How Biden's Clean Energy Plan Will Bring Social and Environmental Justice

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By Policy Punchline and Princeton University. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Dan Kammen is the Class of 1935 Distinguished Professor of Energy at the UC Berkeley. Well-rounded in issues across the entire energy sphere, Prof. Kammen has also served in both the Obama and Trump administrations among other public facing duties, in addition to being a founder of and advisor to several private companies. In this interview, Prof. Kammen discusses his views on the American energy policy after Covid-19 and the elections season, and stresses that social and environmental justice are playing an ever more important role in the future of clean energy, requiring a leader like Biden to put forth bold plans. He believes that the U.S. missed a great opportunity to push through a green stimulus package after Covid, which showed the necessity for a clean energy-style stimulus. The opportunity was capitalized upon other countries like South Korea and New Zealand, but the U.S. was stymied by partisan politics when it came down to the details. He remains optimistic, however, when comparing his own Covid recommendations to some of the proposals on the table moving forward. More specifically, his guidance falls directly in line with Joe Biden's Clean Energy Plan, which calls for $2 trillion in spending and a focus on environmental and social justice. Prof. Kammen fully supported both the size and scope of Biden's historical climate platform – calling it one of the most comprehensive energy plans in American history with the right kind of political coalition. Prof. Kammen defends Biden's fracking stance, a policy point that has drawn criticism from many environmentalists and clean energy gurus, but also presents his own call for government intervention into sectors heavily affiliated with fossil fuel interests, such as the cruise and airline industries. We also dive into the details of a number of emerging technologies. The carbon capture, utilization and removal technology has been garnering attention in the energy community but still faces an uncertain future. Prof. Kammen describes the future possibilities for this technology, as well as the realistic paths that the carbon capture industry could embark on in the coming decades within the greater agriculture and infrastructure sectors. Nuclear power is a strangely controversial topic in the U.S. today – an energy-dense source that has had some safety issues in the past but is widely regarded by experts as extremely safe. Prof. Kammen describes the potential democratization of nuclear energy but also some of the significant cost and safety hurdles that potentially stand in the way for near-time success. Finally, we touched on several topics that are currently buzzing around the energy community, such as microgrids, the progression of individuals and families becoming both consumers and producers of energy, the role of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the potential expansion of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), and finally his optimistic vision for the clean energy future.

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