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Latest Publications


Mapping the Global Distribution of Locally Generated Marine Ecosystem Services: The Case of the West and Central Pacific Ocean Tuna Fisheries

Authors: Evangelia G. Drakou, John Virdin, and Linwood Pendleton

Ecosystem service maps are instrumental for the assessment and communication of the costs and benefits of human-nature interactions. This article in the journal Ecosystem Services proposes an integrated way of assessing and mapping global flows of marine ecosystem services. It proposes a conceptual framework that integrates ecosystem service provision principles with value chain analysis and human well-being assessment methods, while considering the spatial dimension of these components in ecosystem service mapping. It applies this framework to the case of seafood provision from purse seine tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. 


Indonesia's Uphill Battle Against Dangerous Land Clearance

Author: Jackson Ewing

Indonesia and its neighbors have recently experienced the worst transboundary haze episodes in their history, according to the book Pollution Across Borders: Transboundary Fire, Smoke and Haze in Southeast Asia. The chapter "Indonesia’s Uphill Battle Against Dangerous Land Clearance" explains the three major factors in these haze episodes: the palm oil and pulp and paper sectors, changing weather patterns, and policies that are not keeping up with business and environmental forces, preventing them from appreciably changing short-term conditions in Indonesian plantations. 


Business Sector Action to Drive Carbon Market Cooperation in Northeast Asia

Editors: Jackson Ewing and Minyoung Shin

The expansion of carbon markets in China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea have laid the foundation for discussions on potential carbon market cooperation within Northeast Asia, and the role of the private sector is vital for achieving success in this space, according to a new Asia Society Policy Institute and KPMG Samjong report. The authors present how carbon market linkage within China, Japan, and Korea could take place in unison with industry preferences.


Ecosystem Services and Judge-Made Law: A Review of Legal Cases in Common Law Countries

Authors: Ori Sharon, Sydney N. Fishman, J.B. Ruhl, Lydia Olander, and Stephen E. Roady

This article in the journal Ecosystem Services reviews the prevalence and usage of the concept of ecosystem services in American and other common law legal systems. It suggests that this concept is rarely relied on by courts and other adjudicatory bodies. The authors identify several trends in cases discussing ecosystem services and recommend courses of action for environmental agencies and litigants interested in furthering ecosystem services protection through the court systems of common law countries.


Can a Modernized U.S. Development Finance Institution Help Close the Energy Financing Gap?

Authors: Jonathan Phillips, Hannah Girardeau, and Harry Masters

Government-sponsored development finance institutions (DFIs) have become key delivery mechanisms for poverty alleviation and the exercise of soft power. A reformed and fully equipped U.S. DFI would directly provide billions of dollars in additional energy sector investment and would catalyze many billions more in private investment. With earnest and bipartisan consensus building around U.S. development finance reform, this policy brief seeks to summarize the importance of energy sector finance in the context of development and foreign policy, to outline the energy financing gaps in emerging markets, and to analyze how the new tools and authorities proposed under the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act (BUILD Act) legislation would equip the U.S. DFI to respond to those financing needs.


China’s New National Carbon Market

Authors: William A. Pizer and Xiliang Zhang

This article in the journal AEA Papers and Proceedings reviews the policy context and initial program design of China’s new national emissions trading system. It explains the design of China’s new carbon market, contrasts it with western markets, and highlights possible implications. The article reflects some of the findings in the working paper “China’s New National Carbon Market,” published by the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions.


Contribution of Fisheries to Food and Nutrition Security: Current Knowledge, Policy, and Research

Authors: Abigail Bennett, Pawan Patil, Kristin Kleisner, Doug Rader, John Virdin, and Xavier Basurto

In the context of the recently agreed-on United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes the goal to end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition, this report synthesizes the current understanding of capture fisheries’ contributions to food and nutrition security and explores drivers of those contributions. Further, the report examines how ensuring the sustainability of these fisheries—they provide nearly one-fifth of the average per capita animal protein intake for more than 3.1 billion people—and recognizing any synergies between conservation and food security objectives could be important considerations during policy development. 


Managing Dynamic Change in the Midwestern Power Sector: Power Shift Midwestern Regional Workshop

Authors: Kate Konschnik

Market-shifts, technological innovation, and clean energy policies are driving a fundamental transformation of the U.S. power sector. This proceedings describes four critical grid issues in the Midwest discussed at the Power Shift's Minnesota meeting: evolving stakeholder processes, power sector fleet transfer, the impact of electric cars on the grid, and responses to changing consumer demand. The range of potential research inspired by the discussion—including whether state regulatory processes help or hinder big shifts underway on the grid, how state climate goals affect regional generation patterns, how stakeholder processes and market trends interact, whether utilities should attempt to spark demand for electric vehicles, and whether customer demands or public policies are driving innovation—points to the sea change in the U.S. power sector.

Regional Implications of National Carbon Taxes

Author: Martin Ross

This analysis published in the journal Climate Change Economics examines impacts of nationally-imposed carbon taxes on different regions of the United States. The goal is to see what can be learned about the drivers of regional political support for and opposition to such measures. Whether at the state, regional or national levels, carbon taxes are one option for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; several state and regional programs are already under way and lowering emissions. This analysis uses a U.S. regional version of the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM) computable general equilibrium model to explore relationships between carbon taxes, emissions, and economic growth.


The Future of the Electricity Industry: Implications of Trends and Taxes

Author: Martin Ross

This analysis published in the journal Energy Economics examines how changes in market trends and technology costs are likely to affect electricity generation in the United States in the context of possible future carbon taxes. It uses the Dynamic Integrated Economy/Energy/Emissions Model (DIEM) electricity-sector model to examine a wide range of sensitivity cases for technology and fuel costs under different economic conditions. The model finds that carbon taxes can be an effective way to quickly lower emissions. Shifts among natural gas and renewable generation can vary significantly, depending on capital and operating costs.

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