Daniel Sperling, director of the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies and faculty member of the Energy Efficiency Center, was awarded the 2013 Blue Planet Prize in a ceremony today in Tokyo. The prize, announced in June by the Asahi Glass Foundation of Tokyo, has been described as the Nobel Prize for the environmental sciences.

Sperling will give a commemorative lecture on October 31 at U Thant International Conference Hall at the United Nations University in Tokyo.

Sperling is an international expert on transportation technology, fuels and policy, with a focus on energy and environment. His research is directed at accelerating the global transition to cleaner, more efficient transportation and energy, and mitigating climate change. The award recognizes Sperling for his unique ability to bring together the top thinkers and strategists in academia, government and industry to develop new vehicle- and fuels-policy approaches that are models for the world.

His acceptance speech was attended by top international scientists, transportation and energy industry executives, government officials, and Japan’s Imperial Highnesses Prince and Princess Akishino.

Sperling described a world that is increasingly affluent – and consumptive. “If this consumption continues to be based on current unsustainable forms of energy, it threatens our environment and the future of the human race,” he said.

“Therein lies the challenge—can the wealthy countries not only curb their insatiable appetite for fossil energy, but also play a leadership role in developing and adopting new low-carbon life styles?” Sperling asked.

“A new paradigm is needed that allows for more consumption and mobility, but without disrupting ecosystems, extinguishing species, and poisoning our air, land, and water.”

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