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Tim Profeta

Director, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

919-613-8709

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Areas of Expertise: climate and energy, offsets, carbon markets, clean air act

Tim Profeta is the director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Since 2005, the Institute has grown into a major nonpartisan player in key environmental debates, serving both the public and private sectors with sound understanding of complex environmental issues.

Profeta’s areas of expertise include climate change and energy policy, the Clean Air Act, and adaptive use of current environmental laws to address evolving environmental challenges. His work at the Institute has included numerous legislative and executive branch proposals to mitigate climate change, including providing Congressional testimony several times on his work at Duke University, developing multiple legislative proposals for cost containment and economic efficiency in greenhouse gas mitigation programs, and facilitating climate and energy policy design processes for several U.S. states.

Prior to his arrival at Duke, Profeta served as counsel for the environment to Sen. Joseph Lieberman. As Lieberman’s counsel, he was a principal architect of the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Act of 2003. He also represented Lieberman in legislative negotiations pertaining to environmental and energy issues, as well as coordinating the senator’s energy and environmental portfolio during his runs for national office. Profeta has continued to build on his Washington experience to engage in the most pertinent debates surrounding climate change and energy.

In addition to his role at the Institute, Profeta serves as Chairman of the Board for 8 Rivers Capital, is a member of the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors, and is a member of The American Law Institute. Profeta also holds an appointment as an Associate Professor of the Practice at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy.

Profeta earned a J.D., magna cum laude, and M.E.M. in Resource Ecology from Duke in 1997 and a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in 1992.

Enhancing Compliance Flexibility under the Clean Power Plan: A Common Elements Approach to Capturing Low-Cost Emissions Reductions

As states and stakeholders evaluate compliance options under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, many recognize the potential economic benefits of market-based strategies. In some states, however, market approaches trigger administrative and political hurdles. A new policy brief by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions offers a compliance pathway that allows states to realize the advantages of multistate and market-based solutions without mandating either strategy. With the common elements approach, states develop individual-state plans to achieve their unique emissions targets and give power plant owners the option to participate in cross-state emissions markets. Power plant owners can transfer low-cost emissions reductions between states whose compliance plans share common elements--credits defined the same way and mechanisms to protect against double counting. The common elements approach offers the following benefits: (1) allows cross-state credit transfers without states negotiating a formal regional trading scheme, (2) leaves compliance choices to power companies, (3) builds on existing state and federal trading programs, and (4) maintains the traditional roles of state energy and environmental regulators.

Author(s): Jonas Monast, Tim Profeta, Jeremy Tarr, and Brian Murray

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Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

State Utility Regulation

State Policy

Policy Briefs

Assessing Carbon-Pricing Policy Options in the United States

Much of the focus of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been on the pursuit of policy mechanisms that will put a price on carbon. In the United States, such mechanisms have been established in several states and were the central feature of federal legislative proposals of the last decade. With the political failure of those proposals in 2009-2010, creation of a de novo carbon-pricing regime was given little attention—until recently. Calls for fiscal reform and an evolving regulatory setting (especially use of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases) might create political appetite for a new effort to pursue a carbon-pricing policy. To inform discussion, this paper identifies and assesses options for establishing a price on carbon in the United States.

Authors: Brian Murray, Tim Profeta, and Billy Pizer

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Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

National

Working Papers

Regulating Greenhouse Gases Sector by Sector under the Clean Air Act: How Well Does the Electric-Generating Unit Experience Translate to Petroleum Refineries?

The Environmental Protection Agency is developing performance standards to limit CO2 emissions from the electric power sector, and refineries may one day face similar regulations. If so, some of the policies for regulating carbon emissions from electric-generating units might be translatable to a greenhouse gas (GHG) performance standard for refineries. However, differences between the electric power and petroleum refining industries may be substantial enough to warrant a re-examination of key regulatory decisions in the power plant rule. This policy brief identifies the key differences and highlights their possible significance for a GHG rulemaking for petroleum refineries under the Clean Air Act. A companion working paper—Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under Section 111(D) of the Clean Air Act: Implications for Petroleum Refineries—discusses the three major steps for rulemaking, policy design questions, potential responses, and their implications as well as examines options for tailoring discussions from power plant regulation, maximizing cost effectiveness, taking into account differences among refineries, and formatting regulation in a way that may best fit them.

Author(s): Kristie Beaudoin, Allison Donnelly, Sarah K. Adair, Brian Murray, William A. Pizer, Tim Profeta

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Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Policy Briefs

Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions under Section 111(D) of the Clean Air Act: Implications for Petroleum Refineries

The Environmental Protection Agency is developing performance standards to limit CO2 emissions from the electric power sector, and refineries may one day face similar regulations. This paper describes the structure of the refining industry as well as the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed authority to regulate the industry’s emissions under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. It discusses the three major steps for rulemaking, policy design questions that arise at each step, potential responses, and implications for environmental outcomes, equity, and cost effectiveness. The paper concludes by highlighting key considerations for refineries, including options for tailoring discussions from power plant regulation, maximizing cost effectiveness, taking into account differences among refineries, and—given the industry’s characteristics—formatting regulation in a way that may best fit them. A companion policy brief—Regulating Greenhouse Gases Sector by Sector under the Clean Air Act: How Well Does the Electric-Generating Unit Experience Translate to Petroleum Refineries?—highlights differences between the electric power industry and the petroleum refinery industry and highlights their significance for rulemaking for the latter.

Author(s): Allison Donnelly, Kristie Beaudoin, Sarah K. Adair, Brian Murray, William A. Pizer, Tim Profeta

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Working Papers

Michelle Bergin

Michelle Bergin

Senior Policy Associate, Climate and Energy Program

919-613-4361

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Areas of Expertise: air quality and climate, emissions, computational modeling, atmospheric policy, variability and uncertainty, energy and fuels

Michelle Bergin is a senior policy associate with the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Bergin is interested in applying engineering tools and analysis to incorporate current and emerging science and technology to support effective, efficient environmental policy decision making. Her areas of expertise include computational modeling, emissions source characterization, and control strategy analysis, including evaluation of uncertainty and variability. Her work has largely focused on the transportation and power sectors.

Bergin came to the Nicholas Institute from the Air Protection Branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, where she worked on topics related to air quality and climate change, including the atmospheric impacts of freight transport and of power generation.  While there she developed a state railroad program, which included bringing low-emission locomotives to Georgia railyards and co-chairing a 27-state effort resulting in the development of a nationwide railroad emissions inventory.  She also provided analysis for state implementation plans and for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan (section 111(d)) that requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

Bergin previously worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the Center for Transportation Technologies and Systems, addressing potential atmospheric impacts of alternative transportation fuels.

Bergin holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, and a master’s and doctorate degree in environmental engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Emerson Beyer

Associate Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations

919-613-7473

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K. Emerson Beyer serves as Associate Director for Corporate and Foundation Relations. He is responsible for helping Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions develop its strategies and capacities in partnership with donor organizations and other stakeholders. 

Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, Beyer was an institutional giving office officer at the Environmental Defense Fund. In addition to grant development and fundraising, Emerson has trained and consulted to public and private grant makers. He holds a master's degree in arts administration and policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has completed additional graduate work in psychoanalytic study of organizations.

Gordon Binder is a senior fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He also serves as a senior fellow at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Washington, DC. At WWF, Binder has worked on a variety of projects, including a communications audit and an effort to refine terms of reference for the National Council. 

Previously, Binder served as chief of staff to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator William Reilly under President George H.W. Bush, where he was responsible for a range of activities in support of the administrator. Binder continues to work closely with former EPA Administrator William Reilly. From 1996 to 2006, Binder worked for Aqua International Partners, a private equity investment fund in the water sector in developing countries organized by Reilly. From 1974 to 1989, Binder was assistant to the president at The Conservation Foundation and WWF, which he joined in 1985. Prior to this, he worked at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth, which produced the 1973 report, The Use of Land:  A Citizens' Policy Guide to Urban Growth, still considered one of the seminal reports on the subject.

He serves as a consultant to  the Aspen Institute’s Congressional Program, the National Environmental Education Foundation, Partners for Livable Communities, and the Outdoor Resources Review Group. Binder also served as an expert advisor to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Oil Spill, responsible for coordinating many facets of the final report release, and as a consultant to the American Farmland Trust's program to protect agricultural lands in rapidly growing communities.

Binder holds architecture degrees from the University of Michigan and was a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University during 1979-80. 

David Bjorkback joined Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in February 2013. He provides administrative support and assistance to the director of operations and planning. He has many years of experience providing customer service and administrative support, retail management, purchasing and staff training.

Susan Brooks

Administrative Coordinator and Financial Supervisor

919-613-7465

Susan Brooks joined Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in August 2012 as Administrative Coordinator and Financial Supervisor. She works closely with the Administrative Manager to oversee and guide the Nicholas Institute's financial and administrative operations. Since coming to Duke University in 1984, she has worked in several interdisciplinary units. She has a bachelor's degree in French from the University of Tennessee, and a master's in teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Julie DeMeester

Policy Associate, Climate and Energy Program

919-613-3647

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Areas of Expertise: climate change, environmental policy, regulation, sustainability, ecosystems, climate mitigation

Julie DeMeester is a policy associate in the Energy and Climate Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Her work focuses on how new policies can stimulate clean energy technologies.

Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute, Julie worked on international sustainability issues in Paris, France at the International Council for Science. She was an AAAS fellow two times. In the first fellowship, Julie worked in Congress as the energy and environment staffer for Senator Richard Durbin. In the second fellowship, she worked in the Office of Research and Development at the Environmental Protection Agency. Julie has a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Duke University. 

Martin Doyle

Director, Water Policy Program

919-613-8026

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Areas of Expertise: geomorphology, ecology, environmental policy, hydrology

Martin Doyle is director of the Water Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and a professor of river science and policy at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. 

His research is at the interface of science, economics and policy of river management and restoration. His background is in hydraulics and sediment transport in rivers, but he also works on river infrastructure, including decommissioning dams and levees, as well as research on financing rehabilitation of aging hydropower dams and the impacts of infrastructure on river ecosystems across the United States. He holds a Ph.D. in earth science from Purdue University, and a master's degree in engineering from the University of Mississippi. His research has resulted in several awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), a National Science Foundation Early Career Award (2005), the Nystrom Award from the Association of American Geographers (2004), the Horton Grant from the American Geophysical Union (2001), and the Chorafas Prize from the Chorafas Foundation in Switzerland (2002). For his work in bridging environmental science and policy, in 2009 was named the inaugural Frederick J. Clarke Scholar by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In 2008 Doyle was named an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow by Stanford University, and received a GlaxoSmithKline Faculty Fellowship for Public Policy from the Institute for Emerging Issues.

