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Natural Resources & Energy

University Of Wyoming Professor To Study Energy Transition In France As Fulbright Scholar

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University of Wyoming College of Law
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University of Wyoming Professor Tara Righetti will head to France this summer to study how the European state transitioned its economy and culture away from fossil fuel production.

Righetti teaches oil and gas law at the University of Wyoming, while her research largely focuses on development on public lands and carbon capture.

The professor was recently named a winner of the Fulbright Award - a prestigious award in academia that enables education, research or scholarship abroad. Righetti will spend nearly a year in France, examining how that country's northernmost region, Hauts-de-France, transitioned away from its historically coal-based economy.

Righetti said she's interested in studying what tradeoffs and adjustments the region made, in order to bring some of those ideas back home.

"I chose the region because of the natural parallels to Wyoming," she said. "It provides an opportunity for a comparative study, and to learn from each other, particularly as both regions are looking forward to more concerted efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the future."

Despite the governmental and cultural differences between France and Wyoming, Righetti said Wyoming might benefit from looking at what worked, and what didn't, as France made the transition.

"They're transitioning consistent with international and national goals, but what I've been most interested in is looking at how they are adjusting their institutions, their workforce, and their economy at the regional level," she said.

Fulbright awards also seek to build relationships between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. Righetti was selected not just for her research goals, but also for her interest in learning more of the French language and culture.

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