Energy Poverty in a Carbon Constrained World: Pugwash Workshop #1

Energy Poverty in a Carbon Constrained World

February 18, 9am-5:30pm

Michigan State University, James Madison College library, Case Hall

Open to graduate and undergraduate students

Thanks for a successful workshop!

In 2015, countries around the world committed to decarbonizing their energy systems under the Paris agreement. Such changes would result in a complete transformation of how energy is generated, distributed, and consumed. This is not only a matter of technological substitution but also a matter of domestic politics, policy, and regulation; behavioral change; and socioeconomic disruption. Moreover, countries are not on an even playing field when it comes to existing energy systems. While developed countries enjoy deep, and often unseen, energy wealth, many people in developing countries suffer from energy poverty. Some 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and over 2 billion people lack access to clean cooking fuels. While there are numerous benefits to changing our planet’s energy systems, poor planning and lack of foresight may lead to outcomes that are not sustainable, that exacerbate inequities, and that create new and unanticipated problems. Therefore, this workshop explores not only how to decarbonize energy systems but also how to build energy systems that serve to alleviate domestic and international inequities to empower people rather than just powering them.

Student Pugwash USA’s mission is to empower and equip students to identify, critically analyze, and shape the ethical, policy, and societal dimensions of science and technology. This workshop is part of a series run by Student Pugwash USA. It will be an interactive workshop designed to give you the skills to understand energy and other technological systems in a societal and policy context. The workshop will include a foresight exercise, a learning simulation, and small break out discussions on two case studies analyzed through the lenses of energy security and deep energy justice. We will provide you with tools for bringing this exercise back to your communities, as well as a $50 scholarship for completing a give-back activity.


Welcome and logistics

Introductions/ icebreaker


Short presentations from Michigan Energy experts—15 minutes plus 5 minutes for questions, students should treat it as a fact-finding mission for scenario building

9:45-10:05 Utility regulation, energy as a public good, Dr. Janice Beecher, Institute of Public Utilities
10:05-10:25 Electricity utility perspective, Anna Munie, Consumers Energy
10:25-10:45 Energy NGO perspective, John Sarver, Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association
10:45-11:45 Energy visioning exercise, small groups with experts, options for a low carbon energy future for Michigan
11:45-12:15 Break, lunch served
12:15-1:00 Tools for the Ethical analysis of Energy (presenting the concepts of energy justice & deep energy security)
1:15-2:00 Active learning activity: energy around the world game & debrief
2:00-3:00 Domestic case study, Transitioning anthracite towns in Appalachia off of coal, break out groups
3:00-3:15 Break
3:15-4:15 International developing country case study, addressing energy poverty in Ethiopia, break out groups
4:15-5:15 Give back session, discuss options for bringing this activity back to your community
5:15-5:30pm post survey