Environment & Climate Change

192 Items

Worker holding up a piece of coal in front of a coal-fired power plant in the Netherlands

Wikimedia CC/Adrem68

News - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Nobel Prize–Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz Discusses Carbon Pricing and the Green Economy Transition in HPCA Virtual Forum

  • Doug Gavel
| Sep. 08, 2020

Nobel Prize–winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor at Columbia University, shared his thoughts on carbon pricing, the post-pandemic economic recovery, and green economy transition during a virtual forum on September 8 sponsored by the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, and hosted by Robert Stavins, A.J. Meyer Professor of Energy and Economic Development at Harvard Kennedy School.

Audio - Harvard Environmental Economics Program

Forecasting an Uncertain Future: A Conversation with Richard Schmalensee

| June 08, 2020

Richard Schmalensee, the Howard W. Johnson Professor of Management Emeritus and Dean Emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, reflected on his many years working on environmental policy in public service and academia in the newest episode of “Environmental Insights: Discussions on Policy and Practice from the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.” 

A photo of electrolysis in action. (Flickr: ca_heckler)

Flickr: ca_heckler / CC by-nc-nd 2.0


Geopolitical and Market Implications of Renewable Hydrogen: New Dependencies in a Low-Carbon Energy World

| March 2020

To accelerate the global transition to a low-carbon economy, all energy systems and sectors must be actively decarbonized. While hydrogen has been a staple in the energy and chemical industries for decades, renewable hydrogen is drawing increased attention today as a versatile and sustainable energy carrier with the potential to play an important piece in the carbon-free energy puzzle. Countries around the world are piloting new projects and policies, yet adopting hydrogen at scale will require innovating along the value chains; scaling technologies while significantly reducing costs; deploying enabling infrastructure; and defining appropriate national and international policies and market structures.

What are the general principles of how renewable hydrogen may reshape the structure of global energy markets? What are the likely geopolitical consequences such changes would cause? A deeper understanding of these nascent dynamics will allow policy makers and corporate investors to better navigate the challenges and maximize the opportunities that decarbonization will bring, without falling into the inefficient behaviors of the past.

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.

Press Release

Economists Find EPA Proposal to Undermine Protections from Power-Plant Mercury Emissions is Based on Incomplete Data and Faulty Analysis

| Dec. 04, 2019

Environmental economists from Harvard, Yale, and other leading research institutions say an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that would eventually allow more mercury pollution from power plants relies on a cost-benefit analysis that is fatally flawed. In a new report, the economists detail how the EPA’s calculations inappropriately fail to consider how reducing mercury pollution provides tens of billions of dollars in health benefits to the American people.

Professor Joseph E. Aldy served as a a co-chair and author of this December 2019 report, which was commissioned by the External Environmental Economics Advisory Committee (E-EEAC).

Headquarters offices of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


News - Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

New Essay Examines 50 Years of Environmental Protection Policy Evolution

  • Doug Gavel
| Nov. 08, 2019

In a new essay published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, HKS Professor Robert Stavins and MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Emeritus Richard Schmalensee argue that economists and policymakers alike will need to re-frame their thinking for addressing the nation’s current environmental challenges, including climate change, to overcome the tremendous political hurdles that now exist.

he Harbor Freeway, California State Route 110, in Downtown Los Angeles during afternoon rush hour.

Wikimedia CC/Coolcaesar

Journal Article - Journal of Economic Perspectives

Policy Evolution Under the Clean Air Act

| Fall 2019

The 1970 Clean Air Act established the basic architecture of the U.S. air pollution control system: It was the first environmental law to give the federal government a serious regulatory role, and it became a model for many subsequent environmental laws in the United States and abroad. In this article, the authors describe the evolution of air pollution control policy under this legislation with particular attention to the types of policy instruments used.

Report - Global Efficiency Intelligence

Deep Decarbonization Roadmap for the Cement and Concrete Industries in California

| September 2019

Cement production is one of the most energy-intensive and highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitting manufacturing processes. The goal of this study is to develop a roadmap for decarbonization of California's cement and concrete production. In this study, the authors look at the current status of cement and concrete production in California and develop scenarios up to 2040 to analyze different decarbonization levers that can help to reduce CO2 emissions of cement and concrete production in California.