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MacArthur Fellow to Speak about Energy Efficiency and Economic Growth

by Sue Angell

Lead Image: David Goldstein

MARCH 3, 2003--David Goldstein, co-director of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the recent recipient of a MacArthur Fellows "Genius" Award, will speak Wednesday, March 5, at 8 p.m. in the Oberlin Science Center's Wright Lecture Hall. Goldstein's talk, "Environmental Protection as Economic Development Policy: Energy Efficiency as a Driver of Economic Growth and Innovation," is free and open to the public.

A member of the NRDC since 1976, Goldstein is no stranger to environmental regulations, and has focused his research on developing efficiency standards for a wide range of household appliances. By 1986, he had negotiated national energy standards for refrigerators, water heaters, and washing machines. Since then, NRDC studies have shown that these standards have effectively lowered Americans' utility bills, and save as much energy every year as the entire output of the United States' nuclear energy program.

Goldstein's talk will detail the history of environmental regulations in the United States. Although environmental policies are often criticized as stifling economic growth, Goldstein believes that there is another side to this story. His talk will examine how environmental policy options have triggered technological innovations that, in turn, have enhanced our nation's economic growth. He will also discuss how opposition to energy efficiency policies can be explained as resistance to change and to competition.

"Goldstein has used his physics training in a unique way, by applying it to energy policy," says John Scofield, associate professor and chair of physics and astronomy. "He has spent an entire career affecting public policy on energy conservation, which is of great interest to our environmental studies students."

Goldstein's work has not stopped with appliances. Among his other achievements, he helped develop California's building-efficiency standards, which cover everything from lighting to windows. Goldstein has also helped China and Russia build more energy efficient buildings.




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