Posted On: Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017 - 12:00 am

In mid-September, an appeals court ordered the federal government to rethink the climate change impacts of two giant coal mines, putting other fossil fuel projects on notice. This Bloomberg BNA article quotes Michelle Nowlin (Duke Law professor) on this development. Language in the National Environmental Policy Act requires that federal agencies follow the best available science—and that provides a bulwark against any given administration’s rejection of scientific consensus, Nowlin said.

“An agency can’t do a thorough assessment of impacts without looking at what the science says,” Nowlin told Bloomberg BNA. “Is there consensus? To what degree is there disagreement? What is the integrity and reliability of the different models that are used to assess that impact? That’s not something that any administration is going to get away from. The law is the law.”

Posted On: Friday, Sep 15, 2017 - 12:00 am

In spring 2017, researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions set out to determine what and how a broad cross-section of thought leaders at private corporations, nonprofits, government agencies, and universities think about emerging environmental trends, risks, and opportunities. The researchers found that several leaders have changed their policies in response to the Trump administration’s moves to deregulation and the increasing physical manifestations of climate change.  

Posted On: Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 - 10:47 am

New research from Duke, KU Leuven, and UCLA says OPEC’s effects on the world economy extend far beyond the prices that consumers see at the pump. The authors (including Duke economist Allan Collard-Wexler) note that over the course of 40 years, the oil industry cartel not only drove up the cost of crude oil production by some $160 billion, it also helped change the direction of the oil industry. 

Posted On: Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 - 12:00 am

In October 2016, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke University Energy Initiative co-hosted a one-day workshop that brought together experts on the electricity sector in the Southeast—including representatives of electric utilities, other market participants, nonprofit organizations, and energy and environmental agencies—to discuss factors affecting the region. The workshop revealed that participants have a growing need for increasingly sophisticated models and forecasting tools to help them deal with new sources of uncertainty and rapid rates of change.

Read more about how Duke researchers have developed a deep understanding of both the electricity sector’s potential responses to regulatory, market, and technology changes and the emissions consequences of those responses. Their legal analyses and modeling have provided a solid foundation to help states address their own distinct decision-making challenges amid uncertainty, which has only deepened as the Trump administration looks to roll back Obama-era climate policies.

Posted On: Tuesday, Sep 12, 2017 - 12:00 am

Working on I&E certificate requirements this summer, a handful of students focused not only on innovation and entrepreneurship, but also on making a positive impact on the environment. One of them was sophomore Elle Smyth, who had the opportunity to travel to Uganda last summer to help build a solar-powered medical clinic for a village through a Duke Engineers for International Development project. Read all about her experience here. 

Posted On: Monday, Sep 11, 2017 - 12:00 am

In September 2015, world leaders signed off on the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs)—a roadmap to tackling climate change, eliminating poverty and hunger, and putting in place sustainable energy sources, water, and industry by 2030. Achieving these goals (and the 169 targets underpinning them) requires problem-solving approaches that acknowledge the interconnections among the sectors of health, development, and environment. For the last year, Duke University researchers have partnered with colleagues at the The Nature Conservancy, PATH, and the International Food Policy Research Institute (along with 150 experts from other practitioner and academic organizations) to develop such approaches through a new initiative: the Bridge Collaborative.

“To help these sectors ‘talk’ to one another, we’ve been working to create shared principles that not only align problem solving strategies across the health, development, and environment sectors, but also allow a shared assessment of evidence in order to agree on what makes good evidence for all,” said Lydia Olander of Duke's Nicholas Institute of Environmental Policy Solutions. “Common approaches for two linked areas of practice—strategic logic models and evidence grading—could unlock cross sector collaboration.”


Posted On: Thursday, Sep 07, 2017 - 2:11 pm

In this blog post with accompanying video, Paige Swofford (MEM/MBA’18) discusses how Duke is enabling her to get a degree that combines several of her interests. The three-year joint degree allows her to take courses across many schools, get involved with several energy organizations on campus, and build meaningful relationships.  

Posted On: Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 - 12:52 pm

Soli Shin (MEM '18) spent her summer as an Environmental Fellow placed at the Environmental Defense Fund, serving the Clean Energy team in her hometown of New York City.  She worked with different aspects of both city- and state-level efforts to develop a cleaner, more efficient energy landscape among all New York communities.  Her blog post reflects on the effects the Community Choice Aggregation energy procurement model could have on low/moderate income communities.  

Posted On: Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 - 12:00 am

Resources for the Future has named Brian Prest, PhD candidate in energy and environmental economics and EI doctoral fellow, as a Joseph L. Fisher Doctoral Dissertation Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year.  Prest focuses his research on household response to time-of-use electricity pricing, updating environmental policy to reflect new information, and how shale gas has changed the price responsiveness of the U.S.'s natural gas supply. Congrats Brian! 

Posted On: Saturday, Sep 02, 2017 - 3:56 pm

Senior Joshua Grubbs, chemistry and global health major, traveled to Peru to complete a project cross-listed as a Bass Connections in Energy course last year. His research focused on nutrition as a potential intervention point for reducing the burden of mercury contamination, primarily because the typical diet based on fish has contributed to high levels of mercury in Madre de Dios.