 million people a month.

National Geographic magazine has a long tradition of combining on-the-ground reporting with award-winning photojournalism to inform people about life on our planet. Published in English and 31 local-language editions, the magazine has a global circulation of around 8 million. In 2007 and 2008 it won a total of five prestigious National Magazine Awards, including the top award for General Excellence both years. In 2008, the magazine won first place for explanatory reporting from the Society of Environmental Journalists for stories on climate change and biofuels. 


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