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Drexel Experts Consider the Green New Deal


Unrealistic. Not ambitious enough. Too little, too late. Worth a shot? Already the subject of a great deal of conjecture and debate, the Green New Deal, a broad set of policy goals addressing environmental justice and climate change, recently reinvigorated by House Democrats, is likely to remain a central issue as the 2020 election approaches. Drexel faculty experts, with background spanning environmental science, engineering, atmospheric chemistry, environmental justice and policy, labor and environmental economics weigh in on the origin, scope and viability of the GND’s goals and similar policy efforts.

Is the scale of the Green New Deal big enough to make a difference?

Patrick Gurian, PhD

Patrick Gurian, PhD, associate professor of environmental engineering in the College of Engineering and research affiliate in the A.J. Drexel Institute for Energy and the Environment, studies environmental health and risk associated with greenhouse gas emissions from buildings and infrastructure systems. He has helped develop a plan for Philadelphia to reduce its emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.

What are some specific policy changes that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Shannon Capps, PhD,

Shannon Capps, PhD, assistant professor of environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, leads the Drexel Atmospheric Modeling Lab in the College of Engineering. Her research models the long and short-term effects of fossil fuel and other emissions on air quality and climate.

How might Green New Deal policies intended to transition the U.S. to a “green economy” affect the workforce and organized labor?

Diane Sicotte, PhD

Diane Sicotte, PhD, associate professor and environmental sociologist in the College of Arts and Sciences, studies environmental injustice and inequality. Her current work addresses issues related to natural gas extraction, including labor union members’ preferences for natural gas or alternative energy sources; the connection between hydraulic fracturing and plastics production; and the role of natural gas infrastructures in technological lock-in that will ensure continued use of fossil fuel as an energy source.

What does social and economic justice have to do with climate change?

Franco Montalto, PhD

Franco Montalto, PhD, associate professor of environmental engineering in the College of Engineering and director of the North American hub of the Urban Climate Change Research Network. His work addresses urban climate resilience and the development of economically and socially sensible solutions to urban environmental problems.

Is the scope of the Green New Deal economically feasible? What kind of impact could a transition like this have on the economy?

Patricia Awerbuch, PhD

Patricia Awerbuch, assistant clinical professor in the School of Economics of the LeBow College of Business, focuses her research on agricultural and natural resource economics, and health economics.

How might the Green New Deal affect market forces?

Shawkat Hammoudeh, PhD

Shawkat Hammoudeh, PhD, professor of Natural Resources and Environment Economics in the School of Economics of the LeBow College of Business. His work examines the decomposition of the Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC)— which graphs the hypothesis that that there is an “inverted-U shaped” relationship between per capita income and environmental degradation since initial increases in per capita income will lead to a rise in carbon emissions during the first stage of economic development.

This is supported by the evidence that the primary aim of the related countries is to promote economic development, while the negative consequences of environmental degradation are not the priority of the policymakers at the first stage. However, as countries develop, and the accompanying per capita income reaches a threshold, carbon emissions should then start to decline as environmental pollution emissions become a priority of policymakers.

The EKC in the United States is comprised of four components: the scale effect, the technique effect, the composition effect and the trade-natural endowment effect. It also traces their impacts on energy consumption and environmental improvement/degradation.

How does the Green New Deal compare to existing environmental policy, what political hurdles does it face?

Christian Hunold, PhD

Christian Hunold, PhD, associate professor of politics in the College of Arts and Sciences, studies environmental politics and policy.


For media inquiries related to economic impact, contact Niki Gianakaris

For media inquiries related to social and environmental justice, contact Emily Storz,

For media inquires related to environmental impact, contact Britt Faulstick,

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