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Mark Z. Jacobson

Mark Z. Jacobson
Born 1965 (age 49–50)
Institutions University of California, Los Angeles
Stanford University
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Thesis Developing, coupling, and applying a gas, aerosol, transport, and radiation model to study urban and regional air pollution (1994)
Doctoral advisor Richard P. Turco

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.[2]

Jacobson says that wind, water and solar power can be scaled up in cost-effective ways to meet our energy demands, freeing us 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. The article addressed a number of 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 1
  • Research 2
  • Education 3
  • Books 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

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] They estimate that 3,800,000 5 MW wind turbines, 49,000 300 MW concentrated solar plants, 40,000 300 MW solar PV power plants, 1.7 billion 3 kW rooftop PV systems, 5350 100 MW geothermal power plants, and 270 new 1300 MW hydroelectric power plants will be needed. Such a WWS infrastructure reduces world power demand by 30% and requires 0.41% and 0.59% more of the world's land for footprint and spacing, respectively.[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.[8]

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. [9]



  • 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.

See also


  1. ^ a b David Perlman. Scientists say soot a key factor in warming San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d Jacobson, Mark Z.; Delucchi, M.A. (November 2009). "A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030" (PDF).  
  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. ^ a b c Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi (30 December 2010). "Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials". Energy Policy. Elsevier Ltd. 
  9. ^ Mark Schwarz (February 26, 2014). "Stanford scientist unveils 50-state plan to transform U.S. to renewable energy". Stanford Report,. 
  10. ^ Mark Z. Jacobson

External links

  • Precourt Institute for Energy
  • Review of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security
  • Debate: Does the world need nuclear energy?
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