Issues

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Blue Economy

To expand the ocean economy to create jobs and economic growth while achieving global targets set for ocean health, ocean policy should account for the value of the services dependent on marine ecosystems.

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Carbon Pricing

Carbon pricing is a market-based method for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Governments implement carbon pricing in two main forms—a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax or fee.

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Climate Resilience and Adaptation

Given accelerating global climate change, understanding and enhancing the ways in which our social and ecological systems can withstand, respond to, and recover from changes and disruptions is critical.

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Decarbonization

To meet the temperature targets set by the Paris Agreement, the world economy needs to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through an energy transition.

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Ecosystem Services

The Ecosystem Services Program focuses on ensuring that the environment can sustain future generations by helping public and private decision-makers value the benefits natural ecosystems and nature-based solutions provide.

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Endangered Species

Nationwide, several hundred species are being evaluated for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Research at the Nicholas Institute is exploring whether effective pre-compliance could be the key to recovery for a number of species while demonstrating the promise of multi-species management.
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Energy Access

With nearly a third of humanity lacking reliable electricity and 3 billion people without clean fuels and technologies for cooking, energy access represents one of the greatest challenges of our time.

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Energy Data Analytics

Big data offers big opportunities to solve our world’s most daunting energy and climate challenges.

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Energy Efficiency

The purpose of energy efficiency is to reduce the amount of energy required to maintain or improve functionality and comfort while lowering customer cost.

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Energy Insecurity

Energy insecurity is understood as the impacts stemming from the inability to pay one's energy bills. Families impacted by this prevalent issue are often forced to make choices between keeping the lights on or spending their money on other essential expenses.

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Environmental Data and Analysis

One of the primary objectives of the Nicholas Institute is the collection of robust and accurate data, and the scientific analysis of that data.

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Environmental Inequality

There is a great need to consider the effects of environmental inequality—not everyone is equally protected from health and environmental hazards regardless of race, gender, income, or national origin.
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Environmental Markets

Environmental markets are focused on a broad range of challenges—from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to providing incentives for the restoration and protection of forests to improving water quality.

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Extreme Heat

Heat is among the most significant consequences of climate change that humanity faces. Effectively addressing this challenge in the US will require innovative policy approaches.

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Fisheries and Food Security

To sustainably feed 9.6 billion people, overfished stocks must be rebuilt, and the production and environmental performance of aquaculture must be increased.

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Future of Utility Regulation

The U.S. electricity sector is undergoing rapid change wrought by low natural gas prices, falling costs for renewables, and evolving environmental standards.

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Natural and Working Lands

When managed sustainably, natural and working lands—including farms, forests, and wetlands—can store carbon, enhance community and ecosystem resilience, and provide many other social, economic, and environmental benefits.

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Nature-Based Solutions

As momentum for nature-based solutions grows, the Nicholas Institute is identifying opportunities to implement these projects, exploring ways to finance them, measuring and understanding their benefits for people and ecosystems, and providing targeted planning and communications resources for natural resource managers.

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Oceans and Climate Change

The current fragile state of ocean health is a bellwether for the earth’s changing climate. The Ocean and Coastal Policy Program draws on Duke’s expertise to support policies promoting a healthy ocean for shared prosperity.

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Oil and Gas

Encroachment of oil and gas development into human and ecological habitats requires community engagement and meaningful discussions about the protection of important natural and cultural resources.

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Plastics Policy

A growing body of scientific evidence documents plastic's harmful environmental and human health impacts throughout its life cycle, spanning production to its post-consumption state as pollution or recycled material.

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Remote Sensing

Using remote sensing data, like satellite or drone imagery, we can infer powerful insights about the energy sector.

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Sustainable Agriculture & Forestry

Sustainable agriculture and forest management share a common goal—to balance the economic and cultural needs of humans with protecting the environment.

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Sustainable Infrastructure

How infrastructure development is planned, financed, and implemented can make the difference between helping and harming economies, communities, and natural environments.

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Transmission and Power Markets

More than two-thirds of electricity customers in the United States are served by competitive wholesale electricity markets known as Regional Transmission Organizations.

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Transportation Electrification

Transportation is the top source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. The sector is undergoing substantial technological, infrastructure, and policy changes as more electric vehicles hit the road.

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Water Policy

The Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability’s Water Policy Program is an interdisciplinary effort focused on utilizing data to inform effective policy changes in how water is understood and managed.