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Environmental, Natural Resources, & Energy Law

GEI Director Melissa Powers Teaches at Kangwon National University in South Korea

September 04, 2018

GEI Director and Professor Melissa Powers spent two weeks in July teaching climate and energy law to students at Kangwon National University in South Korea. While there, she participated in a workshop on Korea’s efforts to reduce its use of coal-fired electricity. Melissa gave a presentation discussing the rapid decline of coal-fired power in the United States, explaining that a combination of legal reforms (particularly under the Obama Administration) and market changes (particularly increased natural gas development and use) led to a deep dive in coal use. Melissa also noted, however, that the United States now faces the challenge of preventing more natural gas “lock-in” through new infrastructure development and the need to quickly transition away from fossil fuels entirely. “While focusing on coal is important,” she said, “policymakers need to be careful to avoid creating new problems by switching out one fossil fuel for another.” Melissa’s research on the coal transition will be published in an upcoming law journal.