Reservoir Sedimentation and Storage Capacity in the United States: Management Needs for the 21st Century

The United States federal government invested significant resources to build dams in the mid-twentieth century to increase water storage capacity nationwide; while only 5% of the dams in the United States are federally owned, they account for 61% of the total national storage capacity. Society is increasingly dependent on reservoir storage capacity due to increased water demand, increased population growth on floodplains protected by flood control dams, or increased demand on hydropower as a critical part of the electricity grid. Simultaneously, reservoir sedimentation diminishes storage capacity. Thus, there is a persistent chronic loss of the very resource upon which many aspects of modern society depend. Not measuring, assessing, and managing this resource undervalues it, and also perpetuates ignorance of threats to existing beneficiaries as well as obscuring opportunities for additional benefits. In order to most efficiently use the nation’s increasingly scarce reservoir storage capacity, the authors propose three modest actions for the hydraulic engineering community in the Journal of Hydraulic Engineering: expand nationwide reservoir sedementation surveys, supplement RESSED with initial planned sedimentation rates, and share responsibility for building reservoir sedimentation knowledge. 

Author(s): Charles Podolack, Martin Doyle

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Water

National

States & Regions

Journal Articles

Why Water Markets Are Not Quick Fixes for Droughts in the Western United States

Because of the peculiar nature of water rights, we should look to market-based transactions as an economically efficient way to reallocate scarce water resources. Nevertheless, because of the need to untangle the hydrologic interconnectedness of water rights and the institutional connectedness of irrigators and delivery institutions in the West, transfers of water will always be expensive and time consuming. Whether municipalities purchase water from farmers and thus bear the transaction costs directly, or the private sector purchases agricultural water, bears the associated risk and transaction costs, and sells it on to municipalities, end users will inevitably pay higher prices for water. Droughts can focus public attention on the value of water and potentially increase willingness-to-pay prices that reflect the transaction costs of tangled western water markets.

Authors: Charles J.P. Podolak and Martin Doyle

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Water

Allocation

Western

Working Papers

Optimizing the Scale of Markets for Water Quality Trading

Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at a lower cost than requiring facilities to meet compliance costs on their own, a new Duke University led study finds. The scale and type of the trading programs, though critical, may matter less than just getting them started. The analysis in the journal Water Resources Research shows that water-quality trading of any kind can significantly lower the costs of achieving Clean Water Act goals.

Author(s): Martin Doyle, Lauren Patterson, Yanyou Chen, Kurt Schnier, and Andrew Yates

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Science

Water

Ecosystem Services

Environmental Economics

National

Journal Articles

Conditional Water Rights in the Western United States: Introducing Uncertainty to Prior Appropriation?

In the prior-appropriation water rights regimes that prevail in the arid western United States, claims to annually variable surface water flows are fulfilled on the basis of the order of their establishment. The two-step process used to establish an appropriative water right in all 17 conterminous western states creates a temporary phase, or conditional water right, that has a priority date but no actual water use. This article reviews the legal basis for these conditional water rights and demonstrates the potential uncertainty they introduce to current water users. It then presents a complete census of conditional water rights (amounts, ages, and uses) in Colorado. At the end of 2012, conditional water rights in Colorado (some over 90 years old) were equal to 61% of the perfected water rights. Many of the controversial conditional water rights in Colorado have been associated with unconventional oil production in the northwestern portion of the state; however, conditional water rights are ubiquitous across the state and across many use types. In several basins, their existence can introduce uncertainty to some of the most senior water rights holders. Nevertheless, in most of the state, the effects of conditional water rights are restricted to a relatively junior class of water users. This work quantifies for the first time the result, in one state, of a peculiar aspect of water law common across all western prior-appropriation states.

Author(s): Charles J.P. Podolak and Martin Doyle

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Water

Allocation

Western

Journal Articles

Alison Eagle

Policy Associate, Ecosystem Services Program

919-660-5761

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Areas of Expertise: ecosystem services, agriculture, water quality

Alison Eagle re-joined the Ecosystem Services Program at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in May 2014, having served as research director for the Technical Working Group on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (T-AGG) from 2009 to 2011. Her research interests include economic and policy issues related to agricultural land management, especially addressing the environmental implications of crop and livestock production. Recent research has involved the study of policy and economic instruments that can be used to increase the provision of ecosystem services such as biodiversity and water quality.

At the intersection of agronomic sciences and economics, her current work synthesizes and models the environmental impacts of improved fertilizer management for ready application in policy or private markets. Alison holds a Ph.D. from Wageningen University (Netherlands) in agricultural economics and rural policy, a master’s degree from the University of California-Davis, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alberta.

Melissa Edeburn provides editorial and design support for communications at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Before joining the Nicholas Institute in July 2013, she was a communications project manager for Thinkshift Communications, communications coordinator for LEAN Energy, and managing editor at PoliPointPress, all in the Bay Area. A writer and editor, she has worked with think tanks and other organizations to translate the findings and highlight the policy relevance of academic research to a range of audiences.

 

Stephanie Evans

Financial Analyst

919-613-8017

Stephanie Evans joined Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in April of 2007 as a Staff Accountant. Prior to joining Duke in 1999, she worked for over ten years in the accounting and financial industry.

Christopher Galik

Senior Policy Associate, Environmental Economics Program

919-681-7193

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Areas of Expertise: offsets, environmental economics, agriculture, forestry, climate policy, bioenergy, endangered species act

Christopher Galik is an senior policy associate at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He is currently working to better document issues associated with on-the-ground implementation of climate and low-carbon energy policy. He continues to partner with researchers at North Carolina State University to investigate the forest resource implications of expanded renewable energy targets. He is likewise working with faculty at Duke and other universities to highlight the impact of existing regulations and offset protocol design on forest carbon offset supply. Christopher is increasingly devoting his efforts to exploring models of Endangered Species Act implementation and stakeholder engagement.

Prior to joining Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Christopher served as a research coordinator for the Climate Change Policy Partnership (CCPP), a collaborative project intended to leverage the resources of Duke to determine practical strategies to respond to climate change. Within the Partnership, Christopher had primary oversight over biological sequestration, bioenergy, and biofuels policy analysis and applied research activities. 

Before CCPP, Christopher spent several years in Washington, D.C. as a policy analyst, specializing in species conservation and federal forest management and policy. 

 
Ph.D. Forestry and Environmental Resources. North Carolina State University. 

Master of Environmental Management; Resource Economics and Policy. Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University. 

Bachelor of Arts; cum laude, Biology. Vassar College. 

Exploring Biomass Market Participation and Decision Making

Individual biomass producers will play a large role in the emergence of robust and sustainable bioenergy markets. Despite recognition of producer differences, there are few comparative studies of what actually contributes to bioenergy market participation decisions across different producer groups. This policy brief, which draws on research descibed in Exploring the Determinants of Emerging Bioenergy Market Participation, addresses this gap and compiles lessons from the existing body of work on the factors that influence producer decision making. The literature finds that many non-production objectives, structural and social constraints, and market-related attributes can influence bioenergy market participation decisions—in particular, asset specificity, or the market or end-use flexibility of a given feedstock. A quantitative analysis highlights those independent and dependent variables most often found to be significantly associated—information that can improve representation of bioenergy market participation decision making in future modeling efforts. A social network analysis sheds light on the hypothesis that there exists in the literature a differential treatment of feedstock production decision making across feedstock categories, producer groups, and geographic regions. The finding of potential differences is confirmed through QAP regression analysis for two feedstock types (residues and commodities) and one producer type (woodland owners). If producer group- and feedstock-specific differences are indicative of fundamentally different socio-economic conditions in their respective markets, policies targeted to individual markets may be more effective than uniform national policies. Targeted policies could reflect location-specific feedstock production techniques, non-production objectives, and other attributes related to market participation decisions. Furthermore, this analysis revels that a greater number of factors are associated with dedicated feedstock production decisions than with residues or traditional commodity feedstock production decisions. It follows that policies seeking to increase production of dedicated feedstocks should consider a broader array of tools, approaches, or incentives than those seeking to increase production of residues or traditional commodities.

Author: Christopher S. Galik

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Regional Bioenergy

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National

Policy Briefs

Environmental and Economic Implications of Regional Bioenergy Policy

The unique generation, landownership, and resource attributes of the southeastern United States make the region a ripe and important test bed for implementation of novel renewable energy policy. This policy brief describes the environmental and economic implications of one policy intervention: a hypothetical region-wide renewable portfolio standard (RPS) with separate biomass targets or “carve-outs.” A study of this intervention shows that over time the dominant contributor to such an RPS would be forest biomass and that existing resource conditions would influence patterns of biomass harvesting, resulting in a spatially and temporally diverse forest carbon response. Net forest carbon storage in the Southeast would be greater with the hypothetical RPS than without it in all but the final years of the modeled time period, but when displaced fossil fuel emissions are accounted for net greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions over the period could be substantial. The methods and findings presented here are also relevant to a broader array of policies that could increase biomass demand from the region, including pellet exports from the United States to the European Union and regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Authors: Christopher Galik, Robert C. Abt, Gregory Latta, and Tibor Vegh

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Bioenergy

Regional Bioenergy

Policy Briefs

Exploring the Determinants of Emerging Bioenergy Market Participation

Individual biomass producers will play a strong role in the emergence of robust and sustainable bioenergy markets. Substantial, but fragmented research on what drives their participation exists. Through narrative review and network analysis, a new review of the bioenergy market participation literature in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews generates both an increased appreciation of how bioenergy market participation is assessed in existing research and how social network analysis may be further employed as a tool for literature review. The analysis reaches two central conclusions: 1) A variety of non-production objectives, structural and social constraints, and market-related attributes influence bioenergy market participation decisions, and 2) Assessment of these factors varies significantly across the literature for both user group and feedstock type. These findings collectively suggest that there may not be a single agreed-upon methodology for assessing bioenergy market participation. Furthermore, if the user group- and feedstock-specific differences found across the literature are indicative of fundamentally different socio-economic conditions in their respective markets, then policies specific to individual markets may be more effective in encouraging participation than uniform national policy initiatives. 

Author(s): Christopher S. Galik

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Bioenergy

Regional Bioenergy

Journal Articles

Effect of Policies on Pellet Production and Forests in the U.S. South: A Technical Document Supporting the Forest Service Update of the 2010 RPA Assessment

Current policies in the European Union (EU) requiring renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are affecting wood products manufacturing and forests in the United States. These policies have led to increased U.S. pellet production and export to the EU, which has in turn affected U.S. forests and other wood products manufacturing. At this time, the primary exporting region in the United States is the South, and the primary importing countries in the EU are the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The policies and some Member State subsidies are expected to continue in place until at least 2020, with the potential to continue beyond that date. Key drivers of U.S. pellet feedstock supply include both the age structure of current timber inventory and the policies that define sustainability. Also influencing the effect of increased demand for timber for pellets are the price-inelastic supply and demand. A simulation of the market responses to increases in both pellet and other bioenergy demand in the U.S. South suggests that prices will increase for timber as harvest increases, and will in turn lead to long-term changes in inventory and forest land area.

