Publications

Testing Ecosystem Accounting in the United States: a Case Study for the Southeast

Ecosystem accounts, as formalized by the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting Experimental Ecosystem Accounts (SEEA EEA), have been compiled in a number of countries, yet there have been few attempts to develop them for the U.S. We explore the potential for U.S. ecosystem accounting by compiling ecosystem extent, condition, and ecosystem services supply and use accounts for a 10-state region in the Southeast. The pilot accounts address air quality, water quality, biodiversity, carbon storage, recreation, and pollination for selected years from 2001 to 2015.

20 Years of Government Responses to the Global Plastic Pollution Problem

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a global problem that requires cooperation from a wide range of groups (e.g., governments, producers, consumers, researchers, civil society). This study aims to synthesize the policy response of governments to the global plastic pollution problem, as a basis for more rigorous monitoring of progress (as called for in Resolution 4/6 of the 2019 United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting) and to inform future public policies.

Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Energy Markets

As states advance their climate policies with ambitious clean energy targets, wholesale market operators are grappling with questions about if and how electricity markets should evolve as a response. Several ISO/RTOs are looking to change their market rules to include carbon pricing, but there is a diversity in approaches.

Harnessing Data Analytics to Accelerate Energy Access: Reflections from a Duke-RTI Convening on Data for Development

One of the defining features of our current era is the proliferation of innovative technologies that constantly generate data and information. Earth observation satellites, ground-based tools such as vehicle-mounted cameras, smart meters, and crowd-sourced platforms all collect and gather data with applications for the energy sector.

Graphical Models and the Challenge of Evidence-Based Practice in Development and Sustainability

In development and sustainability, evidence spans disciplines and methodological traditions and is often inconclusive. Graphical models are widely promoted to organize interdisciplinary evidence and improve decision-making by considering mediating variables. However, the reproducibility, objectivity and benefits for decision-making of graphical models have not been studied. In this paper, the authors evaluate these considerations in the setting of energy services in the developing world, a contemporary development and sustainability imperative.

Lessons for Modernizing Energy Access Finance, Part 1: What the Electrification Experiences of Seven Countries Tell Us about the Future of Connection Costs, Subsidies, and Integrated Planning

This brief explores the successful rural electrification experiences of seven case countries—Brazil, Chile, Laos, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, and Tunisia—looking specifically at the cost of connections and how subsidies and public financing were deployed to address the affordability challenge and facilitate energy access.

USFS Predictive Model Library: Fire and Timber Management

This project explores how these non-USFS models could be combined with existing USFS models to provide a fuller analysis of ecosystem services outcomes from different management scenarios. We used an ecosystem service conceptual model as a framework to examine the utility of currently available predictive models for quantifying the effects of fire and timber management on ecosystem services and socioeconomic outcomes.

Changing the Narrative on Fisheries Subsidies Reform: Enabling Transitions to Achieve SDG 14.6 and Beyond

The World Trade Organization is in the final stages of negotiating an agreement to prohibit harmful fisheries subsidies, thereby achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.6. An effective agreement should be viewed as an opportunity for nations to proactively transition towards sustainable and equitable fisheries and pave the path for other SDGs.

Riparian Vegetation as an Indicator of Stream Channel Presence and Connectivity in Arid Environments

Based on a thorough literature review and synthesis of arid region studies, we found key spatiotemporal patterns of arid riparian vegetation that could potentially be used to determine hydrologic connectivity. Much of the vegetation along arid stream channels is well-adapted to water scarcity and varies in response to differences in geomorphology, hydrology, and land use across multiple scales.

Evaluating Options for Enhancing Wholesale Competition and Implications for the Southeastern United States

Given stated stakeholder clean energy and consumer goals, this paper offers a way to evaluate options for enhancing competition, compared to how utilities traditionally operate the electricity grid. The focus here is on wholesale transactions between generators and utilities serving end-use customers. These utilities then sell electricity at retail to their customers, and in many regions including the Southeast, they are state-regulated monopolies responsible for serving their customers at least cost.