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Meeting the U.S. Energy Challenges

As U.S. energy challenges mount, the public and political debate continues to demonstrate disturbing misunderstandings of both the problems and potential solutions. The U.S. faces three distinct energy challenges: maintaining low energy costs in order to benefit the economy, controlling greenhouse gases and other environmental damage from energy use, and reducing the geopolitical consequences of dependence on crude oil. Though some policies help to address all three challenges, often tackling one of these problems exacerbates the others. Severin Borenstein will discuss the logic and fallacies behind government energy policies, from taxes (implicit or explicit) on greenhouse gas emissions, to tax incentives for domestic oil exploration, to support for energy efficiency improvements or basic energy science research. The energy challenges that the U.S. faces are serious, but by adhering to a few basic economic principles, the cost of meeting these challenges can be kept manageable.
Severin Borenstein is E.T. Grether Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at the Haas School of Business and Director of the University of California Energy Institute. He is also an affiliated professor in the Agricultural and Resource Economics department and the Energy and Resources Group at U.C. Berkeley. He received his A.B. from U.C. Berkeley in 1978 and Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1983. His research focuses on business competion, strategy, and regulation. He has published extensively on the airline, oil and gasoline, and electricity markets, as well as on insurance, e-commerce, mining, natural gas and other industries. Borenstein was a member of the Governing Board of the California Power Exchange from 1997 until 2003 and served on the California Attorney General's gasoline price taskforce in 1999-2000. During 1999-2002, he was co-director of NBER's research project on e-commerce. Most recently, his research hasfocused on the evolving airline industry, real-time retail electricity pricing, and the economics of renewable energy and climate change.