Authors: Karen Lee Abt, Robert C. Abt, Christopher S. Galik, and Kenneth E. Skog

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Bioenergy

Regional Bioenergy

Reports

Caroline Gorham is a staff specialist at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, where she supports Climate and Energy Program Director Jonas Monast and State Policy Program Director Amy Pickle. She is a Miami, Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. She completed her bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2008 and has since worked in public service, with a private start-up in the legal industry, and in a large corporate setting. 

Etan Gumerman

Senior Policy Associate, Environmental Economics Program

919-613-8748

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Areas of Expertise: environmental economics, climate and energy, electricity policy, systems modeling, economics, offsets, carbon markets

Etan Gumerman is a senior policy associate at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. At the Nicholas Institute, he has led several energy and climate policy research projects. His recent works includes assessing cost-effective energy efficiency potential in the South. Previously,  he led the Nicholas Institute's emissions and reduction analysis for the state of Utah, based on Utah's Blue Ribbon Advisory Council on Climate Change (BRAC) recommendations to the Governor. 

Etan’s background is in engineering and policy with considerable experience in modeling. Before joining the Nicholas Institute, he was involved with a wide range of energy and climate change policy projects. At Lawrence Berkeley National Lab he was the lead modeler and analyst for the Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future project, coordinating the efforts of scientists at five national laboratories.

He has investigated appliance standards’ effects on energy, load shapes, peak effects, and emissions. He has worked with California’s Air Resources Board evaluating the effectiveness of California’s Smog Check program.

 

M.S. in Engineering and Policy, Washington University, May 1995

B.A. in Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania, December 1991

Implications of Clean Air Act Section 111(d) Compliance for North Carolina

Since the mid-2000s, North Carolina has increased natural gas generation, reduced coal dependence, established a renewable energy and energy-efficiency portfolio standard, and taken other actions that will assist it in meeting new carbon emissions targets under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) promulgated under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 111(d). The CPP, as proposed, assigns state-specific emissions rate targets for existing fossil-fueled generators—targets adjusted for levels of renewable generation and energy efficiency measures. This analysis examines possible implications of meeting proposed CPP targets in North Carolina. To achieve those targets, North Carolina will increasingly shift from coal-fired to natural gas-fired electricity generation, incurring a modest rise in resource costs but creating a potentially significant revenue stream, which policy makers must decide how to allocate. Although the CPP will likely drive down overall emissions in North Carolina, the reductions are smaller than might be expected because North Carolina has already made headway in meeting its emissions targets and because new natural gas generation that is not covered under the 111(d) mass-based target will likely be a component of compliance. Alternative compliance measures, such as specific zero-carbon (e.g., nuclear and solar) investments and increased energy efficiency, reduce future natural gas dependence and hedge against natural gas price risk, though potentially at a cost higher than market-based compliance.

Authors: Etan Gumerman, David Hoppock, and Dennis Bartlett

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Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Reports

Customer-Side Clean Energy in the Southeast: Opportunities for Combined Heat and Power, Solar Water Heating

Previous analysis by Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrates how aggressive energy-efficiency policies in the South could reduce the need for new electric generation over the next 20 years, reduce water consumption, moderate projected electricity-rate increases, and create jobs. This new report builds on this work, and focuses on current clean energy opportunities within existing economic and policy constraints. Specifically, it explores two technologies: combined heat and power and solar water heating. Through four case studies, it highlights how Southeastern project managers have navigated a variety of economic, policy, and informational barriers to develop successful customer-owned clean energy installations, and offers some of the lessons these developers have learned along the way.

Author(s): Etan Gumerman, Amy Morsch, Sarah Plikunas, and Ken Sercy

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Climate & Energy

Southeast Climate

State Policy

Reports

Combined Heat and Power in the Southeast: Identifying Commercial and Institutional Opportunities

Combined heat and power (CHP) maximizes the usable energy from a fuel source by simultaneously generating thermal and electric outputs. CHP can achieve operating efficiencies of up to 80%, compared to the 45% efficiency typically achieved by conventional energy production. This case study examines two successful CHP applications in the Southeast: one at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and one at the R.M. Clayton Wastewater Treatment Plant in Atlanta, Georgia.

Author(s): Etan Gumerman, Amy Morsch, Sarah Plikunas, Kenneth Sercy, and Whitney Ketchum

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Climate & Energy

Southeast Climate

Case Studies

Solar Water Heating in the Southeast: Identifying Commercial and Institutional Opportunities

Solar water heating uses energy from the sun to preheat water, reducing the conventional energy needed to supply hot water by 40 to 80 percent. This reduces energy costs and provides a number of other benefits. This case study examines two successful solar water heating applications in the Southeast, at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and at the Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park.

Author(s): Etan Gumerman, Amy Morsch, Sarah Plikunas, Kenneth Sercy, and Whitney Ketchum

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Climate & Energy

Southeast Climate

Case Studies

Caitlin Hamer

Policy Associate, Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum

252-504-7631

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Areas of Expertise: fisheries management, oceans and coasts, environmental education

Based at the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort, Caitlin Hamer is a policy analyst for the Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Caitlin joined the Fisheries Forum staff in 2013, and helps oversee the growth and development of the Fisheries Forum Information Network and the online community it serves. Caitlin also provides research and event support for a broad range of Fisheries Forum projects. Prior to joining the Fisheries Forum, Caitlin worked as a biologist for the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries at the Grand Isle Fisheries Research Laboratory. She was chief scientist for the Nearshore Bottom Longline Project and assisted the Louisiana state representative on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council on state and federal management projects.

Caitlin received her bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Hampshire, and completed her master’s degree in coastal environmental management at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

 

Courtney Harrison

Policy Associate, Water Policy Program

919-613-8747

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Courtney Harrison is a Policy Associate at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Her research focuses on water and sanitation, water and agriculture, and water resource management. She has a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she concentrated on land use and environmental management, with emphasis in water studies. She also holds a bachelor's degree in peace and conflict studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

Innovating for a Sustainable and Resilient Water Future: A Report from the 2014 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum

Water crises are not the outcome of climate change, population growth, new con­taminants, or financial constraints but of the convergence of these challenges combined with the realities of undervalued water, policies that preserve the status quo, and under-financed and degraded water systems. To address the urgent need for infrastructure upgrades and resilience building in U.S. water systems as well as the need for leadership and synergistic action in the space, the Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum in May 2014 brought together water experts with diverse knowledge—from finance and policy to technology and ecosystems. This report captures ideas and sentiments expressed during the forum. The report concludes with five priorities for near-term action: (1) disseminating innovations developed by leading utilities to smaller utilities, (2) strengthening water sector leadership and innovation for climate change resilience, (3) generating awareness about the value of water, (4) facilitating data integration to improve water management, and (5) addressing federal-state-local tensions in water resource management. All these challenges represent nascent opportunities for increasing water sustainability—but they cannot be addressed by a single sector of the water industry, a single layer of government, or a single type of investor. Synergetic approaches are needed to develop truly novel solutions.

 

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The Effect of Non-Fluoride Factors on Risk of Dental Fluorosis: Evidence from Rural Populations of the Main Ethiopian Rift

Elevated levels of fluoride in drinking water is a well-recognized risk factor of dental fluorosis. In this study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, authors found flouride to be strongly associated with dental fluorosis in a sample of over 1000 individuals living in several rural communities in the Ethiopia. Age, sex, SSSF, and milk consumption were found to correlate with dental fluorosis outcomes, both as independent factors and through modification of the effects of flouride. In addition, several other elements in water were significantly associated with dental health in the study area, suggesting the possibility that dental fluorosis may be related to multiple contaminant exposures. Additional research is warranted to more effectively isolate these effects, and to understand the mechanisms by which they operate.

Author (s): Julia Kravchenko, Tewodros Rango, Igor Akushevich, Behailu Atlaw, Peter G. McCornick, R. Brittany Merola, Christopher Paul, Erika Weinthal, Courtney Harrison, Avner Vengosh, Marc Jeuland

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Journal Articles

Climate Change, Foreign Assistance, and Development: What Future for Ethiopia?

Alongside the persistent challenges of poverty and rural subsistence, many low-income countries such as Ethiopia face new problems brought by climate change and surging global economic activities. This paper by Duke University researchers examines the combined impacts of global climate change and the changing nature of donor assistance in Africa on economic development broadly and food security through the example of Ethiopia.

Author(s): Christopher Paul, Erika Weinthal, Courtney Harrison

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Environmental Economics

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A Silent Tsunami Revisited: Extending Global Access to Clean Water and Sanitation

While billions still lack safe drinking water and sanitation, access can be enhanced through improved policy and strategic outreach, according to this report by Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute. A Silent Tsunami Revisited outlines the progress made on the expansion of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services since its companion report was released in 2005. It highlights these experts' recommendations for improving the efficacy of the WASH sector and achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation.

Author(s): Harriet C. Babbit, Malcom S. Morris

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Water

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Bill Holman

Senior Fellow

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Areas of Expertise: State Policy, North Carolina, state and local governments, water, climate adaptation, green infrastructure

Bill Holman is a senior fellow at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He also serves North Carolina State Director of The Conservation Fund, a position he has held since January 2013. From 2007 through 2012, he served as director of the State Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute, where he worked on state water allocation policy, water infrastructure financing, green infrastructure, planning for and adapting to climate change, and state energy policy. 

Previously, Holman served as North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt's Secretary of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources 1999-2000 and as an Assistant Secretary 1998-1999. As a lobbyist for state and national environmental and conservation groups between 1979 and 1997, Holman is credited with helping to pass the 1997 Clean Water Responsibility Act of 1997, the Brownfields Cleanup Act of 1997, the Clean Water Management Trust Fund Act, the 1989 Watershed Protection Act, and numerous other North Carolina environmental bills. Legislators, lobbyists and news reporters ranked him as one of the top 10 most effective lobbyists in the NC General Assembly from 1985 to 1997. Holman has received many awards, including 1999 Conservationist of the Year from the NC Wildlife Federation and 1998 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Award from North Carolina State University. In 2000, Governor Hunt awarded Holman one of the state's highest civilian honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine.

Holman graduated magna cum laude from North Carolina State University in 1978 with a degree in Biology. 

David Hoppock

Senior Policy Associate, Climate and Energy Program

925-708-8577

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Areas of Expertise: electricity policy, climate and energy, natural gas, markets, energy efficiency, systems modeling

David Hoppock joined Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in June 2008. Here he specializes in energy efficiency, natural gas markets, and electricity policy. His research interests include utility market structure, commercial and residential building codes, energy efficiency policy, natural gas markets under a carbon cap, transmission and renewable energy, and reducing electricity sector emissions. 

He is currently working on environmental risk in public utility commission and utility decision making; reviewing the electricity sector provisions of proposed energy legislation, and incorporating storage into carbon capture and storage (CCS) for coal plants.

Master of Public Affairs; LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin. 2008.

Bachelor of Science; Tau Beta Phi, Civil and Environmental Engineering. The University of California at Berkeley. 1999.

