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Solar Panels on a Border Wall: Professors Nives Dolšak and Aseem Prakash in The Regulatory Review

Submitted by Catherine G Quinn on July 13, 2017 - 4:52pm

Professors Nives Dolšak (School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, UW) and Aseem Prakash (Department of Political Science) published an opinion piece on July 11th in The Regulatory Review called “Solar Panels on a Border Wall.”

In early June, President Donald Trump proposed the idea of installing solar panels on the Mexican border wall. He said that a solar wall could “create energy and pay for itself.”

In order to access the merits of this proposal, Professors Dolšak and Prakash examine three crucial issues:

First, will the solar wall pay for itself, as President Trump has suggested? Second, to what extent will the wall help mitigate the impacts of climate change? And third, what are the tradeoffs between environmental goals and other policy issues, such as immigration policy?

In this piece, they determine that in fact, no, a solar wall will not pay for itself. They do believe there could be some environmental payoff. However, they point out that a solar wall “would impose disproportionate costs on some immigrant groups.” They finish with, “Although climate change is perhaps the most important challenge of our time, the climate account book should not get balanced on the backs of the underprivileged.”


About The Regulatory Review: Affiliated with the Penn Program on Regulation and housed at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, The Regulatory Review is the online source of regulatory news, analysis, and opinion.