University of Pittsburgh
March 19, 2014

Comparing U.S. and European Policies on Energy, Environment

Free public conference, held March 21-22 at Pitt, will feature international experts
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—When it comes to energy resources, it matters little whether a fossil fuel deposit lies beneath a community in Western Pennsylvania or Germany: The potential economic benefits, along with challenges to health and the environment, are much the same. The policies these communities use to govern the extraction and use of these resources, however, can often vary dramatically.

The upcoming University of Pittsburgh-hosted conference, “Environment and Energy: A Comparison of US and EU Policies,” will focus on the similarities and differences between United States and European Union energy policies, with a goal of increasing future transatlantic collaborations.

The conference, which will feature a range of speakers from universities in the United States and the European Union as well as from policy organizations, will take place March 21 and 22 at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association, 4215 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit the registration Web site to register for the conference.

The conference is being organized by Shanti Gamper-Rabindran, associate professor in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Economics. “Our hope is to contribute to the formulation of public policies that are based on solid information and solid analysis so that we can derive the economic benefits from energy resources and, at the same time, ensure the protection of human health and the environment,” she said.

The goals of the conference, she added, are to facilitate the exchange of information between researchers and policy analysts working in the United States and the European Union and to lay groundwork for future, multidisciplinary collaborations among participants. The conference format has been specifically designed to encourage the exchange of ideas, utilizing informal discussions built around presentations.

Conference speakers include representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy, Resources for the Future, and the Environmental Defense Fund. Academic speakers include faculty members from Imperial College London, University of Munich, Free University of Berlin, Duke University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Texas at Austin, and Carnegie Mellon University. Panelists from Pitt are experts in economics, engineering, public health, and policy analysis.

Among the numerous topics to be discussed are the factors that influence countries’ energy portfolios, the environmental implications of energy choices, and the roles of market incentives and public policies in spurring a transition toward a low-carbon economy in the United Kingdom and Germany. Panelists will discuss research to date and research needs in assessing the economic benefits from shale gas as well as the challenges associated with shale gas exploration, such as protecting water quality and managing regional water resources, providing information to researchers and the public in order to examine the impacts of the shale industry, and reviewing the roles of voluntary standards and regulations in the shale industry.

A full list of presenters and topics can be found at

The conference is coordinated and funded principally by Pitt’s European Union Center of Excellence and European Studies Center through a grant from the European Union. Funding was also provided by Pitt’s University Center for International Studies, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, International Business Center, Global Studies Center, Office of the Provost, and from the European Union Centers of Excellence at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Texas-Austin.

Visit the conference Web site for more information.