Jennifer E. Baka

Introduction

I am an energy geographer interested in understanding the interconnected political and biophysical processes shaping and shaped by systems of energy provision. Motivated by growing up in the former coal region of northeast Pennsylvania, my main research objective is to evaluate the distribution of costs and benefits resulting from energy provision and to design strategies for reducing the all too often unequal distribution of these flows.  Long an advocate of interdisciplinary research and mixed method approaches, my research draws upon and helps to advance the fields of political ecology, resource geography, environmental governance, energy studies and industrial ecology.

Along with collaborators Dr. Joshua Newell and Joshua Cousins, I’m currently working to establish the field of political-industrial ecology, a sub-field of nature-society geography that seeks to better evaluate the social, political and ecological processes sustaining industrial society. This work is empirically motivated by nearly a decade of research examining the social and environmental impacts of biofuel promotion in India.

I am also involved with several research projects related to shale development in the US. One project examines governance decision making at the federal level, particularly regarding the Bureau of Land Management's efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing on federal and tribal lands. A second project will examine the governance processes and impacts of the proposed ethane cracker plant outside of Pittsburgh, PA.  

Research Interests

  • Energy Geography
  • political-industrial ecology
  • environmental governance
  • biofuels and hydraulic fracturing