Earlier this year, the Supreme Court issued a stay blocking the implementation of the Obama administration’s much-debated “Clean Power Plan” (CPP). Widely considered a hallmark of President Obama’s environmental legacy, the CPP was challenged by 29 states and leading business organizations who argue the risks of reducing carbon emissions – higher energy costs, slower economic growth, reduced employment, and lower business profits – are not worth the rewards. Does climate change require the actions outlined by the CPP, or is the EPA reaching too far? On Wednesday, September 7, America’s premiere debate series Intelligence Squared U.S. addresses this question with a debate on the motion “Climate Change: The EPA Has Gone Overboard.”

This debate kicks off IQ2US’s special fall season debating election-related issues to inform voters going to the ballot box and beyond. Both teams include former members of the Obama administration who assisted in crafting the Clean Power Plan. Proposers of the motion are Charles McConnell, former assistant secretary of energy, and Michael Nasi, environmental and energy lawyer. Debating against the motion are Carl Pope, a veteran leader in the environmental movement and former executive director of the Sierra Club, and Jody Freeman, the White House’s counselor for energy and climate change in 2009-10.

In recent years, IQ2US has held debates in New York City, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and more. This debate will be held at DC’s George Washington University and stream live online, then air soon after as part of the syndicated public radio show and podcast “Intelligence Squared U.S.” On September 7, online viewers can tune in here (http://bit.ly/EPAdebate ).

WHAT: Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates “Climate Change: The EPA Has Gone Overboard”

WHEN: Wed, September 7, 2016 / Debate 6:00-7:30 PM

WHERE: George Washington University / 2121 I St NW / Washington, DC

TICKETS: $30 (free for students w/ ID). To purchase, visit http://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/

Arguing for the motion:

* Charles McConnell: Executive Director, Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative

Charles D. McConnell is executive director of Rice University’s Energy and Environment Initiative, an interdisciplinary effort to partner with industry and external stakeholders to create a reliable and affordable energy platform. He joined Rice in August 2013 after serving two years as the assistant secretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to joining DOE, he served as vice president of carbon management at Battelle Energy Technology in Columbus, Ohio and had 32 years with Praxair, Inc. running global businesses. He holds a number of board positions in the energy market and has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (1977) and an MBA in finance from Cleveland State University (1984).

* Michael Nasi: Environmental and Energy Lawyer & Partner, Jackson Walker LLP

Michael Nasi is a partner with Jackson Walker LLP where he practices environmental and energy law. He secures environmental permits for and is active in state and federal policy development on behalf of the electric power generation and mining industries. He helps coordinate multi-state outreach efforts regarding EPA’s carbon dioxide regulations and has been involved in national and multi-state carbon capture technology development initiatives for the past 14 years. Nasi is counsel for rural electric cooperatives, mining companies, and other electric generation interests in ongoing EPA proceedings and appeals pending before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of the United States. He is the immediate past chairman of the State Bar of Texas Environmental and Natural Resources Law Section and an appointed member of the legislatively-created TCEQ Pollution Control Property Tax Exemption Advisory Committee.

Arguing against the motion:

* Carl Pope: Former Executive Director, Sierra Club & Principal, Inside Straight Strategies

Carl Pope, a veteran leader in the environmental movement, is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club. He’s now the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, looking for the underlying economics that link sustainability and economic development, and serves as a senior climate advisor to former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He has served on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters, Public Voice, National Clean Air Coalition, California Common Cause, Public Interest Economics Inc, and Zero Population Growth. Pope is also the author of three books: Sahib, An American Misadventure in India; Hazardous Waste in America; and co-author along with Paul Rauber of Strategic Ignorance: Why the Bush Administration Is Recklessly Destroying a Century of Environmental Progress.

* Jody Freeman: Founding Director, Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy Program

Jody Freeman is the Archibald Cox Professor of Law and the founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy Program. Her book, Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (co-edited with Michael Gerrard), was published in 2015. She served in the White House as counselor for energy and climate change in 2009-10. She has been appointed to the Administrative Conference of the United States, the government think tank for improving the administrative and regulatory process, and was elected a fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers. She also serves as an independent director of ConocoPhillips. She has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, Guardian, Politico, and Foreign Affairs.


A non-partisan, nonprofit organization, Intelligence Squared U.S. was founded in 2006 to restore civility, reasoned analysis and constructive public discourse to today’s often biased media landscape. The award-winning debate series reaches over 30 million American households through multi-platform distribution, including radio, television, live streaming, podcasts, interactive digital content, and on-demand apps on Roku and Apple TV. With over 120 debates and counting, Intelligence Squared U.S. has encouraged the public to “think twice” on a wide range of provocative topics. Author and ABC News correspondent John Donvan has moderated IQ2US since 2008. The executive producer is Dana Wolfe.

For more information on Intelligence Squared U.S., please contact Ray Padgett (raypadgett@shorefire.com) or Mark Satlof (msatlof@shorefire.com) at Shore Fire Media.

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