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A New Era for Energy and the Environment

Research into clean energy and climate change shines light on some of the most defining challenges of the 21st century, with unprecedented implications for the future of the Earth and its environment, along with our country’s national security and economic competitiveness.

Over the past decade, UC Berkeley has positioned itself as a global leader in energy and climate change research by attracting significant grants and private funding directed toward these two wide-ranging — and often interlocking — issues. Newly created efforts such as the Energy Biosciences Institute, the Joint BioEnergy Institute, and the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) engage many fields, including engineering, chemistry, biology, environmental science, social science, law, and public policy.

From lab benches to field stations through the world, Berkeley’s researchers are exploring why the climate is changing and what can be done to mitigate its effects on our planet.

Support from Leslie Chung, and his brother, Wilfred — who seek to promote the betterment of humankind through the creative application of technology and a commitment to education — funded innovative programs to advance Berkeley’s energy and environment research, including a faculty endowed chair, symposium series, and the Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute. The brothers’ generosity also has extended to the Chang-Lin Tien Graduate Fellowships in the Environmental Sciences and many other areas.

Russell L. Rustici ’48, a rancher and resource management visionary, believed that ranchers have a shared responsibility for keeping land and watersheds viable and sustainable. He funded an endowed chair to encourage the productive and careful stewardship of California’s rangelands, and with his sister, Corrine, he created a trust to support nutritional science.

Few things are more important to human health and the balance of our ecosystems than water. When Andrew Rudd ’72, M.B.A. ’76 and his wife, Virginia, observed the short supply of clean drinking water in less-developed areas of the world, they felt compelled to connect those in extreme poverty with helpful technology. The couple supported an endowed chair to explore potable water, raise awareness, and bring innovations into the field. They have also endowed a chair at the Haas School of Business.

Together, Berkeley’s philanthropists, faculty, and students are working to find clean, affordable, and sustainable supplies of energy, while at the same time protecting our natural resources.

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