Debate: “Is Nuclear Power the Answer to Climate Change?”

Lund Debate 2015-2016

On Tuesday, May 3, nuclear critic Daniel Kammen of the University of California Berkeley will debate Lauri Muranen, executive director of the World Energy Council, Finland, on the question: “Is nuclear power the answer to climate change?”

The event, part of the Einaudi Center's annual Lund Critical Debate Series, will take place at 4:30 pm in Klarman Auditorium. Cornell law and anthropology professor Annelise Riles will moderate.

About the speakers

Daniel M. Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at UC Berkeley, with parallel appointments in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and the Department of Nuclear Engineering. He was named the first Environment and Climate Partnership for the Americas (ECPA) Fellow by Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton. He is also the founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL), co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, and director of the Transportation Sustainability Research Center. He has founded or is on the board of over 10 companies, and has served the State of California and U.S. federal government in expert and advisory capacities.

Dr. Kammen was educated in physics at Cornell and Harvard, and held postdoctoral positions at the California Institute of Technology and Harvard. He has served as a contributing or coordinating lead author on several reports of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and serves on the advisory committee for energy and environment for the X-Prize Foundation. He has authored or co-authored 12 books, written more than 300 peer-reviewed journal publications, testified more than 40 times at U.S. state and federal briefings, and has provided various governments with more than 50 technical reports. He is a frequent contributor to or commentator in international news media, including Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Financial Times.

Lauri Muranen heads the World Energy Council, Finland, a chapter of the UN-accredited global energy body that aims to be a leading platform for discussion of the future of the nuclear energy sector. He is a co-founder of the Ecomodernist Society of Finland and is the secretary of the Energy Committee of Finland's Social Democratic political party. Lauri has served as secretary general of the Finnish Energy Council, as a nuclear energy advisor to the Finnish Energy Industries trade association, and as a research assistant at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. He has also served as vice-chair of the Finnish Nuclear Society Young Generation Network

Lauri holds an M.Sc. in environmental technology from Imperial College London. He is known in Finland for his public engagement with energy issues, debating the the merits of nuclear energy with parliamentarians, professors, nuclear industry insiders, renewable energy industry insiders, and anti-nuclear activists at film festivals, bookstore events, and Finnish MTV. He has run and developed (“Core Reactions”), an online hub for discussion, debate, and information about nuclear energy led by voices from industry, government, NGOs, and the research community in Finland. 


Annelise Riles is the Jack G. Clarke Professor of Law in Far East Legal Studies and Professor of Anthropology at Cornell, and she serves as director of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture. Her work focuses on the transnational dimensions of laws, markets, and culture across the fields of comparative law, conflict of laws, the anthropology of law, public international law, and international financial regulation. Her most recent book, Collateral Knowledge: Legal Reasoning in the Global Financial Markets (Chicago Press 2011), is based on ten years of fieldwork among regulators and lawyers in the global derivatives markets. 

About the Lund Debate

The Lund Critical Debates Series brings to campus speakers of prominence in international affairs who can address topical issues from a variety of perspectives. The Einaudi Center hosts one debate each academic year, typically with two to three outside experts and a distinguished Cornell faculty member as moderator. The center is deeply grateful to Judith Lund Biggs ’57 for her generosity and foresight in creating this series, which serves to strengthen academic discourse at Cornell and enhance the student experience.