About this Initiative

The rapid adoption and acceleration of the use of digital technologies is transforming the way we access and process information, impacting the global economy and our social dynamics. These dramatic technological and social changes also have important environmental and energy implications.

This initiative seeks to to leverage academic research across various disciplines in order to provide guidance on a number of high-priority issue areas at the intersection of energy environment and digital platforms. We have provided seed funding to 8 research teams that will explore ideas from understanding Uber and Lyft driver perceptions around electric vehicle adoption to looking at the environmental impacts resulting from the use of AI in the chemical manufacturing industry.

In addition to producing new research and ideas, we also aim to be a reference source for scholars and practitioners at the intersection of energy, environment and the digital economy. Our resources include bibliographies featuring key and current literature related to our key isse areas (sharing economy, blockchain, and artificial intelligence). We also maintain an inventory of environmental applications of blockchain.


Key Issue Areas

Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Computation systems with ability to learn and improve their performance over time are becoming more common. As the scope, complexity, and applications of these self-teaching machine systems expand, they will increasingly influence how we manage energy and the environment. We hope to better understand how environmental values can be embedded in these systems:

Blockchain
While the subject of much recent attention, there is little clarity surrounding blockchain’s energy consumption and its potential applications in support of sustainability. This initiative seeks to provide a framework for evaluating some of these claims about blockchain:

Sharing
Digital sharing platforms such as Lyft, Uber and AirBnB have transformed the economy in numerous ways. Despite their prevalence and scope, we have yet to fully understand how use of these platforms impact a range of important environmental issues. This initiative aims to better understand a few important components of the sharing economy:


Leadership

Jordan Diamond

Jordan Diamond is the Executive Director of the Center for Law, Energy & the Environment at the UC Berkeley School of Law where she works to support effective environmental governance.

Reid Lifset

Reid Lifset is a leader in the field of industrial ecology and a research scholar at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

Dave Rejeski

Dave Rejeski is an expert on science and technology policy and is currently the Director of the Technology, Innovation, and the Environment Project at the Environmental Law Institute.


Bibliography

These searchable bibliographies include academic literature, white papers, and grey literature that addresses the intersection between the digital economy and its environmental and energy impacts.

AI + Energy & Environment
This bibliography contains recent and relevant literature on AI and energy systems, automation, environmental decision-support systems (EDSS), and environmental ethics.
Blockchain + Energy & Environment
This bibliography contains a set of resources that address bitcoin and energy consumption, sustainable supply chain applications, and other demands for environmental information.
Sharing + Energy & Environment
This bibliography contains recent literature exploring the environmental impacts of the sharing economy, including transportation networking companies (e.g., Uber and Lyft), hospitality networking companies (e.g., Airbnb), and other network platforms that facilitate sharing.