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Research Professor; Director, Initiative on Closing the Investment Gap in Sustainable Finance
  • Current Director, Initiative on Closing the Investment Gap in Sustainable Finance (CIG Initiative)
  • Former Managing Director and Chief Strategist, Potomac Energy Fund
  • Former Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Energy Policy and International Affairs, U.S. Department of Energy

Dr. Irving Mintzer is the director of the Initiative on Closing the Investment Gap in Sustainable Infrastructure (CIG Initiative) and a research professor at the School of Public Policy. In his current capacity, Dr. Mintzer provides intellectual leadership to the CIG Initiative, which helps guide partnerships between developing countries and financial institutions towards success. As research professor, Dr. Mintzer is working to train the next generation of leaders on climate finance and sustainable investment. 

Dr. Mintzer’s research and work centers on sustainable management of energy resources, Rare Earth Elements, climate policy, implications of climate change for national security, energy economics, and innovative approaches to financing sustainable infrastructure. Dr. Mintzer worked for five years as the managing director and chief strategist of the Potomac Energy Fund; serving on the boards of directors of the Energy Finance Company and Versify Solutions. He spent two years as a senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy, helping to develop US policy on critical materials. Dr. Mintzer co-edited,, along with Amber Leonard, Confronting Climate Change: Risks, Implications, and Responses (Oxford University Press 1992) and Negotiating Climate Change: The inside story of the Rio Convention .(Oxford University Press 1995). Dr Mintzer is the recipient of  several awards, and has given testimony on global environmental issues in the US House of Representatives, the German Bundestag, the British Parliament, and the European Parliament. He received an MBAin Applied Economics and a PhD in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. 


Areas of Interest
  • Sustainable finance; equity in international development; climate change; energy efficiency
3 Credit(s)

This course provides an interdisciplinary introduction to the science, technology, economics, and politics of energy use in human societies. After an introduction to the scientific principles of transforming energy sources into usable services, we investigate specific technologies and discuss their impact on geopolitics and the environment. In doing so we seek to address these questions, among others: What is the role of energy in national security? What is the future of oil and how do new resources and new demand centers affect energy security? What are the implications of new, long-term supplies of unconventional gas from fracking? What role can nuclear power serve for the next century? Do wind and solar power have the potential to supplant other energy sources? What will climate change policy mean for our energy mix? How might developing countries undertake a low-carbon energy transition? What is the proper balance of regulation and free market operation in energy and electricity markets? What new technologies are on the horizon, and how promising are they? Given extensive current activity on this topic, the course will retain flexibility to take advantage of relevant DC-area academic, government, or agency events, hearings, and/or conferences.
Schedule of Classes

Faculty: Irving Mintzer

The mission of The Closing the Investment Gap Initiative (CIG) is to develop a country-led, facilitated approach to close this investment gap. This approach involves the governments of developing countries working with investors and financial sector representatives to prepare key projects so that they are well aligned with the criteria of private capital.

Learn More about Initiative on Closing the Investment Gap in Sustainable Infrastructure