Implications of Clean Air Act Section 111(d) Compliance for North Carolina

Since the mid-2000s, North Carolina has increased natural gas generation, reduced coal dependence, established a renewable energy and energy-efficiency portfolio standard, and taken other actions that will assist it in meeting new carbon emissions targets under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) promulgated under Clean Air Act (CAA) section 111(d). The CPP, as proposed, assigns state-specific emissions rate targets for existing fossil-fueled generators—targets adjusted for levels of renewable generation and energy efficiency measures. This analysis examines possible implications of meeting proposed CPP targets in North Carolina. To achieve those targets, North Carolina will increasingly shift from coal-fired to natural gas-fired electricity generation, incurring a modest rise in resource costs but creating a potentially significant revenue stream, which policy makers must decide how to allocate. Although the CPP will likely drive down overall emissions in North Carolina, the reductions are smaller than might be expected because North Carolina has already made headway in meeting its emissions targets and because new natural gas generation that is not covered under the 111(d) mass-based target will likely be a component of compliance. Alternative compliance measures, such as specific zero-carbon (e.g., nuclear and solar) investments and increased energy efficiency, reduce future natural gas dependence and hedge against natural gas price risk, though potentially at a cost higher than market-based compliance.

Authors: Etan Gumerman, David Hoppock, and Dennis Bartlett

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Apples and Oranges: Assessing the Stringency of EPA’s Clean Power Plan

An accurate assessment of the stringency of state emissions goals under EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan compares state emissions goals to adjusted state emissions rates that incorporate known and reasonably foreseeable measures that will affect CO2 emissions from existing power plants. These adjusted emissions rates may include projections of actual generation and emissions, which may differ from the building block assumptions used in EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In addition, projections in performance levels can reflect the emissions and generation impacts that compliance measures will have on the electricity system. Consideration of these impacts can lead to a more accurate comparison of a state’s projected CO2 performance level to its final emissions goal under the Clean Power Plan and result in state plans that are optimized for the degree of required emission reduction.

Authors: Jeremy M. Tarr and David Hoppock

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Designing CO2 Performance Standards for a Transitioning Electricity Sector: A Multi-Benefits Framework

A significant transition is under way within the electricity sector due to several market forces, retirement of certain plants, and regulatory pressure. There is notable overlap between available strategies for mitigating electricity sector risks and potential compliance strategies for states under the Clean Power Plan. This overlap presents regulators with an opportunity to pursue strategies that help manage the transition occurring in the electricity sector and achieve greenhouse gas reductions required under the Clean Power Plan, particularly in the areas of end-use energy efficiency and additional renewable power generation.

Authors: Jonas Monast and David Hoppock

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New Source Review and Coal Plant Efficiency Gains: How New and Forthcoming Air Regulations Affect Outcomes

Forthcoming carbon dioxide regulations for existing power plants in the United States have heightened interest in thermal efficiency gains for coal-fired power plants. Plant modifications to improve thermal efficiency can trigger New Source Review (NSR), a Clean Air Act requirement to adopt state-of-the-art pollution controls. This article in the journal Energy Policy explores whether existing coal plants would likely face additional pollution control requirements if they undertake modifications that trigger NSR. Despite emissions controls that are or will be installed under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards and Clean Air Interstate Rule or its replacement, 80% of coal units (76% of capacity) that are expected to remain in operation are not projected to meet the minimum NSR requirements for at least one pollutant: nitrogen oxides or sulfur dioxide. This is an important consideration for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state policymakers as they determine the extent to which carbon dioxide regulation will rely on unit-by-unit thermal efficiency gains versus potential flexible compliance strategies such as averaging, trading, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. NSR would likely delay and add cost to thermal efficiency projects at a majority of coal units, including projects undertaken to comply with forthcoming carbon dioxide regulation.

Author(s): Sarah Adair, David Hoppock, and Jonas Monast

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Christy Ihlo

Policy Assistant, Ecosystem Services Program

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Areas of Expertise: GIS, endangered species act, ecosystem services

Christy Ihlo graduated with a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in May 2013 and immediately joined the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute. Her interest lies in applying geospatial analysis techniques to guide conservation planning. At the Nicholas Institute, she focuses on spatial and statistical analyses for ecosystem level projects.

Kay Jowers

Senior Policy Associate, State Policy Program

919-660-0115

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Areas of Expertise: state policy, environmental inequality, environmental health, water quality, water resources, endangered species

Kay Jowers is a senior policy associate at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Her work focuses on analyzing state regulatory and policy approaches to addressing environmental issues.

Before joining the Nicholas Institute, Kay worked as an environmental attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center and the University of Denver’s Environmental Law Clinic. She is pursuing her doctorate in political and environmental sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a J.D. with a concentration in environmental law from Tulane University Law School, a master's degree in environmental health sciences from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a bachelor's degree in anthropology from the University of South Carolina.

The Most Important Current Research Questions in Urban Ecosystem Services

The urbanized world depends on ecosystem services--both inside and outside of city boundaries. Although investing in their provision will often be more cost-effective than response actions, such as treatment, restoration, and disaster response, ecosystem services do not play a prominent role in the formulation of urban policies, plans, and laws. In fact, many cities are experiencing declines of the ecosystems that sustain them. Halting and reversing these declines requires identification of pressing research needs in the area of urban ecosystem services. This article brings together the collective insights of lawyers, urban planners, ecologists, and economists on the most important research questions that should shape the future of scholarship in this area.

Author(s): James Salzman, Craig Anthony (Tony) Arnold, Robert Garcia, Keith H. Hirokawa, Kay Jowers, Jeffrey LeJava, and Lydia P. Olander

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Katie Latanich

Co-Director, Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum

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Areas of Expertise: fisheries management

Katie Latanich is co-director of the Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. She has worked with the Fisheries Forum staff since 2009, and coordinates the development of the semi-annual East Coast Forum and regional workshops and other projects in support of the federal fisheries management process.

Katie’s recent work has focused on recreational management objectives, climate change and governance, and the integration of habitat considerations into council decision-making. She also contributed to the development of the 2013 Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries three conference sessions on ecosystem-based management. Prior to joining the Fisheries Forum, Katie worked with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries as a port sampler. Katie earned her bachelor's degree in environmental science and policy and political science from Duke University, and a master’s degree in coastal environmental policy from Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

East Coast Forum Summary: Habitat Considerations

Fisheries Leadership & Sustainability Forum staff published a final summary of discussions from the East Coast Fisheries Forum, June 26-29 in Annapolis, Maryland. This meeting convened federal fishery managers, scientists and National Marine Fisheries Service leadership to explore habitat conservation as a strategy for supporting sustainable fisheries.

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Katie Locklier

Policy Assistant, Ecosystem Services Program

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Areas of Expertise: water science, GIS, ecosystem services

Katie Locklier joined the Ecosystem Services Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions after graduating from the Nicholas School for the Environment with a Master's degree in Environment Management in May 2014. Her interests revolve around utilizing relevant scientific knowledge to guide environmental policy decisions. Currently, her work at the Nicholas Institute focuses on supporting a variety of ecosystem services projects on the national level. 

Sheri Matthews

Administrative and Business Manager

919-613-8737

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Sheri Matthews serves as the administrative and business manager for the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. She is responsible for the oversight of administrative and financial management as well as grant administration of the Institute.Sheri holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master of business administration.

Peter McCornick

Senior Fellow

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Areas of Expertise: international water policy, water resources, climate adaptation

Peter McCornick is a senior fellow with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions water program. In this capacity he focuses on critical water resources management issues, with on-going activities in North East Africa, South East Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the United States. He has approximately three decades of experience in addressing the challenges in the water resources, agriculture and environment sectors, that has included research, policy development, planning, implementation, teaching and capacity building. He has worked extensively in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and North America, including long-term assignments in Ethiopia, Eritrea, India, Indonesia (Timor and Java), Jordan and Sri Lanka.  Much of this has been in a senior leadership role, working with decision makers in international, national and sub-national institutions in the public and private sector. 

He is currently Director for Asia for the International Water Management Institute. 

He has a Ph.D. and master's degree in water resources and irrigation engineering from Colorado State University, and a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in the U.K.  He is a registered Civil Engineer in Colorado, and a member of the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers (AAWRE).  He has published widely on critical water issues. 

The Effect of Non-Fluoride Factors on Risk of Dental Fluorosis: Evidence from Rural Populations of the Main Ethiopian Rift

Elevated levels of fluoride in drinking water is a well-recognized risk factor of dental fluorosis. In this study, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, authors found flouride to be strongly associated with dental fluorosis in a sample of over 1000 individuals living in several rural communities in the Ethiopia. Age, sex, SSSF, and milk consumption were found to correlate with dental fluorosis outcomes, both as independent factors and through modification of the effects of flouride. In addition, several other elements in water were significantly associated with dental health in the study area, suggesting the possibility that dental fluorosis may be related to multiple contaminant exposures. Additional research is warranted to more effectively isolate these effects, and to understand the mechanisms by which they operate.

Author (s): Julia Kravchenko, Tewodros Rango, Igor Akushevich, Behailu Atlaw, Peter G. McCornick, R. Brittany Merola, Christopher Paul, Erika Weinthal, Courtney Harrison, Avner Vengosh, Marc Jeuland

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Groundwater Quality and Its Health Impact: An Assessment of Dental Fluorosis in Rural Inhabitants of the Main Ethiopian Rift

Increased intake of dietary calcium may be key to addressing widespread dental health problems faced by millions of rural residents in Ethiopia’s remote, poverty-stricken Main Rift Valley, according to a new Duke University-led study published in the journal Environment International. As many as 8 million people living in the valley are estimated to be at risk of dental and skeletal fluorosis as a result of their long-term exposure to high levels of naturally occurring fluoride in the region’s groundwater. Most efforts to combat fluorosis in the region have focused primarily on treating drinking water to reduce its fluoride content. Increasing the amount of calcium in villagers’ diets, or finding alternative sources of drinking water may be necessary in addition to these fluoride-reducing treatments, the study found. Support came from the Duke Global Health Institute and Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Author(s): Tewodros Rango, Julia Kravchenko, Behailu Atlaw, Peter G. McCornick, Marc Jeuland, Brittany Merola, Avner Vengosh

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Freshwater, Climate Change and Adaptation in the Ganges River Basin

Climate change is one of the drivers of change in the Ganges river basin, together with population growth, economic development and water management practices. These changing circumstances have a significant impact on key social and economic sectors of the basin, largely through changes in water quantity, quality and timing of availability. This paper evaluates the impact of water on changing circumstances in three sectors of the Ganges basin: agriculture, ecosystems and energy. Given the inherent interconnectedness of these core sectors and the cross-cutting impact of changing circumstances on water resources, we argue that adaptation should not be viewed as a separate initiative, but rather as a goal and perspective incorporated into every level of planning and decision making. Adaptation to changing circumstances will need to be closely linked to water resource management and will require significant collaboration across the sectors.

Author(s): Heather R. Hosterman, Peter G. McCornick, Elizabeth J. Kistin, Bharat Sharma, and Luna Bharati

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Water

Adaptation

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A Silent Tsunami Revisited: Extending Global Access to Clean Water and Sanitation

While billions still lack safe drinking water and sanitation, access can be enhanced through improved policy and strategic outreach, according to this report by Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Aspen Institute. A Silent Tsunami Revisited outlines the progress made on the expansion of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services since its companion report was released in 2005. It highlights these experts' recommendations for improving the efficacy of the WASH sector and achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation.

