The overarching question imparting urgency to this exploration is: Can U.S.-Russian contention in cyberspace cause the two nuclear superpowers to stumble into war? In considering this question we were constantly reminded of recent comments by a prominent U.S. arms control expert: At least as dangerous as the risk of an actual cyberattack, he observed, is cyber operations’ “blurring of the line between peace and war.” Or, as Nye wrote, “in the cyber realm, the difference between a weapon and a non-weapon may come down to a single line of code, or simply the intent of a computer program’s user.”
Michael Davidson’s research focuses on the engineering implications and institutional conflicts inherent in deploying renewable energy at scale. He is particularly interested in systems within emerging electricity markets, including China and India, as well as the western United States.
He is an Assistant Professor at the School of Global Policy and Strategy and the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department of the Jacobs School of Engineering.
Davidson was previously the U.S.-China Climate Policy Coordinator for the environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). He is a Public Intellectuals Program Fellow at the National Committee of U.S.-China Relations from 2021 until 2023. Davidson is also a former Fulbright Scholar and has received fellowships from the MIT Energy Initiative and Martin Family Society of Fellows for Sustainability.
Prior to joining UC San Diego, Davidson was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center’s Environment and Natural Resources Program. He received his Ph.D. in engineering systems at the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, where he was a researcher with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and a member of the Tsinghua-MIT China Energy and Climate Project. He is also a fellow with the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy, hosted at Johns Hopkins SAIS. He also holds an S.M. in Technology and Policy from MIT.