Climate of Capitulation: An Insider’s Account of State Power in a Coal Nation
Vivian E. Thomson, Former Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences and Politics, University of Virginia
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
10:00 am to 11:30 am
About the lecture:
Vivian Thomson will offer an insider’s account of how power is wielded in environmental policy making at the state level. Drawing on her experience as a former member of Virginia’s State Air Pollution Control Board, she narrates cases in Alexandria, Wise, and Roda that involved coal and air pollution. She identifies a “climate of capitulation” —a deeply rooted favoritism toward coal and electric utilities in state air pollution policies. Thomson links Virginia’s climate of capitulation with campaign finance patterns, a state legislature that depends on outsiders for information and bill drafting, and a political culture that tends toward inertia. She extends her analysis to fifteen other coal states and recommends reforms aimed at mitigating ingrained biases toward coal and electric utility interests.
Top experts from the auto industry, alternative fuel vehicle market, and major utilities are scheduled to participate in discussions about electric vehicle (EV) and natural gas vehicle (NGV) deployment during the upcoming Michigan Technical Conference on Alternative Fuel Vehicles.
What is the future of diesel engines in the face of growing pressures to reduce CO2 while holding health-harming pollutants to ever-lower levels? Dr. Johnson will discuss diesel technology for both light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles and address the competition among gasoline and diesel engines, hybrid powertrains and electric vehicles as advanced propulsion solutions.
Student Challenge: Create a tangible visualization of the amount of carbon emissions created by the University of Michigan in the year 2016: 641,000 metric tons, or 1,413,161,420 pounds, of carbon dioxide. This represents approximately 30% of Ann Arbor’s total emissions footprint. (For more detail about U-M’s GHG emissions, see this report.)