Renewable Energy and Deep Decarbonization

Instructors: Justin Gundlach and Romany Webb

Fulfills requirement: Environmental Policy, Management, and Finance (EPMF) OR Case Study (CS)
Day: Wednesday
Dates: May 9, 16, 23, 30, June 6 (Module 4, 5 sessions)
Time: 6:10 – 8:10 PM
Room location: Schermerhorn Extension 652
Course number: ENVB 0426 N
Call number: 72150

Course Description
New course!

In the Paris Climate Agreement, the international community agreed to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, requiring global net greenhouse gas emissions to approach zero by the second half of this century. For industrialized countries, this implies an 80% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2050, necessitating a fundamental transformation of their economies, in a process known as “deep decarbonization.” This course will explore the implications of deep decarbonization for the energy sector. We will discuss the need to phase out fossil fuels, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of possible replacements. Particular attention will be given to the role of renewable energy, with a discussion of available and emerging technologies, and the conditions (financial, regulatory, etc.) required to maximize their use. Case studies will be used to illustrate the difficulties associated with achieving optimal conditions and participants will have the opportunity to brainstorm possible solutions. While the primary focus will be on the U.S., there will be some discussion of international topics.

About the Instructors

Justin Gundlach is a Climate Law Fellow at the Columbia University Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Justin’s work at the Sabin Center focuses on using existing legal and regulatory tools to promote efforts on the part of governments and private actors to adapt to a changing climate and to mitigate the effects of climate change. Before starting at the Center, Justin worked as a staff attorney and clinical teaching fellow with the environmental section of Georgetown law school’s Institute for Public Representation. That fellowship followed several years of private practice, which in turn followed an internship in the Energy & Climate Change Section of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Justin received an LL.M. from Georgetown with distinction in 2015 and a J.D., cum laude, from NYU School of Law in 2010. He is licensed to practice law in New York.

Romany Webb joined the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law in September 2016 as a Climate Law Fellow. Romany’s work at the Sabin Center focuses on climate change mitigation. She researches domestic policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting carbon sequestration. Prior to joining the Sabin Center, Romany worked at the University of California Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, researching executive authority to combat climate change. Romany also completed a fellowship with the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law, and Business at the University of Texas at Austin, where she researched energy policy, with a focus on options for minimizing the climate and other environmental impacts of energy development. The fellowship followed several years working in private practice in Sydney, Australia. Romany received an LL.M., with a certificate of specialization in environmental law, from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013. She also holds an LL.B., awarded with first class honors, from the University of New South Wales (Australia).