Yale University

Arnulf Grubler, researcher at Yale University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, talks about maximizing energy efficiency as a better alternative to renewable energy sources at an energy symposium in the O’Donnell Jr. Building on Monday evening 

Photo Credit: Jarrid Denman | Daily Texan Staff

Major cities should not rely on renewable sources of energy but should, instead, focus on maximizing energy efficiency, according to Arnulf Grubler, researcher at Yale University and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

In an energy symposium Monday, Grubler said renewable sources of energy are sufficient for rural areas because they require large amounts of open space to produce enough energy. Because of the limited space available in cities, however, renewables are not sufficient enough to prioritize.

“The largest improvements are when we change systems instead of individual components in systems,” Grubler said. “Locally generated renewables can, at best, provide 1 percent of the energy of cities. … Even if you were to use all the area of London, you could, at maximum, provide 15 percent of the energy used in London.”

Varun Rai, event organizer and assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, said the complexity of cities causes their energy needs to be much more demanding.

“In the city, it’s not only that you’re running the building,” Rai said. “You’re also doing management and industrial processes, and that uses a lot of energy. It’s not that renewables cannot do the job; it’s that they can’t when confined. We need to focus on building efficiency. We have to think about things like public transport and urban forming.”

Grubler said there is great room for improvement in the development of systems that are more efficient, such as Vienna, Austria, which has a system with 50 percent efficiency.

Thomas Anderson, a first-year MBA student who attended the symposium, said he believes more should be done to encourage a focus on energy efficiency.

“People need to come up with more clever financial measures to push energy efficiency,” Anderson said.

Carson Stones, global policy studies graduate student and an organizer of the energy symposium, said he agrees with Grubler’s notion that focusing on efficiency in cities is the most important step forward in the urbanization of energy.

“It’s astounding how much more you can get from efficiency than anything else,” Stones said.

Photo Credit: Zoe Davis | Daily Texan Staff

In a talk at the John B. Connally Center for Justice on Monday, Allan Gerson, chairman of AG International Law, PLLC discussed the deportation of Nazi collaborators in the 1970s, lawsuits against Libya for the Pan American Flight 103 bombing and a lawsuit against Yale University for a valuable painting allegedly acquired unlawfully. 

“There are difficulties between navigating international law, international affairs and the uses of American law as practice in different quadrants,” Gerson said.

He talked about his experiences with international law in three different areas: individual accountability for war crimes, state accountability for the equivalent of war crimes and state accountability in U.S. quadrants, such as in the case of the lawsuit against Yale University.

“The questions about how this painting ever was sold to the United States dealt with actions taken by a foreign government, mainly Russia,” Gerson said. “Yale invoked the Act of State Doctrine to prevent a U.S. court from looking at the circumstances involving the taking and the sale of the painting, even though there was no objection from Russia itself.”

Austin resident Harvey Burg said finding where accountability lies can only be approached on a case-by-case basis.

“I think the speaker’s point was that, by immediately demanding accountability, you draw rigged lines, and, if your objective is to gain international cooperation and you accuse [a country] as being an aggressor [against another country], then you may create a situation in which there is no flexibility to negotiate results,” Burg said. “I would argue that in some instances that works, but, in other instances, it is fair to ask whether the failure to demand accountability permits unlawful aggressive behavior to continue.”

Gerson’s talk was presented by The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law. Gerson said Strauss, who died Wednesday at the age of 95, successfully bridged together law and international relations. During her introduction of Gerson, Ashley Moran, associate at the Lyndon B Johnson School of Public Affairs, said she believed Strauss was a great public servant and a Texas legend.

“The legacy he leaves behind gives us all something to emulate,” she said. “His life and legacy really embodied all of those fields in private sector, public service and academia and something we strive to live up to at the Strauss Center.”

NEW YORK — New York City’s mayor is facing off with Yale University over efforts by the NYPD to monitor Muslim student groups.

The Associated Press revealed Saturday that NYPD officers had kept close watch on websites and blogs maintained by Muslim student associations across the northeast U.S., and in one case sent an undercover officer on a rafting trip with students from the City College of New York.

Yale President Richard Levin said in a statement Monday that monitoring of students based on religion was “antithetical” to the schools’ values.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the practice. He says there is nothing wrong with officers keeping an eye on websites that are available to the general public.

He says, “I don’t know why keeping the country safe is antithetical to the values of Yale.”