Newspaper Article - Harvard Crimson

Combating Climate Change with Robert Stavins

  • Devin B. Srivastava
  • Michael D. Wallace
| Apr. 18, 2019

Practically every surface in Robert N. Stavins' office, including the door, is covered with one of three keepsakes — mementos from places he has visited and conferences he has attended, pictures of his family, or magnets with schedules of the Red Sox or Harvard sports teams. Stavins is the Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program at the Kennedy School, where he studies and teaches about the impact of resource use on the environment. Today, he is considered one of the world's leading environmental economists. He has had a monumental influence on global climate policy, participating in many of the most significant discussions on climate change over the past thirty years, including the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the UN Conference of the Parties, which produced the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

Fifteen Minutes sat down with Professor Stavins to talk about cap-and-trade, the Peace Corps, and what individuals can do to combat climate change. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

FM: How did you first become interested in the field of environmental economics?

RS: I started out interested in the environment and then went to economics. Whereas I think most environmental economists were economists and then they got interested in environment. For me, it started when I was in the Peace Corps. After I graduated from college I went to Sierra Leone, in West Africa, with the Peace Corps. I was there for about four and a half years. I was working in the development of lowland rice — paddy rice growing — and that's where I experienced for the first time the tradeoff between economic development and environmental quality....

For more information on this publication: Please contact Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
For Academic Citation:

Srivastava, Devin B. and Michael D. Wallace. "Combating Climate Change with Robert Stavins." Harvard Crimson. April 18, 2019.

The Authors


Robert N. Stavins