Climate and Energy Program

No single solution exists to address the demand for global energy, which the International Energy Agency forecasts will grow one-third by 2035.

Meeting the energy needs of a growing population, while protecting the air and environment surrounding us, is the chief focus of the Climate and Energy Program at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. By utilizing the interdisciplinary resources available at Duke University, the Nicholas Institute’s Climate and Energy Program is assessing how policies can work together and weighing their tradeoffs through a number of projects at the state, federal, and international level.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan has focused attention on the inextricable links between energy and environmental policy. Even in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s stay of the Clean Power Plan, the Nicholas Institute continues to play a critical role supporting states and stakeholders as they navigate the resulting uncertainty. 

While the Clean Power Plan represents a significant milestone in U.S. climate policy, it is only one of a number of factors driving change in the sector. Work in the program focuses on how the legal and regulatory landscape must adapt to a dynamic electricity sector and how investments made today will influence environmental and economic outcomes in 2050.

Work by the program also looks forward to next steps in U.S. climate policy, including assessment of opportunities under the existing Clean Air Act and changes to the Clean Air Act that could enable more comprehensive regulation. Beyond the Clean Air Act regulatory framework, work at the Nicholas Institute examines carbon tax schemes across the world, assessing their environmental integrity cost-effectiveness, distributional equity, and fundamental design.