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Book Talk | Stephen Gross | Energy and Power: Germany in the Age of Oil, Atoms, and Climate Change

10/30 Monday | 5:30pm

Join NYU’s Center for European and Mediterranean Studies and the Institute for Public Knowledge for a book talk on Energy and Power: Germany in the Age of Oil, Atoms, and Climate Change with the author Stephen Gross, in conversation with Andrew Needham, on October 30th at 5:30 PM.

In Energy and Power, Gross explains the deeper origins of the Energiewende–Germany’s transition to green energy–and offers the first comprehensive history of German energy and climate policy from World War II to the present day. The book follows the Federal Republic as it passed through five energy transitions from the dramatic shift to oil that nearly wiped out the nation’s hard coal sector, to the oil shocks and the rise of the Green movement in the 1970s and 1980s, the co-creation of a natural gas infrastructure with Russia, and the transition to renewable power today.

He shows how debates over energy profoundly shaped the course of German history and influenced the landmark developments that define modern Europe. As Gross argues, the intense and early politicization of energy led the Federal Republic to diverge from the United States and rethink its fossil economy well before global warming became a public issue, building a green energy system in the name of many social goals. Yet Germany’s experience also illustrates the difficulty, the political battles, and the unintended consequences that surround energy transitions.

Stephen G. Gross is jointly appointed in the Department of History and the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at NYU. His research and teaching focuses on the history of 20th century Germany, European and international political economy, and energy and climate policy. His second book—Energy and Power: Germany in the Age of Oil, Atoms, and Climate Change (Oxford University Press)—traces the evolving politics and economics surrounding energy crises and energy transition in the Federal Republic of Germany after 1945. He has also co-edited a volume on the history of Energy Transitions in North America and Europe with Andrew Needham. His first book, Export Empire (Cambridge University Press) uses the concepts of soft power and informal empire to cast a new light on the international political economy that undergirded Hitler’s imperial ambitions in the 1930s. His research has been supported by grants from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, and the Institute for New Economic Thinking.

Andrew Needham is an associate professor of history at New York University, specializing in the history of the American West. He is the author of Power Lines: Phoenix and the Making of the Modern Southwest, which explores the transformation of Phoenix and the Navajo nation in the years after World War II. The book tells the story of the far-reaching environmental and social inequalities of metropolitan growth and the roots of our contemporary coal-fueled climate change crisis. It received five book prizes, including the George Perkins Marsh Prize for the best book in environmental history, the Caughey Western History Association Prize, and the David J. Weber and Bill Clements Prize for best nonfiction work on the American Southwest.

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