Renewable Energy and the Environment


Instructor: Romany Webb
Course number: ENVB 0414 N

Fulfills requirement: Environmental Policy, Management, and Finance (EPMF) OR
                                        Case Study (CS)
Day: Monday
Dates: November 11, 18, December 2, 9, 16 (Module 3, 5 sessions)
Time: 6:10 – 8:10 PM

Course Description

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 reach zero by 2050. This will require a fundamental transformation of the energy system, with low- and zero-carbon energy sources — particularly renewables — replacing fossil fuels in electricity generation, as well as in industry, transportation, and other sectors. For example, natural gas use will need to be replaced with biogas in industry, and liquid biofuels will need to replace oil in transportation and other applications. Recently however, renewable energy development has faced growing public opposition, primarily due to concerns about its negative environmental and health impacts. This course will explore the key risks associated with renewable energy projects, how those risks are currently managed, and what (if any) improvements may be needed. We will also discuss perceived risks and how they can and do impact renewable energy development. Case studies will be used to illustrate the challenges that can arise 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 Instructor

Romany Webb is an Associate Research Fellow at Columbia Law School and Senior Fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Romany’s research focuses on climate change mitigation, exploring how legal and policy tools can be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote carbon sequestration. Much of her research focuses on the intersection of climate and energy, looking at options to minimize the climate impacts of energy development.

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. The fellowship followed several years working in private practice in Sydney, Australia.