Institute for Historical Studies, Tuesday February 2, 2021
Dr. Sabin will discuss lessons learned from the history of energy and climate, including how our historical understanding has changed in the past decade. How fast can we transform our energy system, and what factors will determine how this change unfolds? What historical insights might inform strategies pursued by the new presidential administration, or by state and local governments? Important developments include the falling cost of solar and wind energy, the decline of coal, and bitter political and cultural conflicts over environmental regulation, land use, and transportation. The changing context created by climate-influenced fire and flooding also will be considered. Sabin will consider the competing grounds for optimism and despair in thinking about our energy and climate future.
Dr. Paul Sabin is Professor of History and American Studies at Yale University. He teaches United States environmental history, energy politics, and political, legal, and economic history. He coordinates the Yale Environmental History working group and the Yale Environmental Humanities Initiative, and helps lead Yale’s undergraduate Environmental Studies major. He is the author of The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future (2013), which draws on an iconic story about population and resources to examine the clash between environmentalists and their critics since the late 1960s. His first book, Crude Politics: The California Oil Market, 1900-1940 (2005), explores how politics and law shaped a growing dependence on petroleum in California and the nation. Dr. Sabin’s current research examines the evolution and impact of modern environmental law and regulation in the United States. He also has written on international resource frontiers, U.S. overseas expansion, and energy and legal history. Dr. Sabin received his Ph.D. in American History in 2000 from the University of California, Berkeley, and spent a postdoctoral year as Harvard-Newcomen Fellow in business history at the Harvard Business School. He also served for nine years as the founding executive director of the non-profit Environmental Leadership Program, which has trained and supported a collaborative network of nearly 1,000 talented public leaders from higher education, government, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Read more about his work at: https://history.yale.edu/people/paul-sabin.