Environmental Economics Program News

Six Duke Research Projects Awarded Catalyst Program Funding

Six Duke Research Projects Awarded Catalyst Program Funding

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University has awarded funding to six research projects for Fiscal Year 2019–20 through the institute's Catalyst Program.*

Now in its third year, the Catalyst Program aims to build on the Nicholas Institute’s mission by increasing engagement with Duke faculty to incubate and advance new partnerships, enhance policy-relevant knowledge, and create innovative policy solutions based on new creative synergies.

The 2019–20 awardees are:

Billy Pizer

Ways & Means Podcast - Climate Change: Adding up the Bill

The latest episode of Ways & Means, a podcast presented by the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, looks at who will take the hardest hit financially from climate change and whether anything can be done about it. The episode features an interview with Billy Pizer, an environmental economist with joint appointments as a professor at the Sanford School and as a faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.

In Executive Order, Gov. Cooper Wants 40 Percent Reduction In Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Gov. Roy Cooper has signed an executive order that directs the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025. It's a move that some other state and local governments have taken since President Trump withdrew the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Jennifer Weiss, a senior policy associate with the Climate and Energy Program at Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions told NPR that it "is a realistic goal, but I think it's going to take a lot of work by multiple parties." The order lays out several different ways to reduce greenhouse gases, and it creates a climate change council that is supposed to get input from a wide range of sources like utilities, local governments and business owners.

Cooper Calls for NC to Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Monday calling on North Carolina to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent in the next seven years. The executive order calls for getting at least 80,000 zero-emission vehicles on the road, improving the efficiency of state buildings so they cut their energy use by 40 percent and working to expand North Carolina's clean energy industries. The 40 percent target is based on the state's 2005 emission levels, and Tim Profeta, director of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions tells WRAL that it is an ambitious goal, noting that it's more than any other state in the Southeast.

Gov. Cooper at News Conference

News Tip: Experts Available for Comment on NC Climate Executive Order

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Monday announced an executive order aimed at addressing climate change and advancing the clean energy economy in the state.

China's New Silk Road

A conference at Duke Kunshan University last week—co-sponsored by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions—focused on China's global investments. The five-day conference addressed how to better understand and plan for China’s vast increase in infrastructure investment abroad, especially for projects that are part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

Beyond Fuel Security: Reliability, Resilience and a More Sustainable Future through Grid Flexibility

The White House, federal agencies and some regional grid operators are seeking to boost electric grid reliability and resilience. In Utility Dive, Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions' Kate Konschnik and Jennie Chen write that improving grid flexibility could achieve the aims of fuel security more cost effectively while modernizing and decarbonizing the grid.

Murray Portrait

Carving the Energy Pathway of the Future

In a Nature Conservancy story profiling his career, Brian Murray, Duke University Energy Initiative director and faculty affiliate at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, discusses what motivates him and what the future holds for the energy sector: “I don’t think we should choose an energy technology and say that is the only technology to pursue. You must look at a portfolio approach. We have to move toward more decarbonized sources, but it is a transition path, not a brick wall,” Murray says. “It is way too simple to say that we know exactly what the energy solution is. As attractive as solar is becoming in certain places, we cannot conclude now that we should move toward a grid that is 100 percent solar in all places. A resilient grid is one that has diversity. A clean grid is one that has a minimal amount of pollution. We should be getting the most resilient and cleanest grid possible.”

Group Photo in Lisbon

International Expert Workshop on Blue Natural Capital

John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, was among the participants at the Workshop on Blue Natural Capital in Lisbon, Portugal. The two-day conference explored how to mainstream Blue Natural Capital in economic science, corporate accounting, ecosystem management, and policy and international processes. It also highlighted case studies on valuing Blue Natural Capital and its use in conservation strategies, revenue models and business cases for sustainable ocean economy.

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