Duke Global launched the India Initiative with a talk by Duke professor Mike Bergin, a co-director of the new program. Bergin spoke about his recent research on air pollution's impact on solar energy production in India--which is leading to further exploration of the interplay between poor sanitation and poor air quality, and how they collectively affect human health, both mental and physical. As a co-director of the Duke India Initiative, Bergin hopes this research and other activities across campus will contribute to a wider conversation about India. Co-directors Sumathi Ramaswamy and Marc Deshusses said the initiative aims to create an intellectual community and to promote research and learning activities that bring students, faculty and Indian partners together. The initiative is currently accepting proposals for faculty-led projects and activities that will support the initiative's mission on campus. Proposals are due September 29.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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