, who helped transform the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) into a leading global institution in the study and teaching of industrial ecology, joins the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES) this semester as professor of industrial sustainability.
Since 2003, Hertwich was professor at NTNU’s Department of Energy and Process Engineering, where his work focused on industrial ecology, energy, and climate change mitigation. For more than a decade he also served as director of the school’s Industrial Ecology Programme (IndEcol).
Hertwich is also a member of the UN Environment Programme’s International Resource Panel, where he leads the Working Group on the Environmental Impacts of Products and Materials. Last year he was lead author of the energy systems chapter in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 5th assessment report.
“It’s a great honor to come to Yale,” Hertwich said, “and a great opportunity to step onto a larger stage and project my work even farther.”
Hertwich replaces Prof. Thomas Graedel
, who made Yale a global center
in industrial ecology, a growing field that explores the flow of energy and materials through industrial systems, its effects on the environment, and how economic, political, regulatory and social impacts might transform these systems. Graedel retired earlier this year after 18 years at F&ES.
“Edgar is an international leader in the field of industrial ecology, and we are extremely pleased to have him join the F&ES community,” said Peter Crane
, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
“It is not easy to fill the shoes of Tom Graedel, a real pioneer in this field, but Edgar’s arrival will ensure that our School will continue to support the growth and evolution of this key area of sustainable environmental management.”
ertwich, a native of Salzburg, Austria, was a physics undergraduate at Princeton in the early 1990s when he was introduced to the concept of industrial ecology during a graduate seminar taught by Robert Socolow, another luminary in the field.
After conducting research work on life cycle impact assessment while he earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, he joined the faculty at NTNU. (He was the first NTNU professor for whom the phrase “industrial ecology” was included in their job title.)
At NTNU, his research focused on climate mitigation, life cycle assessment, sustainable consumption and production, trade and the environment, and risk analysis. Specifically, he has explored how societal activities produce environmental pressures, the dynamics of global development that affect these forces, and alternative courses that can reduce these pressures.
He believes industrial ecology can play a much bigger part in addressing these global pressures, particularly when it comes to climate change mitigation. Addressing some mitigation challenges, he says, will require
industrial ecology solutions.
But the field, he said, will have to become better organized.