Author(s): Harriet C. Babbit, Malcom S. Morris

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Erin McKenzie

Public Relations Specialist

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Erin McKenzie is the public relations specialist for Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Here she manages communication activities and branding across the Nicholas Institute’s six program areas: ocean and coastal policy, climate and energy, water policy, environmental economics, state policy and ecosystem services. This work includes overseeing the Nicholas Institute’s website and social media, print communications and media relations.

Before joining the Nicholas Institute in August 2010, Erin worked in the Communications Office at the University of Houston's Cullen College of Engineering as editor of their research and alumni magazines and prior as a journalist with Cox Enterprises. 

 

Jonas Monast

Director, Climate and Energy Program

919-681-7188

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Areas of Expertise: climate change, carbon markets, offsets, air quality, public utility commissions

Jonas Monast directs the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Jonas’s work focuses on the interaction of state and federal energy policies, regulatory options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the intersection of financial markets and climate policy. He directed Duke University’s Climate Change Policy Partnership from 2007-2010 and coordinated the Nicholas Institute’s Carbon Market Initiative.

Jonas also teaches courses on the intersection of energy and environmental issues at Duke University’s School of Law and Nicholas School of the Environment.Prior to joining Duke, Jonas worked as an attorney in the Corporate Social Responsibility Practice at Foley Hoag LLP, where he advised clients on emerging legal and reputational risks regarding human rights and the environment. Jonas also served as a congressional fellow for the late Senator Paul Wellstone and as legislative counsel for the Center for Responsible Lending. He earned his law degree from Georgetown University and his B.A. from Appalachian State University.

Enhancing Compliance Flexibility under the Clean Power Plan: A Common Elements Approach to Capturing Low-Cost Emissions Reductions

As states and stakeholders evaluate compliance options under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, many recognize the potential economic benefits of market-based strategies. In some states, however, market approaches trigger administrative and political hurdles. A new policy brief by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions offers a compliance pathway that allows states to realize the advantages of multistate and market-based solutions without mandating either strategy. With the common elements approach, states develop individual-state plans to achieve their unique emissions targets and give power plant owners the option to participate in cross-state emissions markets. Power plant owners can transfer low-cost emissions reductions between states whose compliance plans share common elements--credits defined the same way and mechanisms to protect against double counting. The common elements approach offers the following benefits: (1) allows cross-state credit transfers without states negotiating a formal regional trading scheme, (2) leaves compliance choices to power companies, (3) builds on existing state and federal trading programs, and (4) maintains the traditional roles of state energy and environmental regulators.

Author(s): Jonas Monast, Tim Profeta, Jeremy Tarr, and Brian Murray

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Designing CO2 Performance Standards for a Transitioning Electricity Sector: A Multi-Benefits Framework

A significant transition is under way within the electricity sector due to several market forces, retirement of certain plants, and regulatory pressure. There is notable overlap between available strategies for mitigating electricity sector risks and potential compliance strategies for states under the Clean Power Plan. This overlap presents regulators with an opportunity to pursue strategies that help manage the transition occurring in the electricity sector and achieve greenhouse gas reductions required under the Clean Power Plan, particularly in the areas of end-use energy efficiency and additional renewable power generation.

Authors: Jonas Monast and David Hoppock

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Completing the Energy Innovation Cycle: The View from the Public Utility Commission

Achieving a widespread adoption of innovative electricity generation technologies involves a complex system of research, development, demonstration, and deployment, with each phase then informing future developments. Despite a number of non-regulatory programs at the federal level to support this process, the innovation premium—the increased cost and technology risk often associated with innovative generation technologies—creates hurdles in the state public utility commission (PUC) process. This article in the Hastings Law Journal examines how and why innovative energy technologies face challenges in the PUC process, focusing on case studies where PUCs have approved or denied utility proposals to deploy high cost, first-generation energy technologies. It concludes with an outline of possible strategies to address PUC concerns by allocating the innovation premium beyond a single utility's ratepayers.

Author(s): Jonas Monast and Sarah Adair 

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Beyond Carbon Dioxide: Capturing Air Quality Benefits with State 111(d) Plans

With finalization of the EPA’s section 111(d) guidelines, states will make decisions about how to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. These decisions could fundamentally affect the U.S. power sector and will be made in an environment of uncertainty about the timing, stringency, and compliance costs of future air quality regulations. In light of this uncertainty, states may wish to look beyond carbon dioxide when developing section 111(d) plans. The Clean Air Act allows them the flexibility to reduce carbon emissions in a way that hedges the risk of anticipated air regulations and that potentially lowers long-term compliance costs. This paper discusses these benefits, summarizes air quality regulations that could affect the power sector in the future, and describes how states can use the flexibility afforded them by section 111(d) to manage this regulatory risk. In addition, it identifies elements of state 111(d) plans that may lead to reductions in criteria pollutants.

Author(s): Jeremy Tarr and Jonas Monast

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Brian Murray

Director, Environmental Economics Program

919-613-8725

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Areas of Expertise: environmental economics, market-based policy, carbon markets, climate change, bioenergy, economic modeling, agriculture, REDD

Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is widely recognized for his work on the economics of climate change policy. This includes the design of cap-and-trade policy elements to address cost containment and inclusion of offsets from traditionally uncapped sectors such as agriculture and forestry. Murray is among the original designers of the allowance price reserve approach for containing prices in carbon markets that was adopted by California and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cap-and-trade programs. Throughout his 21-year research career, he has produced many peer-reviewed publications on topics ranging from the design of market-based environmental policies and the effectiveness of renewable energy subsidies to the evaluation of programs to protect natural habitats such as forests, coastal and marine ecosystems. 

He holds both a doctoral and master's degree in resource economics and policy from Duke University and a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from the University of Delaware. 
 

Regulating existing power plants under the U.S. Clean Air Act: Present and Future Consequences of Key Design Choices

In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants, triggering considerable debate on the proposal’s design and its environmental and economic consequences. One question not addressed by this debate is this: What if the EPA regulations turn out to be inadequate to address future mitigation goals? That is, what will the landscape for future policies look like if these regulations turn out to be just an interim measure? This analysis in the journal Energy Policy compares potential short- and long-term consequences of several key regulatory design choices, including mass-based versus rate-based standards, tradable versus non-tradable standards, and differentiated versus single standards. It finds that long-term consequences may be significant in terms of the legacy they leave for future policy revisions: tradable standards lead to lower electricity prices and become weaker over time; differentiated tradable standards lead to relatively greater investment in coal retrofits; non-tradable standards lead to relatively greater retirement of coal capacity. It may be the case that key policy choices entail one set of tradeoffs if proposed EPA rules are viewed as relatively permanent and final and another set of tradeoffs if the rules are viewed as an interim solution.

Author(s): Brian Murray, William Pizer, Martin Ross

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Incentivizing the Reduction of Pollution at Dairies: How to Address Additionality When Multiple Environmental Credit Payments Are Combined

Anaerobic digesters (ADs) can reduce waste volumes and capture methane emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), but their adoption rate is low because their cost is high relative to other forms of waste management. Farmers who use ADs can attempt to sell carbon credits and nutrient credits as well as renewable electricity certificates (RECs) generated by on-site electricity production from captured methane. These credits and RECs can be used as marketable “offsets” that buyers can use to help meet their greenhouse gas and nutrient pollution reduction goals. One issue that arises is whether a single operation can sell into multiple credit markets by “stacking” credits—that is, receiving multiple environmental payments to finance the conversion to AD technology. This practices introduces the possibility that some credits might be “non-additional”—i.e., produce no incremental pollution reductions and thus be suspect pollution offsets. Non-additionality in environmental credit stacking occurs when multiple payment streams do not produce incremental pollution reductions, thus allowing the credit buyer to pollute more than is being offset by the AD project. A possible solution to the stacking problem may be to allow stacking of all credits available at the time of AD installation, but to prohibit any further stacking if new credit streams become available after installation.

Authors: Brian C. Murray and Tibor Vegh

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Environmental Markets

Policy and Design

Agriculture

Land

Environmental Economics

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Enhancing Compliance Flexibility under the Clean Power Plan: A Common Elements Approach to Capturing Low-Cost Emissions Reductions

As states and stakeholders evaluate compliance options under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, many recognize the potential economic benefits of market-based strategies. In some states, however, market approaches trigger administrative and political hurdles. A new policy brief by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions offers a compliance pathway that allows states to realize the advantages of multistate and market-based solutions without mandating either strategy. With the common elements approach, states develop individual-state plans to achieve their unique emissions targets and give power plant owners the option to participate in cross-state emissions markets. Power plant owners can transfer low-cost emissions reductions between states whose compliance plans share common elements--credits defined the same way and mechanisms to protect against double counting. The common elements approach offers the following benefits: (1) allows cross-state credit transfers without states negotiating a formal regional trading scheme, (2) leaves compliance choices to power companies, (3) builds on existing state and federal trading programs, and (4) maintains the traditional roles of state energy and environmental regulators.

Author(s): Jonas Monast, Tim Profeta, Jeremy Tarr, and Brian Murray

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Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

State Utility Regulation

State Policy

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Assessing Carbon-Pricing Policy Options in the United States

Much of the focus of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been on the pursuit of policy mechanisms that will put a price on carbon. In the United States, such mechanisms have been established in several states and were the central feature of federal legislative proposals of the last decade. With the political failure of those proposals in 2009-2010, creation of a de novo carbon-pricing regime was given little attention—until recently. Calls for fiscal reform and an evolving regulatory setting (especially use of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases) might create political appetite for a new effort to pursue a carbon-pricing policy. To inform discussion, this paper identifies and assesses options for establishing a price on carbon in the United States.

Authors: Brian Murray, Tim Profeta, and Billy Pizer

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Lydia Olander

Director, Ecosystem Services Program

919-613-8713

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Areas of Expertise: offsets, climate mitigation, agriculture, REDD, climate policy, ecosystem services, endangered species act

Lydia Olander directs the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Ecosystem Services Program. She has worked on a range of issues for the Nicholas Institute. Currently she is developing the Nicholas Institute’s as well as Duke’s expanding initiative on ecosystem services; coordinating Duke’s Ecosystem Services Working Group; leading the National Ecosystem Services Partnership which is coordinating the Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Project. 

