Reports & Papers

146 Items

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Rolling the Dice in the Corridors of Power: William Nordhaus's Impacts on Climate Change Policy

| July 2020

The seminal contributions of William Nordhaus to scholarship on the long-run macroeconomics of global climate change are clear. Much more challenging to identify are the impacts of Nordhaus and his research on public policy in this domain. The authors examine three conceptually distinct pathways for that influence: his personal participation in the policy world; his research’s direct contribution to the formulation and evaluation of public policy; and his research’s indirect role informing public policy

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Three Prongs for Prudent Climate Policy

| April 2020

After reviewing emission mitigation’s poor performance and low-probability of delivering on long-term climate goals, the authors evaluate a three-pronged strategy for mitigating climate change risks: adding adaptation and amelioration — through solar radiation management (SRM) — to the emission mitigation approach.  They conclude by assessing the value of an iterative act-learn-act policy framework that engages all three prongs for limiting climate-change damages.

Office workers using sticky notes on a wall

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Human-Centered Policymaking

| April 2020

Human-centered design (HCD) is a complementary discipline that has its roots in industrial design, the discipline that crafts physical products like phones, guitars, and potato peelers. It leverages the qualitative research methods honed in the social sciences—such as ethnography, contextual inquiry, and targeted observations and interviews—to better understand people and interactions. HCD also considers environments, processes, systems, and tools outside of the digital realm. Practitioners often map out customer “journeys” to understand customer experiences across an entire system or ecosystem, not merely a single interface or piece of software. As in agile software development, practitioners of human-centered design iteratively develop solutions to the challenges they uncover, and they rigorously test their solutions with real “users.”

Report - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Subnational Climate Change Policy in China

| February 2020

This volume of briefs examines subnational climate-change policy in China — including how Chinese provinces and municipalities work with the central government to implement policy. The volume focuses to a considerable degree on how China’s subnational (pilot) emissions-trading systems can inform the emerging national carbon-pricing system.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Creating Subnational Climate Institutions in China

| December 2019

This discussion paper (available in English and Chinese) describes the evolution of decentralization over the reform period that began in China in 1978, different theories of institutional change in China, and how the empirical and theoretical literatures help scholars and policymakers understand the development of institutions for governing GHG-emitting activities.

Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Carbon Taxes vs. Cap and Trade: Theory and Practice

| November 2019

How do the two major approaches to carbon pricing compare on relevant dimensions, including efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and distributional equity? This paper addresses this question by drawing on theories of policy instrument choice pertaining to the attributes — or merits — of the instruments.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Transitioning to Long-Run Effective and Efficient Climate Policies

| April 2019

This paper evaluates factors affecting the potential to transition over time to more efficient longrun climate policies, including the sequence of policies to be adopted. By considering these factors, policymakers can increase the likelihood that more efficient policies emerge from the current suite of less-efficient measures being pursued by some national and sub-national governments. The authors focus on the state of Oregon, which is currently contemplating the adoption of a greenhouse-gas cap-and-trade system.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

The Future of U.S. Carbon-Pricing Policy

| May 2019

There is widespread agreement among economists — and a diverse set of other policy analysts — that at least in the long run, an economy-wide carbon pricing system will be an essential element of any national policy that can achieve meaningful reductions of CO2 emissions cost-effectively in the United States. There is less agreement, however, among economists and others in the policy community regarding the choice of specific carbon-pricing policy instrument. 


Data, Not Documents: Modernizing the Regulatory State

| March 2019

This report starts with a brief primer about the federal regulatory process, including how regulatory agencies collect information from businesses and regulated parties. We then explore potential benefits of data collection modernization—including newer models of regulators harvesting openly published data—and highlight the importance of regulators working with regulated parties to design data collection processes that work for both government and the regulated party.

Report - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Governance of the Deployment of Solar Geoengineering

The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements has released a volume of 26 briefs that explores a range of topics related to how we might govern the deployment of solar geoengineering.