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Energy Transitions & the First West: The Complex Histories of Appalachia’s Emerging Futures.

On May 1, 2019 LiKEN’s Executive Director, Betsy Taylor was invited to speak at the National Academy of Sciences.  The forum was organized by the Academy’s Geographical Sciences Committee, to explore the “Effects of Energy Transition on Opportunities in Rural America”.

In this thirty minute presentation she summarizes some of the legacy impacts of fossil fuel extraction in the region. At the same time, she shares the many assets of Appalachia that have the potential to improve livelihoods and provide new public revenues in a regenerative economy.  While many focus on the problems in Appalachia’s past, Dr. Taylor brings to light the potential in Appalachia’s future.

Appalachia can provide vital assets to the nation in the 21st century.


  1. Water scarcity (drought, contaminants, etc.)

  2. Extreme weather events, flooding

  3.  Greenhouse gases accumulated from 2 centuries of carbon energy systems

  4. Climate migration (non-human & human)

  5. Phasing out of long supply chains

  6. Decentralized, distributed energy systems


  1. High rainfall region

  2. Carbon sink potential

  3. Propinquity to major population centers of the east coast

  4. Climate refugia

  5. Mega-biodiversity, buffering capacity, resilience

  6. Moderate capacity for renewable energy A

Welcoming Remarks: 00:23 Julia Haggerty, Montana State University: 10:35 Betsy Taylor, LiKEN: 47:34 Dustin Mulvaney, San Jose State University: 1:31:02 Questions for the Panel: 2:17:23

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