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Energy Transition Expert to Speak at Webinar on Decarbonization

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Washington & Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management (CEPM) will host a free webinar on “Decarbonization: Pathways to a Sustainable Future” at 11 a.m. Sept. 22.

Dr. Varun Rai, a noted expert on energy transition and adoption of sustainable energy technologies, will be the presenter. Rai is a professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, where he directs the Energy Systems Transformation Research Group and is the director of the university’s Energy Institute.

Decarbonization of our energy sources is necessary to drastically reduce the amount of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that contributes to climate change. The Paris agreement, of which the U.S. is a member, is an international treaty with the goal of limiting global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral world by mid-century.

This will involve reducing or eliminating the use of fossil fuels, switching fuel sources, adoption of more renewable sources of energy, rapid technology improvements, and government commitment.

Dr. Rai will speak about the basics of decarbonization, the technologies to achieve an energy transition, and the policies and pathways that are available to encourage rapid adoption.

Dr. Rai is a professor in the mechanical engineering department. His interdisciplinary research –with issues at the interface of energy systems, complex systems, decision science, and public policy – focuses on studying how the interactions between the underlying social, behavioral, economic, technological, and institutional components of the energy system impact the diffusion of energy technologies. Over the last 15 years, his research has applied various analytical lenses to study technologies and policies in carbon capture and storage, fuel cells, oil and gas, hybrid vehicles, and solar photovoltaics.

He has presented at several important forums, including the U.S. Senate Briefings, Global Intelligent Utility Network Coalition, and Global Economic Symposium, and his research group’s work has been discussed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Bloomberg News, among other venues. He received his Ph.D. and MS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University.

To register for this webinar, which is open to the public, please click here.

The seminar is approved for Continuing Legal Education in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Contact the Washington County Bar Association at for information.

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