National Energy Conference 2018 -- Climate Issues Update

Saturday, December 1st, 2018 in Morgantown West Virginia

The Conference was a big success! Scroll down to see speaker and topic info, and click below on "Conference Recap" to go a page with links to photos, media coverage, speaker Powerpoints, videos, Conference topic background materials, and more.

This free public educational program on selected global warming and climate change issues was organized by the West Virginia University College of Law Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and the Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative, a project of the West Virginia conservation group Friends of Blackwater,  with support from the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation

Topics included climate communication, controlling methane emissions, putting a price on carbon, and solar obstacles and opportunities.

Scroll down to see short descriptions of  the speakers and a brief description of the conference topics. 

The program was held from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the West Virginia University College of Law Event Hall, Evansdale Campus, Morgantown WV. 

For more information, contact Conference Coordinator Logan Thorne, 304-657-5455 [email protected]; or Friends of Blackwater, PO Box 247, Thomas WV 26292 304-345-7663, [email protected]; or Thomas Rodd, Project Director, 304-541-4494, [email protected]   

P.S.  For more information on Friends of Blackwater's Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impacts Initiative, click here.

Conference Speakers

Emily Calandrelli poses for portraits in the studio Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 for the WVU Magazine The Last Word.

Keynote Speaker, Emily Calandrelli

Ms. Calandrelli, a Morgantown WV native who uses the professional nickname "The Space Gal,” has a B.S. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from West Virginia University, and a Masters' degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics and in Technology and Policy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

       Emily is an Emmy-nominated science TV host, featured as a correspondent on “Bill Nye Saves the World,” and an Executive Producer and host of FOX's “Xploration Outer Space,” which airs in 100 million households each week.  She is an inspiring speaker on the need for science-driven education and policy to meet the challenge of climate change.



Amy Hessl

Amy Hessl

Geographer and paleoclimatologist at WVU

Brandi Gaertner

Doctoral candidate in hydrology at WVU, faculty at Alderson Broaddus University
Ann Chester

Ann Chester

Director, West Virginia University Health Sciences and Technology Academy

Andrew Williams

Environmental Defense Fund Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs, Climate and Energy
Joshua Fershee

Joshua Fershee

Professor and Associate Dean, WVU College of Law, Center for Energy and Sustainable Development
Zachary Barkley

Zachary Barkley

Methane Researcher, Penn State University
Kenneth Davis

Kenneth Davis

Professor of Atmospheric Science, Penn State

Kurt Waltzer

Managing Director, Clean Air Task Force
Tina Cartwright

Tina Cartwright

Associate Professor at Marshall University and Science Specialist with Cabell County Schools
jim probst

Jim Probst

Small business owner, State Coordinator, Citizen's Climate Lobby

Evan Hansen

President, Downstream Strategies

Dylan Selterman

Professor of Psychology, University of Maryland
Josh Murphy

Josh Murphy

Research Assistant, Center for Climate Change Communications
Autumnheadshot JPG

Autumn Long

WV Program Director, Solar United Neighbors
Derek Johnson

Derek Johnson

Research Assistant Professor of Engineering, West Virginia University
Omar Aziz

Omar Aziz

Associate Professor of Engineering, West Virginia University
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Tom Rodd

Project Director, Allegheny Highlands Climate Change Impact Initiative

Logan Thorne

Conference Coordinator

Conference Topics

Learn more about the latest research on these topics here.

Climate Change Communication

Families and communities want to talk honestly about their climate future.  Students and teachers want to learn and teach about climate science and policy choices.    Businesses want to encourage customers to make climate-friendly choices.  Advocates want to build political support for climate solutions.  Political leaders and constituents want to communicate about climate issues. Expert presenters and group discussion will examine what we know and don’t yet know about climate communication – and how we can discover and implement the knowledge we need.

Controlling Methane Emissions

Experts agree on the importance of controlling atmospheric methane emissions from natural gas leakage.  The World Resources Institute estimates that limiting methane leakage to one percent or less of total natural gas production will ensure that natural gas is less climate-intensive than substitutes such as coal, diesel fuel, and gasoline and can provide immediate and permanent climate benefits.   Citizens, scientists, public agencies, and businesses must play an informed role in controlling natural gas emissions.  Expert presenters and group discussion will address the technical, legal, financial, regulatory, and political aspects of this important issue.


Putting a Price on Carbon

Bipartisan efforts recently enacted a substantial federal tax credit for carbon capture, utilization, and storage (“CCUS”) – creating a potentially transformative market-based financial incentive for technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Bipartisan groups are also supporting revenue-neutral carbon “fee and dividend” plans that would reduce carbon pollution and return the proceeds to citizens. Expert presenters and group discussion will address using financial incentives and market-based systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Obstacles and Opportunities for Solar Power

Incentives and opportunities are growing for commercial-scale solar energy projects on former coal mining sites in Appalachia. Jobs, environmental reclamation, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions are the benefits - but what are the obstacles, and how can they be overcome? Experts will discuss how communities, political leaders, and regulators can seize this opportunity for the long-term benefit of the region and the climate.