Publications

Climate Change Is Here, but Who Is Paying for It?

State and local governments have advanced their own initiatives on climate change when faced with a failure of federal leadership. This analysis looks at the challenge of costs to states in mitigating and developing resiliency to climate change.

Initial Measures of the Economic Activity Linked to Bangladesh’s Ocean Space, and Implications for the Country’s Blue Economy Policy Objectives

The Government of Bangladesh resolved its maritime boundaries in 2014, resulting in jurisdiction over ocean space equivalent to 80 percent of the country’s terrestrial area. To encourage the development of this area and the resources it contains, the Government embraced the concept of a “blue economy” in its most recent development plan, as a broad label for all ocean-linked economic activities that are environmentally and socially sustainable.

COVID-19 Impacts on Water Utility Consumption and Revenues: Preliminary Results

Preliminary data from five water utilities of different sizes and different climates across the U.S. show variable impacts to consumption and billed revenue in response to the global pandemic. Some utilities saw a decline in primarily non-residential consumption of up to 19% and non-residential billed revenue of up to 8% in April, one full month into the pandemic, relative to April usage and revenue in the past three years. For some utilities, consumption and revenues remained similar to previous years.

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.

Rural Investment: Building a Natural Climate Solutions Policy Agenda that Works for Rural America and the Climate

This report outlines a menu of policy ideas capable of both garnering the necessary support from rural America and helping the U.S. reach its climate goals through natural climate solutions.

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.

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.