News - Amy Pickle

The Nicholas Institute was among the nine winners of the United Nations Development Programme's 2020 Ocean Innovation Challenge for its Plastics Pollution Policy Inventory.

Duke researchers set out to determine how governments around the world are responding to oceanic plastic pollution. Their search led them to compile and analyze an inventory of nearly 300 policies instituted between 2000 and mid-2019 to address the issue.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted momentum for government action to address plastic pollution. The authors of a global review of government responses over the last 20 years have observed complex impacts from the pandemic on international and national efforts. However, it seems local governments have pushed the pause button, particularly in the case of single-use plastics in the United States.

Governments at every level have taken steps over the last decade to reduce the flow of plastic pollution into the world’s oceans, according to a Duke University policy analysis published today. The analysis finds, however, that the vast majority of new policies have focused specifically on plastic shopping bags. More study needs to be done to determine whether they have worked.

An interdisciplinary group from two universities is taking a data-driven approach to help protect North Carolina’s drinking water supply.

Four groups led by Duke University faculty have been awarded Collaboratory grants for research into pressing local and global challenges.

Part of the Together Duke academic strategic plan, these new grant opportunities provide flexible, immediate resources to strengthen Duke’s intellectual communities and help research groups move forward on both fundamental inquiry and solutions for real-world problems.

The blue economy concept could help policy makers more fully consider the marine environment together with economic growth to help meet the United Nation’s oceans sustainable development goal. John Virdin, director of the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, is studying how governments in the United States and abroad might apply the blue economy concept to increase rates of economic return without depleting or damaging ocean ecosystems, which would put not only natural resources but also jobs and economic growth at risk. 

Researchers at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions have developed a deep understanding of both the electricity sector’s potential responses to regulatory, market, and technology changes and the emissions consequences of those responses. Our legal analyses and modeling have provided a solid foundation to help states address their own distinct decision-making challenges amid uncertainty, which has only deepened as the Trump administration looks to roll back Obama-era climate policies.

The ocean economy contributed $2.1 billion and 43,385 jobs to North Carolina’s economy in 2013, according to a new report by North Carolina Sea Grant and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Ocean and coastal resources played an even larger role in the state’s coastal counties, providing 6.5 percent of gross domestic product, or GDP, and supporting 13 percent of employment. And according to “North Carolina’s Ocean Economy: A First Assessment and Transitioning to a Blue Economy” report co-author Tibor Vegh, these figures are most likely low. “Our estimates represent a snapshot in time only for the sectors where we could find economic data,” Vegh, a policy analyst with the Nicholas Institute, tells CoastWatch.