Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, April 30, 2020

Nemet receives Kohl Research Competition funding

Professor Greg Nemet presents his research at a conference organized by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership Professor Greg Nemet presents his research at a conference organized by the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership

Professor Greg Nemet received a Kohl Public Service Research Competition award to support his work on climate change analysis and policy.

As a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report, Nemet is conducting new research, synthesizing the past six years of research, and communicating the results in a relevant and accessible way for policymakers and others.

Kohl Competition supporting new faculty members

Several new La Follette School faculty members also received funding through the Kohl Research Competition: Morgan Edwards, Philipp Koellinger, Reed Lei, Ross Milton, and Sam Trejo. Lei’s funding will support a China Politics and Policy conference.

Faculty members Christine Durrance and Mariel Barnes also will receive funding during the 2021-22 academic year.

“These awards reflect Senator Kohl’s intent for the Research Competition: to help the La Follette School retain and attract the very best faculty researchers,” said Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee.

“The institutional capabilities of the IPCC combined with the Kohl Competition’s distinct focus on policy outreach provide a unique opportunity to connect this international work with Wisconsin,” said Nemet.

The United Nations (UN) created the IPCC to provide objective policy-relevant information about climate change. The IPCC, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, has produced an Assessment Report every six years since 1990.

For the 6th Assessment Report (AR6), Nemet is a lead author of Chapter 2 (Emission Trends and Drivers) and a contributing author of four other chapters: energy systems, social aspects, governance, and innovation.

In mid-April, Nemet participated in the first-ever online IPCC Lead Author meeting. The weeklong meeting for authors to collaborate was to be held in Quito, Ecuador; however, the COVID-19 pandemic kept everyone home.

“Because I am working on five chapters, I would have spent my time in Quito running from one chapter meeting to another,” said Nemet. “It was disappointing to miss the in-person opportunity, but the electronic tools worked well even with more than 200 participants in some meetings. It also made clear that electronic communications still face the challenge of how to address sleep deprivation among participants who span 14 time zones.”

Nemet’s first book, How Solar Energy Became Cheap: A Model for Low-Carbon Innovation, was published in 2019. Since then he has given more than 30 book talks and over 20 media interviews about it.

“Communicating the results of my research is important to me, and outreach is an inherent part of the IPCC effort,” said Nemet.

Nemet is continuing that outreach by helping organize several sessions at the 2020 Cap Times Idea Fest in September with a bipartisan representation of speakers from around the state. He also is planning a workshop the day before the 2021 La Follette Forum on climate policy.

The Kohl Competition award includes funding for a La Follette School graduate student to work alongside Nemet as a project assistant.

In addition, Nemet served as a panelist at the Tommy G. Thompson Center on Public Leadership's Renewable Energy Development, Grid Modernization & Distributed Generation Conference in March 2020.

Nemet participated on the panel What Role Will Innovation & Grid Modernization Play in Renewable Energy Development Nationally. The conference was the third in the Thompson Center’s series What is Wisconsin’s Energy Strategy.