The Aspen Institute, Energy, and the Environment


As an aspiring Environmental Engineer, I am very interested in policy related to protecting and cleaning Mother Nature.  Naturally, I plan on discussing environmentally-related policies.  The Aspen Institute is an environmental think tank that strives to foster leadership while facilitating nonpartisan discussion on important issues.

Image courtesy of the Aspen Institute

To be more specific, I’m focusing on their Energy & Environment Program, which aims to improve energy and environmental policies.  This think tank has been holding forums on energy policy for over 30 years.  Given the turmoil over energy independence and renewable power sources, I feel like there will be a lot of policy changes in this sector soon.  The 2010 forum, “Providing Energy Services in a Changing World” gathered industry leaders and experts to discuss alternate views of the future. They also examined the impact of climate change legislation and what the future holds for current primary energy sources.

While swift and far-reaching environmental policy would be the best way to prevent future damage to the earth, lobbying and bipartisanism in the government makes this an impossibility.  Because of this, think tanks like the Aspen Institute need to look into the costs and benefits of these policies; which groups are affected by a given decision and to what extent must be examined.  The only way to get truly powerful legislation passed is to back up statements with a great deal of unbiased research.  I believe that the Aspen Institute can accomplish this.  That being said, I feel that their bias against “dirty” energy sources is obvious.  While they can try to be nonpartisan, fossil fuel barons tend to be conservative and environmentalists are usually more liberal.  A think tank based on environmentalism has to have at least some political leaning.

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2 responses to “The Aspen Institute, Energy, and the Environment

  1. I think that you make a good point as far as the fact that they have to have some political leaning in order to take a strong stance and fulfill the mission of their organization. Sometimes it is hard to separate research and beliefs, especially if those beliefs are whats fueling the research. I think you’ve chosen a really important topic for your white paper, and would be very interested to read what you come up with.

  2. I appreciate how you deal with “bias.” Or as I think of it, inherent perspective or interest. Fossil fuels may be dirtier and economically cheaper and what one does with that is a question of values, not scientific inquiry.

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