Environmental Economics Program News

How Blended Finance Can Help Global Fisheries Recover

There is power in returns, writes Tim Fitzgerald in Forbes. At its core, that’s the notion behind blended finance, or the strategic use of philanthropic funds and development finance to mobilize private capital flows to emerging and frontier markets. Blended finance takes advantage of different types of capital, and their varied structures, risk preferences and desired investment outcomes, to grow the overall size of the pie dedicated towards critical conservation challenges. A new report just released by Environmental Defense Fund’s Fishery Solutions Center and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions asserts that blended capital approaches offer a new opportunity to fill the all-too-common finance gap that has hampered the recovery of many of the world’s fisheries.

Murray Named Director of Duke University Energy Initiative

Nicholas School of the Environment faculty member Brian Murray has been named as director of the Duke University Energy Initiative, a university-wide interdisciplinary hub for energy education, research, and engagement. Murray has served as interim director of the Energy Initiative since January 2016, in addition to his position as director of the Environmental Economics Program at Duke’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. As Energy Initiative director, Murray will continue to serve as a faculty member at the Nicholas School of the Environment. He will also be a faculty affiliate with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and the Duke Science and Society Initiative.   

Judith Kelley Named Dean of Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy

Judith Kelley, an expert on human rights, democracy and international elections, has been named dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, President Vincent E. Price and Provost Sally Kornbluth announced Thursday. Kelley’s appointment comes after a national search chaired by Billy Pizer, Susan B. King Professor of Public Policy, associate dean for academic programs at the Sanford School and faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. “Judith Kelley is a tireless, proven leader with deep knowledge of our school and its opportunities,” said Pizer.  “She’s also a recognized public policy scholar who relishes the multiple roles that our school serves. I’m confident she’ll do a great job as dean.”

Mnuchin Poised to Disband Environment and Energy Office ($)

A memo sent to the Office of Environment and Energy international affairs staff announced that all environmental work would be reassigned to the international development section, which oversaw the portfolio before President George W. Bush's Treasury secretary, Henry Paulson, created a separate office to raise the profile of environmental finance, reports ClimateWire. Billy Pizer, a faculty fellow at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions and professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, shares his take on the disbanding of the office he once headed.

Nuclear Winner

Georgia could have put an end to nuclear plant construction in the U.S., but it didn’t reports Grist. The Georgia Public Service Commission voted unanimously to continue the expansion of the Vogtle Electric Generating Plant, located 150 miles east of Atlanta. If the commission had voted against the deal, there would have been no active nuclear energy projects ongoing in the U.S. South Carolina abandoned an over-budget, two-unit expansion to its V. C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station this past summer. According to Tim Profeta, director of Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, nearly 90 percent of the country’s nuclear capacity could sunset in the next 30 years—ending the nuclear era, which started in 1958 when the first reactor opened in western Pennsylvania.

News Tip: Expert Available to Comment on Nuclear Plant Decision

The Georgia Public Service Commission will decide Dec. 21 whether to allow construction of two new nuclear reactors at the Plant Vogtle site to proceed or to call for the cancellation of the project. Plagued by delays and escalating costs, the Vogtle reactors represent the only large-scale nuclear construction underway in the United States.

Carbon Pricing Structure, Revenue Concerns Raised at Albany Meeting ($)

Key energy stakeholders explored the potential ramifications of an innovative proposal to place a price on carbon emissions in the electric sector, discussing ways to address imports into the state and how to divvy up potential revenues. New York's independent grid operator and utility regulator co-hosted the technical discussion at the Empire State Plaza December 11. Representatives from large energy consumers, environmental groups, state policymakers, public power authorities and in-state and out-of-state electric generators tried to establish principles for how revenue raised by a price on carbon could be used. This article in PoliticPro quotes Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Climate and Energy Program director Kate Konschnik.

Jonathan Phillips Portrait

Phillips Named to Lead New Energy Access Project

DURHAM, N.C. -- Jonathan Phillips, formerly the senior advisor to the president and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, has been named director of the Energy Access Project at Duke University. This new research and policy effort aims to address the challenges around increasing access to modern energy solutions to underserved populations around the world.