She also continues work on environmental markets and mitigation, including forestry and agricultural based climate mitigation, water quality trading, wetland, stream and endangered species mitigation and management, and, is now exploring applications in urban sustainability. Lydia is also an adjunct professor in the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Ph.D., Biogeochemistry, Stanford University, 2002 
MFS, Masters of Forest Science, Yale University, 1995 
BA, Environmental Science and Policy (College Scholar Program), Cornell University, 1992

Get the Science Right When Paying for Nature's Services

Payments for Ecosystem Services mechanisms leverage economic and social incentives to shape how people influence natural processes and achieve conservation and sustainability goals. Beneficiaries of nature's goods and services pay owners or stewards of ecosystems that produce those services, with payments contingent on service provision. Integrating scientific knowledge and methods into Payments for Ecosystem Services is critical. Yet many projects are based on weak scientific foundations, and effectiveness is rarely evaluated with the rigor necessary for scaling up and understanding the importance of these approaches as policy instruments and conservation tools. Part of the problem is the lack of simple, yet rigorous, scientific principles and guidelines to accommodate Payments for Ecosystem Services design and guide research and analyses that foster evaluations of effectiveness. The Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander, along with other scientists and practitioners from government, nongovernment, academic, and finance institutions, propose a set of such guidelines and principles in a new Science article.

Author(s): S. Naeem, J. C. IngramA. VargaT. AgardyP. BartenG. BennettE. BloomgardenL. L. BremerP. BurkillM. CattauC. ChingM. ColbyD. C. CookR. CostanzaF. DeClerckC. FreundT. GartnerR. Goldman-BennerJ. GundersonD. JarrettA. P. KinzigA. KissA. KoontzP. KumarJ. R. LaskyM. MasozeraD. MeyersF. MilanoL. Naughton-TrevesE. NicholsL. OlanderP. OlmstedE. PergeC. PerringsS. PolaskyJ. PotentC. PragerF. QuétierK. RedfordK. SatersonG. ThoumiM. T. VargasS. VickermanW. WeisserD. WilkieS. Wunder

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Ecosystem Services

Environmental Economics

National

Journal Articles

Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook

Many of the benefits nature provides to people are poorly accounted for in management decisions because resource managers haven’t had access to materials and tools that support this undertaking. This online-only guidebook developed by the National Ecosystem Services Partnership, federal agencies, and other partners addresses this need. It allows resource managers to better communicate with people about the positive and negative effects of natural resource management decisions. It also helps them explicitly consider how to balance outcomes that matter to people and to avoid unintended consequences.

Editor: Lydia Olander

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Ecosystem Services

Reports

Mainstreaming Ecosystem Services into Decision Making

In a guest editorial for the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Ecosystem Services Program director Lydia Olander and her coauthor identify several efforts to bring consistency to methods for incorporating ecosystem services concepts into environmental decision making, including the National Ecosystem Services Partnership’s Federal Resource Management and Ecosystem Services Guidebook.

Author(s): Lydia Olander and Lorraine Maltby

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Ecosystem Services

Journal Articles

Working Together: A call for Inclusive Conservation

An age-old conflict around a seemingly simple question has resurfaced: why do we conserve nature? Contention around this issue has come and gone many times, but in the past several years we believe that it has reappeared as an increasingly acrimonious debate between, in essence, those who argue that nature should be protected for its own sake and those who argue that we must also save nature to help ourselves. Heather Tallis, Jane Lubchenco and 238 co-signatories (including the Nicholas Institute's Lydia Olander) petition for an end to the infighting that is stalling progress in protecting the planet.

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Ecosystem Services

National

Journal Articles

Lauren Patterson

Policy Associate, Water Policy Program

919-613-3653

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Areas of Expertise: climate and streamflow, ecological flows, hydrologic extremes

Lauren Patterson joined the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions as a policy associate in October 2013. Her research focuses on changes in average streamflow, floods, and droughts due to climate and human impacts. She has also worked on water utility financing, water transfers between utilities, and drought probabilities. Lauren has an affinity for data analysis and visualization.

Before joining the Nicholas Institute, she contracted at RTI International to provide geospatial and data analysis support in the development of ecological flow recommendations for North Carolina's Ecological Flow Advisory Board. Prior to her time at RTI, she worked at the Environmental Finance Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, serving as a GIS and Financial Analyst focused on modeling future potential water transfers in North Carolina and developing sustainable finance strategies for the Upper Neuse watershed. She has a Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Optimizing the Scale of Markets for Water Quality Trading

Allowing polluters to buy, sell or trade water-quality credits could significantly reduce pollution in river basins and estuaries faster and at a lower cost than requiring facilities to meet compliance costs on their own, a new Duke University led study finds. The scale and type of the trading programs, though critical, may matter less than just getting them started. The analysis in the journal Water Resources Research shows that water-quality trading of any kind can significantly lower the costs of achieving Clean Water Act goals.

Author(s): Martin Doyle, Lauren Patterson, Yanyou Chen, Kurt Schnier, and Andrew Yates

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Science

Water

Ecosystem Services

Environmental Economics

National

Journal Articles

Climate and Direct Human Contributions to Changes in Mean Annual Streamflow in the South Atlantic, USA

Streamflow responds to changing climate patterns as well as human modifications within a basin. Understanding the contribution of these different drivers to changes in streamflow provides important information regarding how to effectively and efficiently address and anticipate changes in water availability. In this study, published in the journal Water Resources Research, authors used Budyko curves to ascribe changes in streamflow due to climate and human factors between two time periods in both natural and human-modified basins in the South Atlantic. They found climate contributed to increased streamflow (average of 14%) in the South Atlantic since the 1970s. Human factors varied between basins and either amplified or minimized the effect of climate on streamflow. Human impacts were equivalent to, or greater than, climate impacts in 27% of our basins. 

Author (s): Lauren Patterson, Brian Lutz, Martin Doyle

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Climate & Energy

Science

Water

Natural Resources

States & Regions

State Policy

Journal Articles

Characterization of Drought in the South Atlantic, United States

In this Journal of the American Water Resources Association article, authors aim to characterize drought in the South Atlantic and to understand whether drought has become more severe in this region over time using monthly streamflow to characterize hydrological drought. Significant changes in drought characteristics were tested with Mann-Kendall over three periods: 1930-2010, 1930-1969, and 1970-2010. Authors show that 71% of drought events were shorter than six months, while 7% were multiyear events. There was little evidence of trends in drought characteristics to support the claim of drought becoming more severe in the South Atlantic over the 20th Century. The one exception was a significant increase in the joint probability of nearby basins being simultaneously in drought conditions in the southern portion of the study area from 1970 to 2010. While drought characteristics have changed little through time, decreasing average streamflow in non drought periods, coupled with increasing water demand, provide the context within which recent multiyear drought events have produced significant stress on existing water infrastructure.

Author(s): Lauren Patterson, Brian Lutz, and Martin Doyle

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Climate & Energy

Science

Water

Quality

Natural Resources

National

Journal Articles

Linwood Pendleton

Senior Scholar, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program

805-794-8206

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Areas of Expertise: ocean and coastal policy, environmental economics, ecosystem services, climate adaption

Linwood Pendleton is a senior scholar in the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Pendleton’s work focuses on policies that affect human uses and enjoyment of ocean and coastal resources – both living and non-living. He is the director of the Marine Ecosystem Services Partnership, author of many scholarly articles, and coordinates the Marine Secretariat of the international Ecosystem Services Partnership. Pendleton’s current projects include understanding the economic and human impacts of ocean acidification (funded by SESYNC), Mapping Ocean Wealth (with the Nature Conservancy), the economics of coastal blue carbon (Global Environmental Facility), and efforts to better manage the deep sea. Pendleton served as acting chief economist at NOAA from January 2011 through August 2013.

He holds a doctoral degree in resource and environmental economics from Yale University; a master's degree in public administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School; a master's degree in ecology, evolution, and behavior from Princeton; and a bachelor's degree in biology from the College of William and Mary.

Signed Peer Reviews as a Means to Improve Scholarly Publishing

In a new article in the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solution's Linwood Pendleton discusses peer review. Pendleton notes that peer review is necessary process with a long history of complaints, including over-solicitation of a small number of reviewers, delays, inadequate numbers of reviewers, and a lack of incentives to provide strong reviews or avoid reviews with little helpful information for the author. In the era of web-based distribution of research, through working paper or project reports, anonymous peer reviews are much less likely. The Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics will use signed peer reviews and an open communication process among authors, reviewers, and editors. This approach, to be developed over time, should lead to stronger communication of research results for the journal's readers.

Author(s): Linwood Pendleton 

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Oceans & Coasts

Environmental Economics

Journal Articles

Vulnerability and Adaptation of U.S. Shellfisheries to Ocean Acidification

Ocean acidification is a global, long-term problem whose ultimate solution requires carbon dioxide reduction at a scope and scale that will take decades to accomplish successfully. A new perspective published in Nature Climate Change offers the first nationwide look at the vulnerability of our country’s $1 billion shellfish industry to the global, long-term problem of our oceans becoming more acidic due to the absorption of increasing amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Author(s): Julia A. EkstromLisa SuatoniSarah R. CooleyLinwood H. PendletonGeorge G. WaldbusserJosh E. CinnerJessica RitterChris LangdonRuben van HooidonkDwight GledhillKatharine WellmanMichael W. BeckLuke M. Brander, Dan RittschofCarolyn DohertyPeter E. T. Edwards, and Rosimeiry Portela

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Climate & Energy

Oceans & Coasts

Journal Articles

Mangrove Ecosystem Services Valuation: State of the Literature

A growing body of literature provides estimates of ecosystem services values derived from mangroves. If this literature is to be useful in decision making, it must have a solid foundation of value estimates. This paper identifies gaps in data and knowledge regarding mangrove ecosystem services valuations and recommends ways that future research could advance understanding of mangrove ecology, ecosystem services valuation, and conservation. 

Authors: Tibor Vegh, Megan Jungwiwattanaporn, Linwood Pendleton, and Brian Murray

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Oceans & Coasts

Marine Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services

Marine

Environmental Economics

Working Papers

Transitioning to a New Blue Economy: Proceedings of the December 2013 Economics of the Ocean Summit

Government's role in ocean environmental policy is often viewed as an economic cost to business rather than a boost to the economic value of the sea. But new evidence shows that the new blue economy can improve environmental quality in the ocean while generating new business opportunities. Furthermore, government has a key role to play in making, creating, and catalyzing this new blue economy. In December 2013, the Swedish government and Duke University hosted a meeting at the House of Sweden in Washington D.C. to discuss how innovative policy making and new business approaches together can improve the value and sustainability of the natural capital in our seas and estuaries. Decision makers, “big thinkers,” and practitioners came together for two days to share ideas and to catalyze discussion with a focus on the experiences of the United States and Sweden, two maritime countries that are forging new ocean economies.

Editors: Lisa Emelia Svensson and Linwood Pendleton 

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Oceans & Coasts

Working Papers

Amy Pickle

Director, State Policy Program

919-613-8746

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Areas of Expertise: state policy, North Carolina, state and local governments, water, climate adaptation

Amy Pickle directs the State Policy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. She focuses on state and local roles in developing energy resources; the interaction among federal, state, and local water management policies; the role of water utilities in green infrastructure implementation; and local governments' efforts to adapt to climate change and improve urban sustainability.

Pickle holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a bachelor's degree in English and another one in chemistry from the University of Florida. 

