Friday, October 16, 2015

Introducing Myself: Why I'm Excited to be Working as One of GEI's New Energy Fellows

By Andrea Lang, Energy Fellow

Now that I've gotten into the swing of things at GEI, I wanted to use this week's blog post to introduce myself: I’m Andrea Lang, and I started as an Energy Fellow with Green Energy Institute in August. Since then, I’ve been working on an important project aimed at assessing Oregon’s current approach to climate policy, and recommending ways it can be improved. Through this project, I have learned that while the state has taken lots of individual and well-meaning actions to address the state’s emissions, it has yet to enact a comprehensive climate policy that ensures state agencies work together collaboratively and sets a legally enforceable emission reduction target. I am enjoying my role in identifying gaps in the existing policies, and helping to suggest what a comprehensive Oregon climate policy might look like.

After obtaining dual undergraduate degrees in Biology and Environmental Science, I applied to law school because of what I saw as a huge disconnect between what scientists say about the natural world and what the law does about it ­­­– for pollution, climate change, land management, conservation, and a multitude of other environmental topics. With this goal in mind, I tried to focus on the intersection between science, law, and policy as I completed my J.D.. In accordance with this objective, I co-authored an article with Professor Michael Blumm (Shared Sovereignty: the Role of Expert Agencies in Environmental Law, to be published by Ecology Law Quarterly in late 2015) about how federal agencies with scientific expertise help inform, and sometimes control, environmental decision making. I also worked with Columbia Riverkeeper in the summer of 2014 to analyze the extent to which science should inform the risks of oil traffic on and along the Columbia River.

Now that I am working as a Green Energy Institute Energy Fellow, I’m excited to help tackle the issue that I see as having the biggest disconnect between science and policy: climate change. I hope that in this capacity, I can continue to use my science background to bridge this gap. There is a lot of research to be done on how energy policies could be implemented at all levels of government to encourage renewable development and mitigate climate change. I look forward to learning more about these policies and advocating for effective solutions with GEI.  

When I’m not working, I can be found mushroom hunting, birdwatching, or beating everybody at nerdy European board games.

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