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July 21, 2017

SciPol Adds Energy to its Science Policy Coverage

It’s tough to overstate the importance of energy, which is critical to nearly all human activity. The discovery, extraction, distribution, conversion, and use of various forms of energy drive our global economy, are inextricably linked to environmental factors, and can have significant impacts on human health and well-being. 

That’s why the Duke Initiative for Science & Society is partnering with the Duke University Energy Initiative to launch energy as a topic on SciPol. Starting this month, we will begin to track and translate developments in policy, industry, and science that have direct and intentional impacts on the U.S. energy sector.

We think the timing is perfect. During this watershed year in energy policy, legislative action and executive orders have proceeded at an unprecedented pace. Since January, President Trump has announced intentions to secure America’s “energy dominance” and has undertaken a flurry of activity:

  • Established an Energy Week in Washington, D.C.
  • Opened new pathways for the export of liquefied natural gas;
  • Directed the restructuring and streamlining of the Departments of Energy and the Interior;
  • Issued executive orders which open the Outer Continental Shelf to oil and gas leases (SciPol brief available); and
  • Signed into law new legislation supporting coal miners and the companies in which they are employed.

The continuation of this new era of energy policy will have wide-ranging implications for researchers, lawmakers, industry leaders, and consumers. At SciPol, we intend to help each of these groups track the changes and understand the potential impacts.

Our partner in this effort, the Duke University Energy Initiative, is a university-wide interdisciplinary collaboration focused on advancing an accessible, affordable, reliable, and clean energy system. The Initiative reaches across business, engineering, environment, law, policy, and the arts and sciences to educate tomorrow’s energy innovators, develop new solutions through research, and improve energy decisions by engaging business and government leaders.

“Adding this new area to SciPol creates opportunities for members of the Duke community and the broader energy sector to learn from—and contribute to—a multitude of resources at the nexus of energy science and policy,” says Brian Murray, interim director of the Energy Initiative. “It’s an excellent opportunity to curate and contribute unbiased content to inform decision-making processes.”

Publishing and curricular opportunities abound: 

  • Want to share your own perspective on a hot energy topic?
  • Interested in having your students learn to write energy policy briefs and see them get published on our site?
  • Looking for a paid/unpaid internship, graduate assistantship, or work-study position in energy policy?

Email Alexandra Sutton Lawrence: Alexandra.Sutton@duke.edu.

Wait—who’s Alexandra? Good question. Alexandra Sutton Lawrence is the lead editor for energy policy coverage on SciPol. She holds a joint appointment with the Duke University Energy Initiative and Duke Initiative for Science & Society. Alexandra is a doctoral candidate in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke, where she worked with Dr. Stuart Pimm to study best practices in biodiversity conservation. Her dissertation, Conservation in the Human Landscape, comprises case studies of leadership, management, and finance in global environmental initiatives.

Alexandra has held previous policy positions at The Wildlife Society and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and her research has been supported by The Explorers’ Club; National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative; and Sigma Xi.  She is also the founder of Kedge Conservation, a social innovation startup that works to promote financial literacy, access, and equity in East and Southern Africa.

Visit scipol.duke.edu for news, updates, and opportunities to engage with new developments in the United States energy sector.