Professor Shobhakar Dhakal is the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the Asian Institute of Technology since 1 April 2021. He is also a Professor at the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate. Prof. Dhakal served, previously, as the Dean of AIT’s School of Environment, Resources and Development, and also as the Head of Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Change. His teaching, research and international activities comprise of energy policy, climate policy, low carbon and climate resilient cities, system analysis, and accounting of energy and carbon emissions and mitigation opportunities. He is particularly passionate about:
- Understanding the options and opportunities for climate smart cities which are low-energy, low-carbon and climate resilient in the context of rapid economic transformation, urbanization, Paris Climate Agreement, Sustainable Development Goals and the new Urban Agenda.
- Providing better access to modern and clean energy, and efficiently, in urban and rural areas of the developing countries in South and South-East Asia capitalizing on the tremendous potentials of the renewable energy technologies, declining cost of renewables and the climate polices as a new vehicle;
- Addressing energy and climate mitigation solutions through innovative policies, regulations, market (incl carbon market), and financial mechanisms (incl climate financing) at the multiple scales;
- Promoting cross-border and regional electricity trade/market for a better integration in South Asia and South-East Asia in the context of ASEAN, SAARC, BBIN, BIMSTEC and Belt-and Road Initiatives which intersects issues such as improved energy access, climate change mitigation, energy security and scaling up the renewable energy implementation in the region; and
- Finding synergies and understanding trade-offs of climate and energy goals with other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 2030 into the perspective.
Prof. Dhakal actively contributes to numerous international and scientific arena and provides scientific leadership in several areas, especially in international scientific assessments, global change research communities, and science-policy-practice interfacing. Few selected activities:
- Co-author of a 2021 high level UNEP synthesis providing blueprint to urgently solve planetary emergencies and secure humanity’s future titled “Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies“, released by UN Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director on 18th February 2021. This assessment assessed the links between multiple environmental and development challenges, and explain how advances in science and bold policymaking can open a pathway towards the achieving SDGs by 2030 and a carbon neutral world by 2050 while reducing biodiversity loss and managing pollution and waste
- Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of the Nobel Prize winning Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for its Sixth Assessment Report (Chapter 2: Emission Trends and Drivers) which is expected to be completed by 2021.
- Member of Scientific Steering Committee of the Global Carbon Project (since 2013), a premier global scientific program under the umbrella of Future Earth.
- Co-chair of the Scientific Steering Committee of Cities & Climate Change Science Conference (March 5-7, 2018, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) which was jointly organized (in leadership of IPCC) by 10 global institutions to set the future direction of research on Cities and Climate Change through research-policy-practice partnerships of communities. From outcomes of the this 900 people conference and subsequent deliberations, have come up with a global research and action agenda in Sept 2018 which is endorsed by IPCC and other global institutions and is being implemented.
- Led (with Dr. Leena Srivastava, now the Deputy DG at IIASA, Austria) a new and first of its kind energy assessment for Hindu Kush Himalaya “Meeting Future Energy Needs in the Hindu Kush Himalaya” under the HIMAP program (2016-2017) initiated by International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the assessment report available here, published by Springer in Feb 2018.
- Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of IPCC for its 5th Mitigation Assessment Report (released in April 2014) for the Chapter 12 on Human Settlements, Infrastructure and Spatial Planning (2010-2015).
- Co-led (with NASA/Colombia U, CUNY, NACR, New School) global synthesis activity contributed by over 500 scientists worldwide titled “Assessment Report on Climate Change and Cities” which was initiated by Urban Climate Change Research Network as Second Assessment (2013-2016) and published in 2018 by the Cambridge University Press.
- Lead author for the Global Energy Assessment‘s for the Chapter of “Urban Energy Systems” (2008-11)
- Principle scientific reviewer of UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) and several informal engagements in GEO-6.
- Member of the “Consensus Panel on Low Carbon Cities” of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa (2008-2010)
- Member of the Cities Energy Modeling Group of the International Energy Agency for World Energy Outlook 2008 which, for the first time, estimated role of cities in global energy and CO2 emissions.
- International expert to the Taskforce on Urban Development and Energy Efficiency of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (2008-9).
Together with Skee Houghton, Prof. Dhakal was founder senior-editor of Carbon Management Journal published by Future Sciences in 2009 which is now taken over by Taylor and Francis group (achieved ISI Impact Factor of 2.08). He was Co-editor-in-chief of Carbon Management Journal till December 2016. He was also an associate editor of Elsevier’s Sustainable Cities and Society journal for 2014-2016 and has been to guest editor of special issue of several journals.
He was one of the two Executive Directors of the Global Carbon Project (A Future Earth Project) hosted at National Institute for Environmental Studies Japan from 2006-2012 where he played instrumental role in bridging science and policies for carbon management and is currently serving in its Scientific Steering Committee. He was a Senior Policy Researcher and Project Manager of urban program at Institute for Global Environment Strategies Japan for 2000-2006. He was also a Guest Scholar to the Transition to New Technologies Group of International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (2010-2013), a visiting Associate Professor to Nagoya University (2009-2012), and a visiting researcher (2012-2017) to National Institute for Environmental Studies Japan.