GIELR Green Technology Law & Policy Symposium

On Friday, April 13th, GIELR, the Georgetown Climate Center, and the Environmental Law Institute hosted a symposium on green technology law and policy.

Edith Brown Weiss, faculty advisor to GIELR, gave opening remarks about the importance of supporting the development of green energy technology to level the playing field with fossil fuel energy and ensure long-term sustainability.

Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center, moderated the first panel, which engaged in a lively discussion of government regulations and incentives for green technology and energy efficiency.

Jim Connaughton, Executive Vice President of Constellation Energy and former Chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, discussed the regulation of the energy market. He opined that the country is currently uniquely poised to promote greener energy, because coal and oil have become more expensive while the cost of alternatives and efficiency is falling.

Keynote speaker Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), spoke about the energy-related projects funded by OPIC. Ms. Littlefield discussed the impact that very small loans can have in the production of greener energy in less developed countries. In one such project, a small OPIC loan to Husk Power Systems helps enable the Indian company to provide electricity to 150,000 people in rural India through technology using the byproduct from rice milling.

Professor Robert Percival of the University of Maryland Carey School of Law participated in the first panel and moderated the second, which featured a discussion of the roles that patents and technology transfer play in the development of green technology around the world.

Georgetown Law alumna and SMU Dedman School of Law Professor Sarah Tran explained the patent application process and how the process could be streamlined to expedite green technology development.

Baskut Tuncak, an attorney with the Center for International Environmental Law, discussed the pitfalls of a “regrettable substitution” and challenges of technology transfer caused by the shift to use of patented methyl iodide after phase-out of methyl bromide under the Montreal Protocol.

Symposium attendees included students, faculty, government officials, and representatives from non-profits and advocacy groups.

Jack Miller, GIELR Editor-in-Chief, made closing remarks expressing thanks to the panelists and attendees for an excellent discussion, and to Amanda Blunt, GIELR Executive Editor – Symposium, for her hard work in coordinating and organizing the very successful symposium.

Photos and captions by Lissa Lynch, GIELR staff