EEMI Professors Conduct Seminar on the Impact of COVID-19 on Energy Economics and Sustainability

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International Association of Energy Economics
June 19, 2020
Dr. Edward Saltzberg, EEMI’s Director of Professional Education, and Dr. Gürkan Kumbaroğlu, a Fulbright Visiting Professor with the EEMI, led an online seminar on the topic of “Impact of COVID-19 on Energy Economics and Sustainability” on April 22, 2020. The event, sponsored by the International Association for Energy Economics, began with an overview of the energy industry in the U.S., explaining how the industry is impacted currently by the COVID-19 crisis. The recent drop in electricity demand and the shift in demand patterns as a result of behavioral changes that developed during the COVID-19 crisis was discussed with implied challenges and opportunities.
 
In addition, the likely effects of the corona virus outbreak in developing oil importing countries was highlighted on the basis of an economy-wide modeling approach simulating changes arising from disruptions in global and regional trade. Insight was gained from simulations for various countries to propose a menu of policies to decision makers ranging from international aid, to increased taxes, or removal of fossil-fuels to create sufficient fiscal space to fight COVID-19.
 
The panel also elaborated on the sustainability impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on the crossroads when society begins to recover from the health and economic impacts. One path is toward less environmental protection and national protectionism that will place monetary returns over impacts on Earth's regenerative capacity. The path scientists, public servants, thought leaders and the public should favor is the one toward systems thinking that values the economic services of the biosphere and economies that rebuild to embrace change in an increasingly turbulent world
 
Other speakers beyond Dr. Kumbaroglu and Saltzberg were Dr. Isabella Ruble, an economist and senior researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy, and Dr. Sebnem Sahin founder and President of the Socio-Economic Research Applications and Projects, LLC, an economic research consultancy based in Washington D.C.
Gurkan Kumbaroglu, Ph.D., is Professor of Industrial Engineering at Bogazici University, Turkey. He is currently Fulbright Visiting Professor at George Washington University, Environmental and Energy Management Institute. Dr. Kumbaroglu is President of the Turkish Association for Energy Economics and Past President of the IAEE. 
 
Panel
Webinar Panelists
Edward Saltzberg, Ph.D., is the Director of Professional Education for George Washington University's Environmental and Energy Management Institute. Ed is an environmental and energy regulatory professional with 40 years of experience serving government and commercial clients. He was a senior officer in SAIC and Battelle Memorial Institute and a partner in several mid-sized professional services firm. He founded the Security and Sustainability Forum in 2009 to convene global experts in free webinars to address the impacts to society from climate change and other disruptions to natural systems. He also designs professional education noncredit short courses for GW.
 
Isabella Ruble is a Ph.D. economist and senior researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, DC. Prior to this appointment she was an Associate Professor in Economics. She held research and teaching positions at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, Georgetown University in Washington DC and others. Her research focuses on energy economics and policy and is based on applied microeconomics. She currently works on a variety of energy related issues spanning from nuclear, crude oil, natural gas and LNG markets to energy supply security, international trade and geopolitics. Dr. Ruble's research is published in journals such as Energy Policy, Energy for Sustainable Development, Energy, The Energy Forum, The Journal for Economic Asymmetries, The Journal for Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Energy and Buildings, etc.
 
Sebnem Sahin is a development economist with more than 15 years' experience. Following her PhD at the Sorbonne University, she deepened her expertise in economic modelling during her career at international development institutions such as the UNDP, World Bank, OECD, and IFPRI. Her assignments include a variety of energy related topics such as economy-wide impacts of removal of electricity subsidies in developing countries, energy-water nexus in South Asia, economic analysis of conflict in oil exporting economies, etc. She was the Task Team Leader for the World Bank report entitled "Low Water-High Growth in South Asia" that was recognized by donors and academia globally. Dr Sahin is also the founder and president of the SERAP (Socio-Economic Research Applications and Projects) LLC, an economic research consultancy based in Washington D.C.