Annual Carnot Prize


THE CARNOT PRIZE is the Kleinman Center’s annual recognition of distinguished contributions to energy policy through scholarship or practice.

Our prize is named in memory of French scientist Sadi Carnot, who in 1824 published Reflections on the Motive Power of Fire, which became the basis for the second law of thermodynamics. Carnot recognized that the power of the steam engine would “produce a great revolution” in human development. The Carnot Prize is intended to honor those who have revolutionized our understanding of energy policy.

Follow this year's event on social media: #CarnotPrize

2017 Carnot Prize
The 2017 Carnot Prize was awarded to the Honorable Gina McCarthy, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

The award was presented by the Honorable Lynn Scarlett, Co-Chief External Affairs Officer at The Nature Conservancy, and former Acting Secretary, Deputy Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The award ceremony included welcoming remarks from Frederick Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor of the School of Design, and concluded with a reflection on energy policy by Ms. McCarthy.


Watch the Student Video


Listen to the Kleinman Center's Energy Policy Now podcast with Gina McCarthy:


Listen to Gina McCarthy and Mark Alan Hughes on Knowledge@Wharton

Thanks to Knowledge@Wharton and SiriusXM for making this recording available.

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2016 Carnot Prize

The recipient of the 2016 Carnot Prize was Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. 

We welcomed Dr. Birol to Penn's campus on November 17th for a series of events related to the Carnot Prize. Read more about his visit in this policy spotlight, and listen and watch recordings of the day's events at the links below:

World Energy Outlook Briefing

2016 World Energy Outlook Briefing in the Kleinman Center classroom
Read the 2016 World Energy Outlook Executive Summary:

Read Here

Knowledge@Wharton Interview

Dr. Birol in the Knowledge@Wharton studio
Listen to Dr. Birol's conversation with Knowledge@Wharton host Dan Loney and Kleinman Center Faculty Director Mark Alan Hughes:

Listen Here

Award Ceremony and Policy Lecture

Penn President Dr. Amy Gutmann presents Dr. Birol with this year's Carnot Prize
Watch the Carnot Prize ceremony and Dr. Birol's policy lecture:

Watch Here

Carnot Prize Winners


Fatih Birol (2016)

Dr. Fatih Birol took office as Executive Director on 1 September 2015, twenty years after first joining the International Energy Agency (IEA) as a junior analyst. Prior to assuming his current duties, he held the positions of Chief Economist and Director of Global Energy Economics, with responsibilities that included directing the flagship World Energy Outlook publication.

During his career, Dr. Fatih Birol has made a significant contribution to the international policy debate on energy and climate change. He is the Chairman of the World Economic Forum’s (Davos) Energy Advisory Board and serves as a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on "Sustainable Energy for All." Prior to joining the IEA in 1995, Dr. Birol worked for a number of years as an oil market analyst at the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.

A Turkish citizen, Dr. Birol was born in Ankara in 1958. He earned a BSc degree in power engineering from the Technical University of Istanbul. He received his MSc and PhD in energy economics from the Technical University of Vienna. 

Daniel Yergin (2015)

Dr. Daniel Yergin is a highly respected authority on energy, international politics, and economics. He is Vice Chairman of IHS and Founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

Prior to founding Cambridge Energy Research Associates, which was acquired by IHS in 2004, he taught at the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of several organizations, including the National Petroleum Council and the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board. He is a trustee of the Brookings Institution and a director of the Council on Foreign Relations and the New America Foundation. He is also on the advisory board of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative and the Yale University Climate and Energy Institute. In 2014, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Prime Minister of India and the James Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Dr. Yergin earned his B.A. from Yale University and his Ph.D. from Cambridge University in England, where he was a Marshall Scholar.