Environment & Climate Change

2539 Items

Turbines at the wind farm at Biedesheim, Germany, June 2016. - Karsten Würth

Karsten Würth

Policy Brief - Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship and the German Council on Foreign Relations

Transatlantic Action Plan: Energy Policy and Climate Change

    Author:
  • Josef Braml
| January 2021

The Trump administration’s short-sighted geo-economic crackdown on the main international oil and gas producers—be it Saudi Arabia, Russia, or Iran—not only came at the expense of economic interests of allied countries in Europe, but also did long-term harm to the United States itself, helping its global rival China. Sooner rather than later—and a new administration offers this opportunity—U.S. policymakers will have to address businesses’ growing interests in (green) investment strategies and the rapidly intensifying geopolitical rivalry with China. Transatlantic cooperation in the development of sustainable energy sources and technologies will be instrumental. A “Transatlantic New Green Deal” would allow allies to generate much-needed new economic growth after the COVID-19-related economic contraction and improve the energy security of consumer countries, curb the effect of greenhouse gases and realign the balance of power in world energy markets.

Assorted plastic collected during a spring community cleanup at the shoreline and harborfront of Hamilton, Ontario.

Jasmin Sessler

Paper

Avoiding a Plastic Pandemic: The Future of Sustainability in a Post COVID-19 World

| January 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is upending our lives and the global economy in ways unimaginable until recently. While the overall impacts are still difficult to quantify, ramifications are sure to be felt for decades to come. Providing secure, reliable, and affordable resources for all without causing devastating environmental consequences is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. But the pandemic has significantly altered dynamics and changed priorities. How is this impacting the quest for sustainability?

In this paper we analyze these challenges by focusing on the plastic industry. There is no doubt that plastic has molded society in many ways that make our lives easier and safer, but it has also created a global environmental and sustainability crisis. In order to curb our addiction to plastic, the world had been waging a war against virgin plastic, but the pandemic has turned an enemy into a much-needed ally. How can we leverage the advantages of plastic without contributing to the world’s environmental crisis? This dilemma poses a significant challenge, but also opens an opportunity to address sustainability at a systemic level through circularity and the transition to low-carbon alternatives to petroleum-based plastics.

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Environmental Benefit-Cost Analysis: A Comparative Analysis Between the United States and the United Kingdom

| January 2021

The United States and United Kingdom have longstanding traditions in use of environmental benefit-cost analysis (E-BCA). While there are similarities between how E-BCA is utilized, there are significant differences too, many of which mirror ongoing debates and recent developments in the literature on environmental and natural resource economics. We review the use of E-BCA in both countries across three themes: (a) the role of long-term discounting; (b) the estimation and use of carbon valuation; and, (c) the estimation and use of the value of a statistical life. 

Discussion Paper - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Co-Benefits and Regulatory Impact Analysis: Theory and Evidence from Federal Air Quality Regulations

    Authors:
  • Matthew Kotchen
  • Mary Evans
  • Meredith Fowlie
  • Arik Levinson
  • Karen Palmer
| January 2021

This paper considers the treatment of co-benefits in benefit-cost analysis of federal air quality regulations. Using a comprehensive data set on all major Clean Air Act rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency over the period 1997–2019, the authors show that (1) co-benefits make up a significant share of the monetized benefits; (2) among the categories of co-benefits, those associated with reductions in fine particulate matter are the most significant; and (3) co-benefits have been pivotal to the quantified net benefit calculation in nearly half of cases.

Gina McCarthy

AP/Carolyn Kaster

News - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Revisiting the First Environmental Insights Podcast with Gina McCarthy, Newly-Appointed Climate Advisor to President-Elect Biden

    Author:
  • Casey Billings
| Jan. 06, 2021

The Inaugural episode of HEEP’s “Environmental Insights” podcast, featuring Gina McCarthy, gives a sense of what President-Elect Biden’s forthcoming climate-change-policy objectives might look like. Biden intends to appoint McCarthy as senior White House adviser on climate change, focusing on domestic policy.

Audio - Harvard Environmental Economics Program

Climate and Environmental Policy in the Biden Administration: A Conversation with Richard Revesz

| Jan. 05, 2021

Richard Revesz, the Lawrence King Professor of Law at New York University and co-founder of the Institute for Policy Integrity, shared his thoughts on how the transition to a new presidential administration later this month will impact U.S. environmental and climate change policy in the latest episode of “Environmental Insights: Discussions on Policy and Practice from the Harvard Environmental Economics Program,” a podcast produced by the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.