Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Complexity and the Politics of the Green Energy Transition

Date and Time
Friday, September 25, 2020 - 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Online Webinar
Complexity and the Politics of the Green Energy Transition


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More and more Americans are recognizing climate change as a climate crisis. This accelerated sense of urgency is fueling momentum for policies to advance a net-zero carbon economy. Yet the reality is that a rapid green transition will be a massive and complex task, involving tradeoffs and value choices that are often overlooked in the policy debate.

At an interactive webinar on Sept. 25, Duke alumnus Dr. David Spence (University of Texas School of Law) will explore these tradeoffs, examine why they are not getting play in today’s policy debates, and assess them as hurdles for legislative support of meaningful, durable climate action.

This event, organized by the Duke University Energy Initiative and Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, will not adhere to a typical lecture-then-Q&A format. Instead, Spence will share observations and analysis in three brief segments, each followed by audience discussion.

Participants should plan to attend the webinar on a laptop or tablet, as the visual portions of Spence’s presentation may be difficult to view on a small screen. Participants are also welcome to browse the web site before the event.

This event is open only to current Duke students, faculty, and staff.


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David Spence is the Baker Botts Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law, and Professor of Business, Government & Society at UT-Austin’s McCombs School of Business. Dr. Spence’s research and teaching focus on government regulation of the energy industry: broadly defined to include economic and environmental regulation of the entire energy sector. He is co-author of the leading energy law textbook, Energy, Economics and the Environment (Foundation Press, 5th Ed., 2019), and one of the principals behind, a web site featuring research that addresses the complexity and tradeoffs associated with the green energy transition. Dr. Spence earned his Ph.D in political science from Duke University, his J.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Law, and his B.A. from Gettysburg College.