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Energy, Environment & Society

We find ourselves at a crucial juncture with respect to how we generate, distribute and consume energy in a world experiencing the impact of global climate change.  New energy sources are being discovered and developed and their potential for reducing human and ecological harm must be assessed.  More efficient technologies for energy conservation are being devised, new forms of energy storage are being discovered, and debates about how to advance energy policy responsibly are center-stage at state, national and global levels.   

Faculty and students in the IExE Energy, Environment & Society cluster are developing objective, credible, data-driven analyses that inform policymakers, corporations, NGO’s and the general public about energy-related issues.  For example, IExE teams are exploring issues such as: the roles state and federal laws, policies and regulations play in the development of new and existing energy sources; the economic impact of climate change; the role of environmental quality in fostering growth in developing countries; the design of public policies based on rigorous economic analyses; how policies that lead to the development of renewable energy sources are created and how such policies spread or are shared; how national security interests, global climate accords, environmental movements, and other social factors impact energy policy; how political movements such as those driven by concerns about the environmental impacts of nuclear waste disposal, oil pipelines, fracking, and hydroelectric dams affect the development and adoption of energy sources; how market approaches are used to regulate pollutants; how transport planning can be better integrated with the development of smart grids to improve the energy efficiency of both; and, examples of best practices in city and regional planning for energy efficiency and innovation.