Publications

Compensatory Mitigation on Federal Lands

This report represents an examination of compensatory mitigation of aquatic resources (i.e., streams and wetlands) on U.S. federal lands through an examination of case studies and a review of the legal landscape in which such mitigation takes place.

Testimony Before the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis— U.S. House of Representatives

Jennifer Chen, Senior Counsel with the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, testifies before the U.S. House of Representatives' Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on June 26, 2019, about how wholesale electricity markets regulated by FERC and operated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs) are a key puzzle piece to decarbonizing the U.S. power sector.

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.

The Financial and Environmental Risks of In Lieu Fee Programs for Compensatory Mitigation

This is a review of a sample of In Lieu Fee (ILF) Programs through an analysis of general incentives created by the ILF Program model, and through drawing on a small sample of ILF Programs as case studies. This review focuses on the incentives created by ILF Programs as a mechanism of compensatory mitigation; while other forms of compensatory mitigation—permittee-responsible mitigation and mitigation banking—are not without their problems, there are intrinsic financial and environmental risks that are unique to ILF Programs. The insights gained from this limited review also demonstrate the need for a systematic review of ILF Programs across the U.S., particularly (a) consistency of CWA ILF Programs since the implementation of the 2008 Mitigation Rule, and (b) emerging ESA ILF Programs and their divergence from best practice principles present in the 2008 Mitigation Rule.

Achieving the Mid-Century Strategy Goals for Deep Decarbonization in Agriculture and Forestry

The U.S. Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization, released in November 2016, calls for the United States to reduce economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. A significant portion of those reductions are to come from the forestry and agricultural sectors. Those reductions will be more difficult and more expensive to achieve if the current U.S. forest sink is not maintained and the greenhouse gas impacts of agriculture are not addressed. This working paper seeks to address those two tasks, first, by presenting a cost distribution of various climate-smart agricultural and forestry practices and an analysis of the geographic distribution of such activities in the United States, and second, by offering policy recommendations to achieve deep greenhouse gas reductions.

Carbon Market Cooperation in Northeast Asia: Assessing Challenges and Overcoming Barriers

China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea are emerging as major players in the global carbon trading landscape. As Northeast Asia's biggest industrial economies, these three countries are connected through deep commercial and trade ties, and shared environmental challenges. There are thus growing calls for these markets to manage differences to build a foundation for more extensive carbon market cooperation. This Asia Society Policy Institute report draws on the expertise of a wide range of scholars and practitioners to help equip policymakers and other stakeholders with information and guidance on the potential of and pathway toward carbon market linkage in Northeast Asia. This volume includes 11 chapters that examine the challenges of and approaches to carbon market cooperation and linkage in Northeast Asia.

Facilitating Markets and Mitigation: A Systematic Review of Early-Action Incentives in the U.S.

Early action refers to activities undertaken prior to a regulatory program or generation of services prior to mitigation of impacts elsewhere. In U.S. environmental markets, early action could reduce lags in environmental performance, improve outcomes, and encourage innovation in mitigation approaches. Multiple tools have emerged for encouraging early action in environmental markets. Several tools have also been deployed in markets, providing valuable insight into their function. This article in Land Use Policy presents a systematic review of early action tools and describes their use in wetland and stream mitigation, species and habitat banking, greenhouse gas mitigation, and water quality trading. 

Fertilizer Management and Environmental Factors Drive N2O and NO3 Losses in Corn: A Meta-Analysis

Effective management of nitrogen (N) in agricultural landscapes must account for how nitrate (NO3) leaching and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions respond to local field-scale management and to broader environmental drivers such as climate and soil. This article in the Soil Science Society of America Journal reflects assemblage of a comprehensive database of fertilizer management studies with data on N2O and NO3 losses associated with 4R fertilizer N management in North American corn-cropping systems. Meta-analysis of side-by-side comparisons found significant yield-scaled N2O emission reductions when SUPERU replaced urea or UAN, and when urea replaced anhydrous ammonia. The large effects of climate and soil, and the potential for opposite reactions to some management changes, indicate that more simultaneous measurements of N2O and NO3 losses are needed to understand their joint responses to management and environmental factors, and how these shape tradeoffs or synergies in pathways of N loss.

Increasing the Engagement of Large Private Forestland Owners in Conservation Management

The involvement of large private and institutional forestland owners in conservation has been recognized as increasingly important for the successful implementation of landscape-scale conservation. However, public and non-governmental organization partners have found engagement of these landowners in conservation planning, management, and implementation to be a significant challenge. The Nicholas Institute for Policy Solutions at Duke University, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., and the U.S. Forest Service hosted three meetings in April, September, and October 2016 to bring together leaders from each of these sectors to brainstorm approaches that could help increase the engagement of large private landowners in conservation. This paper summarizes ideas generated at these “all lands” meetings and provides a few concrete examples of conservation solutions across local and regional scales that could potentially be replicated to encourage large private landowner engagement.

On Morals, Markets, and Climate Change: Exploring Pope Francis’ Challenge

This article in Law and Contemporary Problems explores the contrast between the movement toward environmental markets, characterized by the emergence of new carbon markets across the globe, and the renewed opposition to markets manifested in the pope’s encyclical and the views of some environmental advocates. It considers the arguments raised by these latter critics, explores alternative views of their concerns, and examines how market-based climate policies could be designed to alleviate these concerns. Others have examined the moral and ethical dimensions of market-based climate policies, but this article contributes to the literature by providing a contemporary examination of the papal encyclical’s prominent questioning of the use of markets to address climate change.