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Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCSD Sustainability Solutions Institute Publication Series

The UCSD Sustainability Solutions Institute turns knowledge and technology into solutions. Created by Chancellor Fox in January 2009, building o recent cross-campus initiatives and long-standing academic and research programs such as the UCSD Environment and Sustainability Initiative, SSI services to acquire resources and organize projects to address sustainability challenges. Through SSI, faculty, researchers, students and non-academic partners are tackling the complex questions that society is facing as we strive for economic progress while sustaining the natural systems on which we depend. We do this through collaborations across departments and partnerships that extend beyond campus, working at local, regional, and global scales. These papers are a collection of both ESI and SSI funded research documents.

Cover page of Venice Sustainability Advisory Panel

Venice Sustainability Advisory Panel


The Venice Sustainability Advisory Panel (VSAP), an international group of experts in environmental sustainability put together by UC San Diego’s Sustainability Solutions Institute, was created to advise key authorities and decision-makers on how to prepare regular formal assessments of the environmental sustainability of the Venice Lagoon and its surrounding regions, taking into account the specific social and economic drivers of environmental change in the region. Assessment is regarded as a critical initial step in achieving adaptive management capability. The VSAP met three times - twice in Venice (in June 2008 and September 2008) and once in La Jolla (in January 2009).

Cover page of Ice, Snow and Water: impacts of climate change on California and Himalayan Asia

Ice, Snow and Water: impacts of climate change on California and Himalayan Asia


This Briefing Note describes the issues discussed at an international Workshop held in San Diego in May 2009 which focussed on the impact on water resources of declining mountain snows and glacier retreat in Himalayan Asia and the Western United States. The Workshop concluded that as adaptation strategies are locally conditioned, new regional climate assessments are required that link global climate models to local decision making.

Cover page of The San Diego Foundation Regional Focus 2050 Study

The San Diego Foundation Regional Focus 2050 Study


The San Diego Foundation’s Regional Focus 2050 Study (Focus 2050 Study) was conceived of and commissioned by the Foundation’s Environment Program. The Foundation contracted with UC San Diego’s Environment and Sustainability Initiative (ESI) to serve as the project manager for the Focus 2050 study in coordination with Foundation staff. Contributing authors developed each working paper in a coordinated process, and then the combined report was externally peer-reviewed. A workshop was also held in June 2008 to present key findings to the study’s stakeholders and to invite final comments and suggestions for the report prior to publication. The Focus 2050 Study for the San Diego region is modeled, in part, on the Focus 2050 study undertaken by King County, Washington. This study also forms the basis for a technical assessment which was developed for inclusion in the 2008 Climate Change Impacts Assessment, Second Biennial Science Report to the California Climate Action Team.

Cover page of Point Loma Outfall Review

Point Loma Outfall Review


Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) was hired by the City of San Diego to assess the adequacy of the Point Loma Ocean Outfall (PLOO) monitoring system in providing the scientific understanding necessary to answer relevant questions about the effects on the ocean environment of the outfall and the potential issues that could arise if there were increases in the discharge volume and solids. SIO also was asked to recommend changes required to meet this need. A team of scientists conducted a review of existing monitoring capabilities in San Diego, as well as examining programs elsewhere that address similar outfalls.

Cover page of Saving Venice: Engineering and ecology in the Venice lagoon

Saving Venice: Engineering and ecology in the Venice lagoon


This paper describes some of the challenges of sustainability, and shows how they are manifested in coastal environments. It reviews the problems facing Venice and its lagoon, as a particularly interesting and complex example, and describes the technological, environmental, and scientific actions taken to address the problems of sustainability. Specifically, the actions and interdisciplinary research supporting management of the Venice lagoon environment are discussed, with a particular focus on the sediment. Conclusions are drawn regarding the integration of science, technology, and the environment, including the interactions of industry, the international scientific community, and governments.

Cover page of The Transition to a Carbon-Neutral Energy Economy: Exploring UCSD's Role

The Transition to a Carbon-Neutral Energy Economy: Exploring UCSD's Role


A workshop of UCSD faculty, researchers, and students, joined by representatives of industry, government and non-profit organizations, spent two days considering the role UCSD and its partners could and should play in addressing the challenges of energy and sustainability. As UCSD proceeds with developing a campus-wide Environment and Sustainability Initiative, it is clear that energy must be an important area of research, teaching, and partnership. The workshop succeeded in providing a forum for participants to share their expertise and explore the potential for UCSD to develop interdisciplinary sustainable energy projects. UCSD has a wide range of expertise, including ocean and atmospheric sciences, engineering, informatics, chemistry, biology, health sciences, economics, management, international relations, political science, and urban studies. UCSD is also part of the larger San Diego community, the border region, and has a role to play at the national and international level as well.