Climate Ready Estuaries: A Blueprint for Change

Initially conceived as an outreach pilot to increase public and local government awareness in five counties of the Albemarle-Pamlico region, our Blueprint summarizes the initial outreach efforts, includes findings and recommendations for increasing the region’s climate resilience, compiles a resource of up-to-date science on sea-level rise impacts, and serves as a first step in educating the public and decision makers about the opportunities and challenges of becoming a climate ready estuary.

Author(s): Bill Holman and Amy Pickle

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Water

Oceans & Coasts

State Policy

Reports

Considering the Clean Water Act

Initially authorized in response to egregious pollution from water water treatment plants and major industrial sources, the Clean Water Act has catalyzed the cleanup of many of our nations' waters. The outlook for continuing progress under the Clean Water Act, however, has been diminished in the face of modern pollutants, aging infrastructure, the Act's limited tools to address nonpoint sources and increasing stresses from unregulated development, population growth and climate change. Concerns about the Clean Water Act limits prompted the Water Environment Federation and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions along with the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread to convene a facilitated three-day workshop about the state of the Clean Water Act. 

Author (s): Amy Pickle

 
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Water

Reports

Billy Pizer

Faculty Fellow

919-613-9286

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Areas of Expertise: climate and energy policy, clean energy finance, environment and development, environmental regulation

Billy Pizer holds joint appointments as professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy and as a faculty fellow in the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. 

His current research examines how public policies to promote clean energy can effectively leverage private sector investments, how environmental regulation and climate policy can affect production costs and competitiveness, and how the design of market-based environmental policies can be improved.  From 2008 until 2011, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, overseeing Treasury’s role in the domestic and international environment and energy agenda of the United States. Prior to that, he was a researcher at Resources for the Future for more than a decade. He has written more than two dozen peer-reviewed publications, books, and articles, and holds a Ph.D. and Master's degree in economics from Harvard University and Bachelor's degree in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Regulating existing power plants under the U.S. Clean Air Act: Present and Future Consequences of Key Design Choices

In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants, triggering considerable debate on the proposal’s design and its environmental and economic consequences. One question not addressed by this debate is this: What if the EPA regulations turn out to be inadequate to address future mitigation goals? That is, what will the landscape for future policies look like if these regulations turn out to be just an interim measure? This analysis in the journal Energy Policy compares potential short- and long-term consequences of several key regulatory design choices, including mass-based versus rate-based standards, tradable versus non-tradable standards, and differentiated versus single standards. It finds that long-term consequences may be significant in terms of the legacy they leave for future policy revisions: tradable standards lead to lower electricity prices and become weaker over time; differentiated tradable standards lead to relatively greater investment in coal retrofits; non-tradable standards lead to relatively greater retirement of coal capacity. It may be the case that key policy choices entail one set of tradeoffs if proposed EPA rules are viewed as relatively permanent and final and another set of tradeoffs if the rules are viewed as an interim solution.

Author(s): Brian Murray, William Pizer, Martin Ross

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

National

Journal Articles

Assessing Carbon-Pricing Policy Options in the United States

Much of the focus of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has been on the pursuit of policy mechanisms that will put a price on carbon. In the United States, such mechanisms have been established in several states and were the central feature of federal legislative proposals of the last decade. With the political failure of those proposals in 2009-2010, creation of a de novo carbon-pricing regime was given little attention—until recently. Calls for fiscal reform and an evolving regulatory setting (especially use of the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gases) might create political appetite for a new effort to pursue a carbon-pricing policy. To inform discussion, this paper identifies and assesses options for establishing a price on carbon in the United States.

Authors: Brian Murray, Tim Profeta, and Billy Pizer

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Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

National

Working Papers

Terminating Links between Emission Trading Programs

Links between emission trading programs are not immutable, as highlighted by New Jersey's exit from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. This raises the question of what to do with existing permits that are banked for future use—choices that have consequences for market behavior in advance of, or upon speculation about, delinking. We consider two delinking policies. One differentiates banked permits by origin, the other treats banked permits the same. We describe the price behavior and relative cost-effectiveness of each policy. Treating permits differently generally leads to higher costs, and may lead to price divergence, even with only speculation about delinking.

Author(s): William Pizer and Andrew Yates

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Climate & Energy

Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

National

Working Papers

Regulating Existing Power Plants under the Clean Air Act: Present and Future Consequences of Key Design Choices

In June 2014, the EPA released its proposal for rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants, triggering considerable debate on the proposal’s environmental and economic consequences and on alternatives highlighted by the proposal and by other stakeholders. One question not addressed by this debate is this: What if the EPA regulations turn out to be inadequate to address future mitigation goals? That is, what will the landscape for future policies look like if these regulations turn out to be just an interim measure? This analysis explores the long-term consequences of several key regulatory design choices, including mass-based versus rate-based standards, tradable versus non-tradable standards, and differentiated versus single standards. It finds that these consequences may be significant: differentiated standards lead to relatively greater investment in coal retrofits; non-tradable standards lead to relatively greater retirement of coal capacity. It may be the case that key policy choices entail one set of tradeoffs if proposed EPA rules are viewed as relatively permanent and final and another set of tradeoffs if the rules are viewed as an interim solution.

Authors: Brian C. Murray, William A. Pizer, and Martin Ross

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Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Modeling

Working Papers

Martin Ross

Senior Research Economist, Environmental Economics Program

919-613-3650

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Areas of Expertise: modeling, environmental economics

Martin Ross is a senior research economist at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, specializing in environmental and energy economics and macroeconomic-simulation modeling.

Prior to joining the Nicholas Institute at the end of 2011, he worked with RTI International where he developed the Applied Dynamic Analysis of the Global Economy (ADAGE) model, which is used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to respond to Congressional requests for legislative analyses. The ADAGE model can investigate many types of economic, energy, environmental, and trade policies at the international, national, and U.S. regional levels. It is particularly useful for examining how climate-change mitigation policies limiting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy consumption and non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will affect all sectors of the economy, altering industrial and residential energy consumption and efficiency. Research conducted for the U.S. EPA Climate Change Division, the Stanford Energy Modeling Forum, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change has involved using the ADAGE model to estimate U.S. macroeconomic impacts of legislative proposals to reduce GHG emissions. Other modeling by Ross has included developing a detailed technology model of electricity markets to examine how criteria pollutant and GHG policies affect capacity planning decisions and generation costs.

Prior to joining RTI, Ross spent several years at Charles River Associates where he developed regional models to look at effects of climate-change mitigation policies and macroeconomic impacts of electric-utility legislation. In addition to his legislative analysis, Ross has advised industry groups such as the Electric Power Research Institute and Edison Electric Institute on economic and electricity modeling, and is published in The Energy JournalEnergy Economics, and Climactic Change, among others.

Ross holds both a doctoral and master's degree in economics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a bachelor's degree in economics from Michigan State University.

Regulating existing power plants under the U.S. Clean Air Act: Present and Future Consequences of Key Design Choices

In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its proposed rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants, triggering considerable debate on the proposal’s design and its environmental and economic consequences. One question not addressed by this debate is this: What if the EPA regulations turn out to be inadequate to address future mitigation goals? That is, what will the landscape for future policies look like if these regulations turn out to be just an interim measure? This analysis in the journal Energy Policy compares potential short- and long-term consequences of several key regulatory design choices, including mass-based versus rate-based standards, tradable versus non-tradable standards, and differentiated versus single standards. It finds that long-term consequences may be significant in terms of the legacy they leave for future policy revisions: tradable standards lead to lower electricity prices and become weaker over time; differentiated tradable standards lead to relatively greater investment in coal retrofits; non-tradable standards lead to relatively greater retirement of coal capacity. It may be the case that key policy choices entail one set of tradeoffs if proposed EPA rules are viewed as relatively permanent and final and another set of tradeoffs if the rules are viewed as an interim solution.

Author(s): Brian Murray, William Pizer, Martin Ross

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Climate & Energy

Clean Air Act

Policy and Design

Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

National

Journal Articles

Structure of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model: Electricity Component, DIEM-Electricity

This paper, a companion to NI WP 14-12, describes the structure of, and data sources for, the electricity component of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM), which was developed at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. The DIEM model includes a macroeconomic, or computable general equilibrium (CGE), component and an electricity component that gives a detailed representation of U.S. regional electricity markets. The electricity model (DIEM-Electricity) discussed in thus paper can be run as a stand-alone model or can be linked to the DIEM-CGE macroeconomic model to incorporate feedbacks among economy-wide energy policies and electricity generation decisions and interactions between electricity-sector policies and the rest of the U.S and global economies. Broadly, DIEM-Electricity is a dynamic linear-programming model of U.S. wholesale electricity markets that represents intermediate- to long-run decisions about generation, capacity planning, and dispatch of units. It provides results for generation, capacity, investment, and retirement by type of plant. It also determines wholesale electricity prices, production costs, fuel use, and CO2 emissions. Currently, the model can consider, at a national policy level, renewable portfolio standards, clean energy standards, caps on electricity-sector CO2 emissions, and carbon taxes.

Author: Martin T. Ross

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Policy and Design

Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Modeling

Working Papers

Structure of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model: Computable General Equilbrium Component, DIEM-CGE

This paper, a companion to NI WP 14-11, describes the structure of, and data sources for, the macroeconomic component of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM), which was developed at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University. The DIEM model includes a macroeconomic, or computable general equilibrium (CGE), component and an electricity component that gives a detailed representation of U.S. regional electricity markets, DIEM-Electricity. The DIEM-CGE component can be run as a stand-alone model to look at both global and U.S. domestic policies related to the economy, energy, or greenhouse gas emissions. Alternatively, DIEM-CGE can be linked to DIEM-Electricity to investigate the macroeconomic impacts of policies affecting electricity generation. This paper describes DIEM-CGE’s model structure, data sources, representations of production technologies, and possible linkages to DIEM-Electricity. It provides an overview of the model and details of the equilibrium structure underlying the model. It presents the production equations and discusses the model’s data and forecast sources. It also presents information on the model’s greenhouse gas emissions and abatement options as well as details of the linkage between DIEM-CGE and DIEM-Electricity.

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Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Modeling

Working Papers

Regulating Existing Power Plants under the Clean Air Act: Present and Future Consequences of Key Design Choices

In June 2014, the EPA released its proposal for rules to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants, triggering considerable debate on the proposal’s environmental and economic consequences and on alternatives highlighted by the proposal and by other stakeholders. One question not addressed by this debate is this: What if the EPA regulations turn out to be inadequate to address future mitigation goals? That is, what will the landscape for future policies look like if these regulations turn out to be just an interim measure? This analysis explores the long-term consequences of several key regulatory design choices, including mass-based versus rate-based standards, tradable versus non-tradable standards, and differentiated versus single standards. It finds that these consequences may be significant: differentiated standards lead to relatively greater investment in coal retrofits; non-tradable standards lead to relatively greater retirement of coal capacity. It may be the case that key policy choices entail one set of tradeoffs if proposed EPA rules are viewed as relatively permanent and final and another set of tradeoffs if the rules are viewed as an interim solution.

