Harvard Kennedy School

Joseph Aldy Appointed Professor of the Practice at Harvard Kennedy School

Joseph Aldy, Co-Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements from 2007–2009 and an active collaborator since, has been appointed Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS). Dean Douglas Elmendorf announced the appointment on May 9. Aldy is currently associate professor of public policy at HKS.

The goal of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, which was established in 2007, is to  identify and advance scientifically sound, economically sensible, and politically pragmatic public policy options for addressing global climate change. Drawing upon leading thinkers from around the world, the Project conducts research on policy architecture, key design elements, and institutional dimensions of international and domestic climate-change policy.


The Twenty-First Conference of the Parties (COP-21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Paris in December 2015, adopted a major new international agreement to reduce the greenhouse-gas emissions that are changing the Earth's climate. Nearly all of the 196 national governments that are members of the UNFCCC submitted plans, under the Paris Agreement, to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions — a level of participation far exceeding that of the Kyoto Protocol, which was the first major international climate-change agreement. The Paris Agreement also provides a pathway for member countries to increase the ambition of their mitigation plans over time.

The Paris Agreement will, for most important purposes, become effective in 2020. A great deal of work remains to be done before that time to define how the new regime will operate and how the Agreement will be implemented, if it is to fulfill its promise. The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is engaging leading scholars and policy practitioners to identify and assess research-based options that might prove useful as the Paris Agreement is elaborated and then implemented.

For More Information: For research results, news of events and presentations, and other information, see the the footer of this page. You may sign up for email updates on the Project's research and events by selecting "Environment & Climate Change" on the subscribe page.

Our Research

As of October 2017, the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements had released 100 Discussion Papers, three edited books (published by Cambridge University Press), and a number of policy briefs, all written by leading scholars in the fields of economics, political science, international relations, and law. These documents are available at the Project's website. Examples of topics addressed by Project authors are:

  • Options for international policy architectures and institutional venues for global climate change—including alternatives and complements to the UNFCCC (for example, separate aviation or trade agreements—and various types of climate policy clubs)
  • Methods for comparing the ambition and effectiveness of heterogeneous mitigation systems in a voluntary climate-policy regime
  • Linkage among emissions trading systems—and among heterogeneous mitigation systems
  • Interaction between international, national, and sub-national climate policy

The Harvard Project has conducted research workshops in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Venice, Italy; Berlin, Germany; and Beijing and Shanghai, China — for Project authors and other scholars studying climate-change policy. The Harvard Project has collaborated with leading research institutes focusing on environmental economics and policy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, based in Venice and Milan; the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, in Berlin; the National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation in Beijing; and Resources for the Future, in Washington, D.C.

Policy Outreach

In addition to its research workshops, the Harvard Project has conducted numerous roundtables bringing together researchers, policy makers, and stakeholders (advocates and leaders in business and non-governmental organizations), in Brussels, Washington, D.C., Canberra, Rome, London, Paris, Tokyo, Seoul, Mexico City, Beijing, and Doha. Summaries are available on the Project's website.

The Project has conducted policy-outreach meetings at the Thirteenth (Bali, Indonesia), Fourteenth (Poznan, Poland), Fifteenth (Copenhagen, Denmark), Sixteenth (Cancun, Mexico), Eighteenth (Doha, Qatar), Nineteenth (Warsaw, Poland), Twentieth (Lima, Peru), Twenty-First (Paris, France), Twenty-Second (Marrakech, Morocco), and Twenty-Third (Bonn, Germany) COPs. At the COPs — and at intermediate UNFCCC negotiating sessions — Harvard Project leaders have also held meetings with individual negotiating teams from over 50 countries. At all of these meetings, the Project receives valuable insights, suggestions, and feedback with regard to international climate-change policy.

Our Zotero library includes both publications by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and later versions of these publications published in peer-reviewed journals. Zotero is a bibliographic-management solution with both a web and plug-in interface.

A Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education program in October 2017 will convene U.S. and international policymakers and corporate leaders to address the policy solutions and implications of one of the most critical global public policy issues of our time.

The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is grateful for support from the Harvard University Climate Change Solutions Fund; the Enel Foundation; the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation — both located at the Harvard Kennedy School; the Harvard University Center for the Environment; BP; and Christopher P. Kaneb (Harvard AB 1990).

Previous sponsors of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements include: ClimateWorks Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the James M. and Cathleen D. Stone Foundation, the Qatar National Food Security Programme, and the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).

The closely affiliated, University-wide Harvard Environmental Economics Program receives additional support from the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Enel Endowment for Environmental Economics at Harvard University, Chevron Services Company, and Shell.


Duke University Energy Initiative, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, Resources for the Future

The following web sites are good sources of additional research and information on public policy for global climate change: