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VT Law School Launches Energy Security & Justice Project

January 24, 2012

SOUTH ROYALTON, VT -- Vermont Law School has launched the Energy Security & Justice Project to expand global access to sustainable energy and craft national energy policies that adapt to climate change without worsening socioeconomic inequality.

Image of Ben SovacoolThe Project, which is overseen by Associate Professor Benjamin Sovacool, expands the international law and policy focus of VLS's Institute for Energy and the Environment.

The Project's researchers investigate how to provide ethical access to energy services and minimize the injustices and human impacts of current energy production and use. The researchers explore how to equitably provide available, affordable, reliable, efficient, environmentally benign, proactively governed and socially acceptable energy services to households and consumers. One track of the program focuses on a lack of access to electricity and reliance on traditional biomass fuels for cooking in the developing world. Another track analyzes the moral implications of existing energy policies and proposals in the United States.

"Too often, national and international energy policies have focused on protecting adequate supplies of conventional fuels with little or no regard for the long-term consequences to the people and cultures the policies are intended to benefit," said Sovacool, an internationally recognized energy security expert. "The Energy Security & Justice Project is a rare effort to broaden the scope of energy security research and examine the human factors responsible for the ultimate success or failure of these policies."

The Project, in cooperation with the MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Asia Research Institute, and the National University of Singapore, has published a series of case studies examining energy security in Asia. The case studies include China's Renewable Energy Development Project, Malaysia's massive expansion of hydroelectric dams in Sarawak and Bangladesh's effort to install two million solar home systems.

In addition, Sovacool's team has partnered with Morgan Bazilian, special advisor to the Director-General of the United Nation's program on international energy and climate policy, to explore new approaches to energy governance in Energy Policy, the world's leading journal on energy supply, demand and utilization (Read the Energy Policy article).

"Global energy policymakers are experiencing an ‘a-ha' moment that questions everything we ever thought about energy security, climate change and adaptation" said Christopher Cooper, the Project's senior research fellow. "Just as global development policy underwent a radical transformation after efforts that looked good on paper failed in the field, energy policymakers are reexamining just what it means to be energy secure."

Available to comment are:
• Associate Professor Benjamin Sovacool: 802.831.1053 or bsovacool@vermontlaw.edu
• Senior Research Fellow Christopher Cooper: 202.251.7166 or ccooper@vermontlaw.edu

CONTACT: John Cramer, Associate Director of Media Relations, Vermont Law School
Office: 802.831.1106, cell: 540.798.7099, home: 802.649.2235, jcramer@vermontlaw.edu

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