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Land, Energy, and Climate

GDAE’s program in Land, Energy, and Climate, under the direction of GDAE Co-Director Dr. William Moomaw, seeks to apply tools of scientific and economic analysis to pressing problems of the biosphere. The articles and reports below cover the following issues:

The research program builds on earlier work on climate change and cost-benefit analysis by GDAE Research Fellows Frank Ackerman and Liz Stanton. See Dr. Ackerman's website for additional publications.

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Recent Publications

To curb climate change, we need to protect and expand US forests, William R Moomaw, The Conversation, May 2017

The Great American Stand: U.S. Forests and the Climate Emergency, William Moomaw & Danna Smith, Dogwood Alliance, March 2017

Hope Below Our Feet: Soil as a Climate Solution, Climate Policy Brief #4, April 2017

Soils, Forests, and Biomass Policy

Soil4Climate LogoWe are working in collaboration with Soil4Climate on research and education concerning ecological restoration and carbon storage in soils, forests, and wetlands.

To curb climate change, we need to protect and expand US forests, William R Moomaw, The Conversation, May 8, 2017. Reprinted by World Economic Forum, CBS News, Salon and Huffington Post.

Hope Below Our Feet: Soil as a Climate Solution, Climate Policy Brief #4, April 2017

The Great American Stand: U.S. Forests and the Climate EmergencyThe Great American Stand: U.S. Forests and the Climate Emergency, William Moomaw & Danna Smith, Dogwood Alliance, March 2017

Executive Summary
Related piece on AlterNet by Danna Smith
Related piece on The Conversation by William Moomaw

Meeting the Paris Goals: Clean Energy, Forests, and Soils, William Moomaw, Presentation at International Society for Ecological Economics 2016, Washington, DC

Forests, Soils, Grasslands and Wetlands: Key Allies in Meeting Climate Goals, Climate Policy Brief #3, April 2016

Letter to Congress on forest biomass carbon neutrality, William Moomaw joined a group of 65 researchers to express concern over the implications of Senate Amendment 3140 to the Energy Policy Modernization Act, February 22, 2016. This story was covered by the Washington Post and The New York Times.

Brief of Amici Curiae Dr. William R. Moomaw, Alternatives for Community and the Environment, and the Town of Duxbury in the case of ISABEL KAIN & others vs. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. 474 Mass. 278, December 28, 2015

Add Carbon Sinks to the Climate Treaty, Interview with William Moomaw, National Journal, May 23, 2015

Trees in the Tundra, a multimedia story featuring William Moomaw, Earthwatch Institute, April 2015

Letter to US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on biomass policy
, William Moomaw joined 77 other scientists in signing this letter, February 9, 2015. This story was covered by the Washington Post.


Paris and Beyond

The COP-21 climate talks in Paris represent a watershed moment for global climate policy. There is a widespread awareness of the urgent need to avoid the planetary catastrophes that would result from unrestrained carbon emissions. At the same time, technological progress has improved prospects for a rapid transition away from carbon-based fuels. Countries have prepared national commitments (INDCs or “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions”), which, whether adequate or inadequate, represent a start to global coordination on carbon emissions reduction. GDAE presents the following materials to address issues in climate science and economic policy.

Paris Talks Get Underway, Anne-Marie Codur and Jonathan Harris, Climate Policy Brief #1, Dec 2015

After Paris: The New Landscape for Climate Policy, Anne-Marie Codur, William Moomaw, and Jonathan Harris, Climate Policy Brief #2, Feb 2016

Radio Interviews: Dr. Moomaw comments on Paris negotiations: A major move forward, but much work remains to reach needed targets. Listen on BBC Radio 5 (start at minute 9:30) and WBUR's Here & Now

Reddit AMA:
Dr. Moomaw participates in an "Ask Me Anything" discussion on climate change


Agriculture, Food, and Ecosystems

A multiple metrics approach to prioritizing strategies for measuring and managing reactive nitrogen in the San Joaquin Valley of California, Ariel I Horowitz, William R Moomaw, Daniel Liptzin, Benjamin M Gramig, Carson Reeling, Johanna Meyer, Kathleen Hurley, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 6, June 13, 2016

Charting a New Course for the OceansCharting a New Course for the Oceans, William Moomaw & Sara Blankenship, CIERP Discussion Paper (10), Water and Oceans Program, CIERP, The Fletcher School, April 2014.

Climate Impacts on Agriculture: A Challenge to Complacency?, Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth A. Stanton, GDAE Working Paper 13-01, February 2013

UNEP Global Food Consumption CoverThe Critical Role of Global Food Consumption Patterns in Achieving Sustainable Food Systems and Food for All, A UNEP Discussion Paper William Moomaw, Timothy Griffin, K. Kurczak, J. Lomax, United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, Paris, France, 2012.

Envrionmental Science & TechnologyWhy Metrics Matter: Evaluating Policy Choices for Reactive Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Birch, Melissa B.L.; Gramig, Benjamin M.; Moomaw, William R.; Doering, Otto C. III; and Reeling, Carson J., Environmental Science & Technology 45, 168-174, 2011.


Sustainable Development Diplomacy

A major research focus is on Sustainable Development Diplomacy, which aims to solve problems through innovative technologies, policies and practices that provide required services by less environmentally damaging means, and implementation of restorative development actions to restore lost ecosystem functions. Included below are the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports on which Dr. Moomaw served as a lead author.

William MoomawWhat kind of Arctic do we need?
Dr. William Moomaw spoke in the session "What kind of Arctic do we need?" organized by the Woods Hole Research Center at the 2016 Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland in October 2016.

