Publications

Getting to Yes: Internal Preparations—State Carbon Trading Checklist for a Meeting with the Governor

Public attention focuses on a policy once a governor makes a formal announcement and sets the debate in motion. However, much of the work happens before that moment, in conversations among state officials and their staff, and with key stakeholders. This memo is intended to support the work of “getting to yes” on a policy—in this case, a declining cap (and trade) program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions—once internal leadership has decided it is worth exploration.

Trends in Measuring Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Mitigation Quantification Methodologies

Over the last decade, efforts to use compensatory mitigation to manage and ameliorate the impacts of development on biodiversity and ecosystems around the world have accelerated. Mitigation mechanisms provide a structured way to advance economic development and infrastructure while also achieving environmental goals. In order to operationalize mitigation programs, practitioners need a methodology for calculating or quantifying impacts and offsets (debits and credits). The methods currently employed in the U.S. and abroad are extremely varied. Surprisingly, the literature on best practices or standards for developing science-based approaches to the quantification of impacts and offsets is sparse and there is also no single broadly accepted best practice guidance.

Are There Benefits to Integrating Corporate Health and Environmental Strategies? An Exploration of the Food/Agriculture and Textile Sectors

Businesses impact environmental determinants of health and can play an important role in creating integrated approaches for promoting a healthy environment. This report describes the ways in which the food/agriculture and textile sectors affect environmental conditions that are associated with health risks and assesses how companies are tracking and addressing these interconnected issues.

Research Agenda on Electricity Access and Productive Use

On February 21, 2019, Duke University’s Energy Access Project and Oxfam cohosted a meeting of approximately 60 energy practitioners and researchers to discuss the role of electricity access in spurring productive use. A motivation for this convening was a paper, produced by Oxfam, which had been confounded by the mixed findings on the impact of electrification on productive use.

Harnessing Competition in a Transitioning Electricity System: Opportunities for Traditional Cost-of-Service States

Cost-of-service states with vertically integrated utilities can manage a rapidly changing electricity sector by expanding opportunities for competition, even while maintaining the traditional vertically integrated utility. In fact, competition has been deployed successfully by cost of service states to meet customer needs, bring down costs, and encourage innovation.

Managing Rivers Under Changing Environmental and Societal Boundary Conditions, Part 1: National Trends and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoirs

Most major rivers in the United States are managed by a system of reservoirs; many of which were built more than a half century ago. These reservoirs were designed based on environmental, societal, and regulatory assumptions at the time of construction. Since then, we have learned that climate is not stationary, population growth is being decoupled from energy needs and water demand, and new regulations (such as the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act) affect how river systems are managed.

Managing Rivers Under Changing Environmental and Societal Boundary Conditions, Part 2: Expected Compared With Experienced Conditions at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reservoirs

Reservoirs are critical infrastructure typically built to function as designed for 50 to 100 years. The majority of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs are more than 50 years old. The environmental, societal, and regulatory conditions surrounding the reservoir, that is, the reservoir's expected conditions, shaped its design. Many of these expectations assumed a future similar to the past. However, recent decades have experienced warming climates, cyclical changes in precipitation, the introduction of new regulations, and populations concentrating in urban environments.

Southeast Electric Vehicle Regional Strategy

Throughout the Southeast, state and local leaders are recognizing the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) and beginning to develop goals and strategies to increase EV penetration. Regional collaboration will be an important aspect of the EV build-out to truly offer expanded transportation options for families and corporate fleets, especially when travel crosses state lines.

State Participation in Resource Adequacy Decisions in Multistate Regional Transmission Organizations

The fight over which resources power the grid and how much is required has intensified as flattening electricity demand, low natural gas prices, and preferences for non-emitting technologies push less efficient power plants to retire. The focus has been on substantive solutions, and most recently on attempting to “accommodate” state energy policies in the regional electricity markets—with disappointing results to states, consumer advocates, and clean energy businesses. Missing from this debate is process reform.

Measuring and Managing the Unknown: Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Value Chain

Tracking and reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations needs an innovative approach, according to new report from the C.D. Howe Institute. In “Measuring and Managing the Unknown: Methane Emissions from the Oil and Gas Value Chain” authors Sarah Marie Jordaan and Kate Konschnik highlight the growing pressure on industry and policymakers to address the “unknown” factor in greenhouse gas emissions and propose a regulatory approach that remains open to new technologies.