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Energy Policy


Units: 6


This seminar will provide an introduction to modern U.S. energy policy.  Our goal will be to understand, from a practical perspective, how economics, technology, politics, public opinion and national security all influence the development and implementation of policy.   Questions that we will address include: Why has energy and the environment taken on such a critical role in the public policy agenda?  How has U.S. energy policy changed over the years and what lessons have we learned from past initiatives?  How much influence does government really have?  How have new technologies changed the energy landscape and our interactions with other countries?  The class will begin with an overview of the energy sector and the related government structure.  After covering some historical context, we will discuss Presidential initiatives and legislative activity, and will pay particular attention to current efforts by the Biden Administration.

We will consider case studies, such as the Keystone Pipeline and carbon pricing, that demonstrate conflicting viewpoints about appropriate energy policy.  The class will also explore international energy issues like liquefied natural gas and crude oil exports, as well as the Paris climate agreement.

This course is a seminar class; I will provide a framework and then guide a discussion among the students.  We will hear from guest speakers, including a number of current and former senior government officials.

Learning Outcomes

To understand the various factors that go into energy and environmental policy, and how the government develops and implements such policy.

Prerequisites Description