Climate, Complexity and the Politics of Major Regulatory Legislation

Event Status

*Note: This talk will be presented remotely via Zoom and on the Energy Institute's YouTube channel. See access details after the bio.

Bio: Dr. David Spence is Baker Botts Chair in Law at the University of Texas School of Law and Professor of Business, Government and Society at the McCombs School of Business.  His teaching and research concern regulatory law and politics, particularly the regulation of the energy industry. He is one of the founders of the web site “,” which features research addressing the difficult tradeoffs and value choices associated with the green energy transition.

Abstract: Transitioning to net zero carbon emissions by mid-century requires a policy push, which makes it a political task. That task entails some win-win opportunities, but it also entails a series of complex tradeoffs and value choices. Making those kinds of collective choices is always difficult and tends to happen only when Congress can assemble strong majorities in favor of major regulatory legislation.  However, that is difficult in an environment in which deep partisan polarization and modern media push Americans into different realities that impede the search for common ground and compromise in Congress. The best hope for legislation lies in (a) building stronger Democratic majorities in Congress over time, and (b) not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good in the meantime.

Note: This talk will be presented remotely via Zoom Webinar and on the Energy Institute's YouTube channel. If using Zoom, viewers must register for an account with Zoom and log in to Zoom using that registration in order to use the meeting link and participate. Faculty, students and staff of UT, please use your personal UT Zoom account. 

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Date and Time
Nov. 10, 2020, 5:15 to 6:15 p.m.
Online via Zoom Meeting and YouTube livestream
Event tags
UT Energy Symposium