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IU SPEA conference in nation's capital aims to help shape energy policy debate

Leading experts on climate change, the auto industry, nuclear and fossil-fuel energy and other topics will share their insights and recommendations this month in a national energy policy conference sponsored by the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

The conference, titled "The Search for a Wise Energy Policy," will take place all day Thursday, June 11, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.

"Although energy policy development is inherently complex and risky, this conference offers us the chance to identify and address key issues," said John D. Graham, dean of the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. "We all understand the urgency of 'getting it right,' and we have a rare opportunity to be involved in laying the intellectual foundation for bold, effective new global energy policies that can sustain us well into the future."

The conference takes place as the Obama Administration pursues an ambitious agenda to strengthen U.S. leadership in global energy policy, reduce dependence on foreign energy sources and develop millions of new "green jobs," and as Congress debates legislation to control greenhouse gas emissions -- creating a demand for fresh, creative thinking.

The conference will feature discussions by experts from universities, think tanks, government and the private sector on the following themes:

  • Drivers of energy policy: energy security, environmental protection and affordability
  • Changing patterns in the supply of energy
  • Changing patterns in the demand and use of energy
  • Climate policy, legislation and the prospects for green jobs

Moderators and panelists will include Ambassador C. Boyden Gray, former U.S. State Department special envoy to the European Union; former CIA Director and Undersecretary of the Navy Jim Woolsey, a partner with VantagePoint Venture Partners; Susan Cischke, Ford Motor Co. vice president, sustainability, environment and safety engineering; and Paul Portney, dean of the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona and former president of Resources for the Future.

Indiana University SPEA faculty members contributing to the discussions include J.C. Randolph, who will moderate the panel on changing patterns in energy supply; Matt Auer, who will discuss energy conservation and efficiency; and Kenneth Richards, who will explain design features of climate legislation being considered by Congress. (Richards and A. James Barnes, a SPEA professor and former dean, are co-authors of a recent policy brief on using carbon capture and storage to enable coal-burning power plants to help meet future energy needs. It can be seen at http://www.iu.edu/~speaweb/faculty/pdfs/SPEA_insights_May09.pdf).

Online registration for the conference is available at http://spea.iupui.edu/conferences/register.asp. For more information, an agenda and a complete list of panelists, see http://spea.iupui.edu/conferences/.

The Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs, founded in 1972, is the largest school of public affairs in the country. Its master's degree in public affairs ranks second among 250 public affairs programs nationally (tied with Harvard's Kennedy School of Government). It is the highest ranked public affairs degree at a public university by U.S. News and World Report. IU SPEA is ranked No. 1 in the nation in environmental policy and management, and nonprofit management, and third in the nation in public finance and budgeting specialties. For more information, see http://www.spea.indiana.edu.