Publications

Measures of Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Across the Southeast: Recent Growth and State Trends

Electric vehicle (EV) market share is increasing and substantial public and private investment in EV charging infrastructure is rising to meet demand. This report examines recent developments across a dozen states in the Southeast.

Resilience Monetization and Credits Initiative: A Background Paper

Addressing climate change requires urgent and innovative action aimed at both mitigating its effects and addressing its most severe impacts. However, current investment levels are insufficient to match the escalating climate risks and damages. Despite the annual target of $100 billion established at the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference/Conference of Parties, climate finance directed to low- and middle-income countries continues to lag behind stated goals.

Water and ESG: Rhetoric, Reality, and Opportunities

Building on the ongoing theme of “What does good water governance look like for the United States?,” the objective of the 2023 Aspen-Nicholas Water Forum was to explore why, despite the centrality of water to the environment, as well as to communities and society broadly, water has simply been overlooked in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goal-setting processes, analyses, or frameworks. The forum also asked what might be the opportunities, or risks, of greater inclusion of water into ESG generally. This report highlights the discussions at the forum on how ESG does, and does not intersect with water, and what the challenges or opportunities might be.

Tackling Debt, Biodiversity Loss, and Climate Change

Debt distress, biodiversity loss and climate change are interconnected crises for developing countries. A task force of multilateral development banks and environmental institutions is convening a task force to establish a framework to ameliorate these crises by reforming debt-for-nature swaps. The authors of this Policy Forum identify four reforms that should underpin the new framework.

From Concept to Practice: Financing Sustainable Blue Economy in Small Island Developing States, Lessons Learnt from the Seychelles Experience

Despite international enthusiasm, private-sector finance for sustainable development and the blue economy still makes up a very small percentage of global investment. Repurposed bonds and debt-for-nature swaps have gained support with policymakers, international organizations, and investors keen to align their investment with global goals and borrowing countries with large ocean domains seeking new sources of finance.

A Geopolitical-Economy of Distant Water Fisheries Access Arrangements

Fishing fleets and effort have grown throughout the waters of lower-income coastal countries in recent decades, much of which is carried out by vessels registered in higher-income countries. Fisheries access arrangements underpin this key trend in ocean fisheries and have their origins in United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea's (UNCLOS’s) goal to establish resource ownership as a mechanism to increase benefits to newly independent coastal and island states.

Development and Deployment of a Lead Service Line Inventory Application for North Carolina Water Utilities

This white paper presents an application designed to help North Carolina water utilities complete federally required lead service line inventories. Using available datasets, the application simplifies the inventory process, reduces software barriers,  details development and utility engagements, and proposes enhancements for broader use. The paper highlights methods and future improvements, aiming to extend the tool's reach to help utilities nationwide manage lead contamination efficiently. 

North Carolina Heat Action Plan Toolkit

With climate change driving more frequent and intense heat events, North Carolina's Heat Action Plan Toolkit aims to help communities adapt and build resilience to extreme heat. Primarily targeted for use by local governments, including health and emergency management departments, the toolkit focuses on approaches to reduce the human health impacts of increasing temperatures and heat waves.

2023 Durham County Community Health Assessment

The 2023 Durham Community Health Assessment was produced as part of the accreditation process for the Durham County Department of Public Health and Affordable Care Act requirements for Duke Health. Nicholas Institute experts Ashley Ward and Jordan Clark contributed to a section on extreme heat, highlighting the disparate impact of extreme heat on Durham residents and current and future resources to mitigate the worst impacts of extreme heat exposure.

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change: A Comparative Study of Governance Processes in Australia, China, and the United States

In 2023, UN climate proceedings (COP 28) made clear that challenges of adapting to climate impacts are now a priority comparable to the focus on mitigation (greenhouse gas reduction). Floods, wildfires, drought, and heat are causing great damage in the United States and other highly developed countries which, on paper, were prepared. The report explains that in contrast to mitigation (greenhouse gas reduction) and further now longstanding environmental governance approaches, adaptation may call for transformation of core governance structures, tools and resources.