February 22, 2013 – The Financial Crisis and its Impact on Renewable Energy Development

SPEAKERDr. Jonathan Rubin, Professor, Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and School of Economics, The University of Maine

DATE: February 22, 2013
TIME: 7:30 AM
LOCATION: Bangor Public Library

Abstract: The global economic crisis starting in 2007 2008, and continuing through today, has thrown the worlds economies and markets into turmoil. The reach and depth of the crisis surprised our politicians, professional economists, and casual observers alike. One major concern for those focused on climate change is the extent to which the financial crisis has impacted the United States (US) and European Unions (EU) ability and willingness to invest in and help develop renewable energy technology around the world. This is a serious concern since there is now a consensus that the climate change is human-induced. Equally important, there is a need to reduce the non-climate impacts of energy generation, provide employment, and reduce global poverty.

Following the record year in 2011, new investment flows in renewable energy in the first quarter of 2012 were the weakest since the depths of the financial crisis. In the US and Europe, public support has been weakened by a combination of large debt burdens and, in places, political upheavals from severe financial constraints. Additionally, in the US and Canada, the great expansion in oil and natural gas reserves and production have lessened their dependency on foreign imports of fossil energy. Meanwhile, developing countries such as Brazil and China are launching new incentive mechanisms and implementing national energy strategies. Going forward, which nations will provide leadership to develop these new technologies and will they actually lead to a reduction in fossil energy use or just increase the worlds supply of energy?

About the speaker: Dr. Rubin specializes in the economics of  energy, light duty transportation, greenhouse gas emissions and alternative fuels. His research investigates low carbon transportation fuels, biofuel pathways, and the potential economic and environmental impacts from trading greenhouse gases and fuel efficiency credits for automobiles and light-duty trucks. Dr. Rubin is the Chair of the Committee on Transportation Energy, US Transportation Research Board of the National Academies. He was previously a Fulbright Scholar at the Clean Energy Research Centre at the University of  Botswana and a Visiting Fellow at the Cambridge Centre for Climate Change Mitigation Research at the University of  Cambridge. He has published numerous articles in national and international journals on credit trading, energy and policy. Dr. Rubin received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the University of  California, Davis in 1993.