Authors: Brian C. Murray, William A. Pizer, and Martin Ross

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Environmental Economics

Climate Change Policy

Energy Sector

Modeling

Working Papers

Jessica Sheffield

Administrative Program Coordinator

919-613-8731

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Jessica Sheffield joined the Nicholas Institute in October 2008. A 1999 graduate of Allegheny College, Jessica earned a bachelor's degree in environmental studies with a concentration in Third World development. She received her master's degree in environmental education from Slippery Rock University in 2002, and her certificate in nonprofit management from Duke University in 2005. Prior to joining the Institute Jessica served as Executive Director for Schoolhouse of Wonder, Durham's premier environmental education nonprofit program.

Larry Shirley

Director, Operations and Planning

919-613-8745

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Areas of Expertise: renewable energy, energy efficiency

Larry Shirley is the director of operations and planning at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, a Duke University institute focused on improving environmental policy making worldwide through objective fact-based research in six program areas: water policy, ecosystem services, ocean and coastal policy, environmental economics, climate and energy and state policy. At the Nicholas Institute, Shirley is not only responsible for overseeing the enterprise functions of the organization, but effectively and sustainably carrying out the goals set forth in the Nicholas Institute’s strategic plan. He comes to the Nicholas Institute with over three decades of experience managing energy-related university, governmental and nonprofit organizations and programs.

Prior to his arrival at Duke, Shirley was the Director of the Green Economy for the NC Department of Commerce, the first official appointed to this post. His sustainable economic development work encompassed renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative fuels and the Smart Grid. Shirley coordinated the state's efforts to launch an offshore wind program and initiated a statewide task force working to advance vehicle electrification.

Before his appointment as Green Economy Director, Shirley served for nine years as the Director of North Carolina's Energy Office. During his tenure, he launched the Utility Savings Initiative, a nationally acclaimed program centered on reducing energy consumption in state universities and agencies by 30% by 2015. To date, the program has saved over $400 million. Among several awards, it received the Regional Innovation Award from the Council of State Governments in 2007, cited as the most innovative state program in the South.

Much of Shirley's earlier career was dedicated to the founding and management of the North Carolina Solar Center at NC State University. There he served as executive director for 13 years and created the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE), the preeminent national website for information on national, state, local and utility financial incentives. Today, the Solar Center is one of the largest university-based renewable energy centers in the nation.

Shirley currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Interstate Renewable Energy Council and Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, as well as the Board of Advisors for Catawba College's Center for the Environment. He is the former Chairman of the American Solar Energy Society and holds a degree in political science from UNC Chapel Hill.

Kisan Upadhaya works as an IT specialist to support multiple departments at Duke, including the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Kisan began working at Duke as an information systems specialist for Duke University Medical Center, followed by an IT project manager position with Aramark Corporation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, Kisan graduated from Kathmandu's Trivhuban University.

Tibor Vegh

Policy Associate, Environmental Economics Program

919-613-8721

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Areas of Expertise: environmental economics

Tibor Vegh joined Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Environmental Economics Program in September 2012. He serves as a Policy Associate and is a collaborator on projects related to carbon markets, bioenergy, and blue carbon economics.

Tibor earned his master's degree in forestry from Northern Arizona University in 2011. There, his research focused on identifying whether or not partial offset of ponderosa pine forest restoration treatments is possible with payments for carbon offsets. He earned his bachelor's degree at North Carolina State University in economics with a minor in mathematics. As an undergraduate researcher, he worked on modeling the effects of the North Carolina Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard on regional timber supply.

Incentivizing the Reduction of Pollution at Dairies: How to Address Additionality When Multiple Environmental Credit Payments Are Combined

Anaerobic digesters (ADs) can reduce waste volumes and capture methane emissions from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), but their adoption rate is low because their cost is high relative to other forms of waste management. Farmers who use ADs can attempt to sell carbon credits and nutrient credits as well as renewable electricity certificates (RECs) generated by on-site electricity production from captured methane. These credits and RECs can be used as marketable “offsets” that buyers can use to help meet their greenhouse gas and nutrient pollution reduction goals. One issue that arises is whether a single operation can sell into multiple credit markets by “stacking” credits—that is, receiving multiple environmental payments to finance the conversion to AD technology. This practices introduces the possibility that some credits might be “non-additional”—i.e., produce no incremental pollution reductions and thus be suspect pollution offsets. Non-additionality in environmental credit stacking occurs when multiple payment streams do not produce incremental pollution reductions, thus allowing the credit buyer to pollute more than is being offset by the AD project. A possible solution to the stacking problem may be to allow stacking of all credits available at the time of AD installation, but to prohibit any further stacking if new credit streams become available after installation.

Authors: Brian C. Murray and Tibor Vegh

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Environmental Markets

Policy and Design

Agriculture

Land

Environmental Economics

Energy Sector

National

Working Papers

Environmental and Economic Implications of Regional Bioenergy Policy

The unique generation, landownership, and resource attributes of the southeastern United States make the region a ripe and important test bed for implementation of novel renewable energy policy. This policy brief describes the environmental and economic implications of one policy intervention: a hypothetical region-wide renewable portfolio standard (RPS) with separate biomass targets or “carve-outs.” A study of this intervention shows that over time the dominant contributor to such an RPS would be forest biomass and that existing resource conditions would influence patterns of biomass harvesting, resulting in a spatially and temporally diverse forest carbon response. Net forest carbon storage in the Southeast would be greater with the hypothetical RPS than without it in all but the final years of the modeled time period, but when displaced fossil fuel emissions are accounted for net greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions over the period could be substantial. The methods and findings presented here are also relevant to a broader array of policies that could increase biomass demand from the region, including pellet exports from the United States to the European Union and regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

Authors: Christopher Galik, Robert C. Abt, Gregory Latta, and Tibor Vegh

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Bioenergy

Regional Bioenergy

Policy Briefs

Environmental and Economic Effects of a Regional Renewable Portfolio Standard with Biomass Carve-outs

The unique generation, landownership, and resource attributes of the southeastern United States make the region a ripe and important test bed for implementation of novel renewable energy policy interventions. This study evaluates the environmental and economic implications of one such intervention, a hypothetical region-wide renewable portfolio standard (RPS) with biomass carve-outs. It utilizes the Forest and Agriculture Sector Optimization Model with Greenhouse Gases (FASOMGHG) to assess the multi-sector and interregional allocation of increased harvest activity to meet the RPS. It then uses the Sub-Regional Timber Supply (SRTS) model to assess the intraregional allocation of harvests within the southeastern United States. The analysis finds that forest biomass is the dominant contributor to the regional RPS; national data suggest a substantial reallocation of harvests across both time and space. Existing resource conditions influence the regional distribution of land use and harvest changes, resulting in a spatially and temporally diverse forest carbon response. Net forest carbon in the Southeast is greater in the RPS Scenario than in the No RPS Scenario in all but the final years of the model run. Accounting for displaced fossil emissions yields substantial net greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions in all assessed time periods. Beyond the RPS, both research methodology and findings are applicable to a broader suite of domestic and international policies.

Authors: Christopher S. Galik, Robert C. Abt, Gregory S. Latta, and Tibor Vegh

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Climate & Energy

Bioenergy

Regional Bioenergy

Working Papers

Mangrove Ecosystem Services Valuation: State of the Literature

A growing body of literature provides estimates of ecosystem services values derived from mangroves. If this literature is to be useful in decision making, it must have a solid foundation of value estimates. This paper identifies gaps in data and knowledge regarding mangrove ecosystem services valuations and recommends ways that future research could advance understanding of mangrove ecology, ecosystem services valuation, and conservation. 

Authors: Tibor Vegh, Megan Jungwiwattanaporn, Linwood Pendleton, and Brian Murray

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Oceans & Coasts

Marine Ecosystem Services

Ecosystem Services

Marine

Environmental Economics

Working Papers

John Virdin

John Virdin

Director, Ocean and Coastal Policy Program

919-684-1141

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Areas of Expertise: fisheries management, marine protected areas, marine policy, coastal and small island developing countries

John Virdin is director of the Coastal and Ocean Policy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

Virdin’s areas of expertise include assisting developing country governments to reform and strengthen their institutions responsible for ocean fisheries, thereby reducing poverty and enhancing sustainability, and creating policy and institutional frameworks governing a wide range of human activities that drive change in ocean ecosystems, including activities leading to the conversion or degradation of natural coastal habitats.

Virdin worked for more than 10 years at the World Bank, most recently as acting program manager for the Global Partnership for Oceans, a coalition of more than 150 governments, companies, nongovernmental organizations, foundations, and multi-lateral agencies. He advised the Bank on oceans and fisheries governance and helped it increase its lending for sustainable oceans to more than $1 billion. His work led to development of programs that provided more than $125 million in funding for improved fisheries management in six West African nations and some $40 million for fisheries and ocean conservation in a number of Pacific Island nations.

Prior to his tenure at the World Bank, Virdin worked with the World Resources Institute, the Munson Foundation, the World Conservation Network, the World Wildlife Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Virdin holds a master’s degree in environmental studies from Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Wake Forest University.  He will receive his doctorate in marine policy from the University of Delaware in 2015.

Kim Wanke

Grants and Contracts Administrator

919-684-1135

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Kim Wanke joined the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in June 2011. She provides grant management (new proposal processes to closeout) to the Nicholas Institute’s research staff. Previously, she worked at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy. She has a bachelor's degree in environmental resource management and planning from the University of West Florida.  

Colette Watt joined the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in July 2009 after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor's degree in Peace, War, and Defense. She provides research assistance and administrative support to several directors as well as other Nicholas Institute staff.

Coastal Blue Carbon and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: Current Status and Future Directions

Blue carbon has been defined as “the carbon stored, sequestered or released from coastal ecosystems of tidal marshes, mangroves and seagrass meadows.” These marine and coastal ecosystems store large amounts of carbon in the plants and the sediment below them. When these ecosystems are degraded or destroyed, significant amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change risk. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has considered conserving and restoring forests an important aspect of climate change mitigation through its REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) mechanism. Broadening these approaches to include other natural systems, such as blue carbon ecosystems, could help reduce emissions from the degradation and destruction of these areas as well. This policy brief examines the evolution of blue carbon in the UNFCCC process—how it entered, where it stands, and what path lies ahead.

Author(s): Brian C. Murray, Colette E. Watt, David M. Cooley, and Linwood H. Pendleton

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Oceans & Coasts

Marine Ecosystem Services

Environmental Economics

Blue Carbon

Policy Briefs

Michael Wojcik

Michael Wojcik

Website Administrator

919-613-3772

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Areas of Expertise: Web Design and Development, Photography, Videography, Communications

Michael Wojcik provides web design and development support for Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. He also provides similar support for Duke University's Interdisciplinary Studies office and the Bass Connections intiative.

Before joining the Nicholas Institute in October 2014, he was the Project and Communications Coordinator for the Center for Research on Computation and Society at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Michael also offers freelance web design services in his spare time, and maintains his own website at http://michaelwojcik.org.