Is America Profiting from Climate Change?

Joint Program Co-Director John Reilly talks about the economics behind climate change and the most cost-effective approaches to confront it.



Testimony to Policymakers

Providing expert testimony to policymakers is a notable event and important mode of communication for the Program. A key aspect of our mission is to provide objective information to the policy-making community that is helpful to their deliberations on global change issues. Responding to requests for testimony enables Program participants to directly communicate insights from their area of expertise and help contribute to improved understanding.

U.S. Congressional Testimony and Correspondence

The True Costs of Alternative Energy Sources: Are We Unfairly Penalizing Natural Gas?
U.S. Joint Economic Committee
April 26, 2012
Michael Greenstone
, Director of The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, participated in a Joint Economic Committee hearing examining the potential impact on the American Consumer due to loss of refining capacity. Greenstone focused on the true cost of alternative forms of energy, taking into account their social (i.e. health) costs. His testimony was based on his recent report, which was reported by the Washington Post. The testimony is available here.

An Open Letter to Congress from U.S. Scientists on Climate Change and Recently Stolen Emails
Decem
ber 4, 2009
Prof. Ronald Prinn and 24 leading U.S. scientists with substantial expertise on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems, our built environment and human well-being, assure policy makers and the public of the integrity of the underlying scientific research and the need for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. In response to the recent controversy dubbed 'Climategate', the scientists seek to set the record straight: The body of evidence that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming is overwhelming. The content of the stolen emails has no impact whatsoever on our overall understanding that human activity is driving dangerous levels of global warming. The letter is available here.

Allocation Issues in Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Systems
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 21, 2009
Prof. Gilbert Metcalf participated in a Hearing on the costs and benefits for energy consumers and energy prices associated with the allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Prof. Metcalf's written testimony is available here. The archived webcast of the hearing and other testimonies presented are available here.

Some Fundamentals of Allowance Allocation
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
October 21, 2009
Dr. Denny Ellerman participated in a Hearing on the costs and benefits for energy consumers and energy prices associated with the allocation of greenhouse gas emission allowances. Dr. Ellerman's written testimony is available here. The archived webcast of the hearing and other testimonies presented are available here.

The Future of Fossil Fuels: Geological and Terrestrial Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources
May 1, 2007
Dr. Howard Herzog participated in a Hearing on carbon capture and sequestration and the future of fossil fuels. Dr. Herzog's written testimony is available here. Other transcripts from the hearing are available here.

The European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
March 26, 2007
Dr. Denny Ellerman participated in a Roundtable Hearing to discuss the progress of the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme and to receive information on lessons learned for policymakers who want to better understand how a market-based trading program could operate efficiently and effectively in the United States. A transcript of the hearing is available here.

Climate Change: A Growing Scientific Impetus for Policy
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means
February 28, 2007
Prof. Ronald Prinn participated in a Hearing on energy and tax policy, the first in a series that focused on climate change. Prof. Prinn's written testimony is available here. Other transcripts from the hearing are available here.

Interpreting the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change
U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
February 13, 2007
Prof. Henry Jacoby participated in a Hearing on the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change, examining the economic impacts of climate change and stabilizing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Prof. Jacoby's written testimony is available here. A transcript of the full hearing is available here.

 

Other examples of testimony to policymakers and advice provided upon request include presentations to:

  • official E.U. bodies, such as the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change to President Barrosso of the European Commission, on emissions trading;
  • non-U.S. governmental bodies, such as the Commission des affaires européennes of the French Assemblée Nationale, on the E.U. ETS;
  • the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, on insights into proposed cap-and-trade systems;
  • the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on the economic analysis capabilities and methodology applied in the Joint Program's work;
  • the Executive Office of the President of the USA, on scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions and atmospheric concentrations;
  • regional groups, such as those working on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative of the Northeastern U.S. (RGGI), on the issue of a safety valve; and
  • state-level associations, such as the California Air Resources Board, on emissions trading and air quality issues, and the Florida legislature, on issues of cellulosic biofuels and climate change mitigation.

Program participants also contribute their expertise in various advisory roles, in response to requests for briefings, and through involvement in steering committees, panels, and professional organizations. Outlets for this type of communication include involvement in national and international bodies such as the U.S. National Academies, the International Panel on Climate Change, and the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program; participation in Synthesis and Assessment activities of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program; as well as myriad informal contacts with government and international agencies, sponsor organizations, NGOs, and fellow researchers.

Geoengineering: Science & Governance

 

 

      An MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and Harvard University Center for the Environment initiative.

About the Seminar Series

Solar geoengineering is the concept of deliberately cooling the Earth by reflecting a small amount of inbound sunlight back into space. It is the only currently known method for reducing temperatures in the short term (years to decades), and therefore has the potential to reduce many of the worst impacts of global warming. But what would be the side effects, both physical and socio-political? How would it work and who gets to decide if it is deployed?  Does humanity have the wisdom and the institutions to govern the development of such a powerful technology in this messy, multi-polar world?
 
This seminar series, held jointly by the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) and MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, will explore the science, technology, governance and ethics of solar geoengineering. In bringing together international experts, participants will learn some of the greatest challenges and hear opinions on how this technology could and should be managed.

Upcoming Events:

April 30th: Lynn Russell, "Eastern Pacific Emitted Aerosol Cloud Experiment: Recent Findings and New Directions" 

To find out about the next event, please visit: http://environment.harvard.edu/geoengineering. Or follow us on Twitter at #HarvMITGeoeng.

 

 

 

 

 

Media Requests

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Vicki Ekstrom
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617-253-3411

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