William MoomawHow Restorative Development Can Address Climate Change [Video interview]
On September 13, 2016, the Forum Network, a public media service of WGBH, interviewed Dr. William Moomaw on the link between industrial agriculture, especially synthetic fertilizers, and unprecedented damage to our soil, water, and atmosphere. He argues that the only viable option for recovering the health of these systems is restorative development.

Sustainable Development Diplomacy: Diagnostics for the Negotiation and Implementation of Sustainable Development, William R. Moomaw, Rishikesh Ram Bhandary, Laura Kuhl, Patrick Verkooijen, Global Policy, July 26, 2016

TTIP vs. Climate Policy: What is at Risk? Frank Ackerman, GDAE Globalization Commentary, December 1, 2015 (also available in German)

Creating Mutual Gains CoverCreating a Mutual Gains Climate Regime through Universal Clean Energy Services, William Moomaw and Mihaela Papa, CIERP Discussion Paper 6, Sustainable Development Diplomacy and Governance Program, CIERP, The Fletcher School, May 2012. 
Also published in Climate Policy, January 2012: DOI:10.1080/14693062.2011.644072

IPCC SRREN 2011Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2011. Renewable Energy Technology and Climate Change Mitigation Working Group 3.
William Moomaw was a coordinating lead author of Chapter 1, Renewable Energy and Climate Change, and a lead author of Summary for Policy Makers, Technical Summary, Annex I: Glossary, Acronyms, Chemical Symbols and Prefixes, and Annex II Methodology.

IPCC 2007Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2007. Contribution of Working Group III, Mitigation, to the Fourth Assessment Report, 2007. B. Metz, O.R. Davidson, P.R. Bosch, R. Dave, L.A. Meyer (eds), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.
William Moomaw was a lead author in Chapter 4 Energy Supply.

IPCC 2001Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Contribution of Working Group III, Mitigation, to the Third Assessment Report, 2001.
William Moomaw was coordinating lead author of Chapter 3, Technological and Economic Potential of Greenhouse Gas Reductions, and a lead author of Summary for Policy Makers and Technical Summary.


The Costs of Inaction:
This series of studies focuses on different geographic areas to estimate the locally specific costs of climate inaction.
Caribian Climate CoverThe Caribbean and Climate Change: The Costs of Inaction, Ramón Bueno, Cornelia Herzfeld, Elizabeth A. Stanton, and Frank Ackerman, June 2008.

The Cost of Climate Change: What We’ll Pay if Global Warming Continues Unchecked, by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth A. Stanton, May 2008.

Florida and Climate Change:  The Costs of Inaction,
by Elizabeth A. Stanton and Frank Ackerman; report commissioned by Environmental Defense, November 2007.


Studies for Friends of The Earth
Frank Ackerman and Liz Stanton worked closely with the Friends of the Earth – England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the following series of papers

Heathrow Report CoverOut of the Shadows: What’s Behind DEFRA’s New Approach to the Price of Carbon by Elizabeth A. Stanton and Frank Ackerman, July 2008.

Generated User Benefits and the Heathrow Expansion:  Understanding Consumer Surplus, by Elizabeth A. Stanton and Frank Ackerman, July 2008.

Critique of Cost-Benefit Analysis, and Alternative Approaches to Decision-Making, by Frank Ackerman, January 2008.

Debating Climate Economics: The Stern Review vs. Its Critics, by Frank Ackerman. Report to Friends of the Earth-England, Wales and Northern Ireland, July 2007.

Climate Change - The Costs of Inaction, by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth Stanton. Report released with Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, October 2006.


Waste, Recycling, and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
This series of papers includes academic publications on the climate benefits of recycling and a survey of international carbon emissions from waste management systems for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.


Additional Publications
Climate-Resilient Industrial Development Paths: Design Principles and Alternative Models, Lyuba Zarsky, GDAE Working Paper 10-01, February 2010


Can We Afford the FutureCan We Afford the Future? The Economics of a Warming World, Frank Ackerman, Zed Books, 2009.

In this book, Frank Ackerman offers a refreshing look at the economics of climate change, explaining how the arbitrary assumptions of conventional theories get in the way of understanding this urgent problem. The benefits of climate protection are vital but priceless, and hence often devalued in cost-benefit calculations. 

Bill and Margo Moomaw in front of houseGood Day Sunshine, Berkshire Living home + garden, 2008

This article features William and Margot Moomaw’s solar-powered house, and includes a variety of photographs

See also A House That Costs Nothing to Run, from a Business Week Special Report: A Low-Cost Energy Future, September 20, 2005

The Economics of 350: The Benefits and Costs of Climate Stabilization, by Frank Ackerman, Elizabeth A. Stanton, et. al., Report produced for Economics for Equity and Environment, October 2009.

Hot, It’s Not: Reflections on Cool It!, by Bjorn Lomborg, by Frank Ackerman, Climatic Change, Volume 89, Issue 3-4, August 2008.

Law and Economics for a Warming World, by Lisa Heinzerling and Frank Ackerman; Harvard Law and Policy Review volume 1, no. 2, 2007, pp.331-362.

The Carbon Content of Japan-US Trade, by Frank Ackerman, Masanobu Ishikawa, and Mikio Suga; Energy Policy, volume 35 no. 9, September 2007, pp.4455-4462.

The Economics of Inaction on Climate Change: A Sensitivity Analysis,
by Frank Ackerman and Ian Finlayson; Climate Policy, volume 6 no. 5 (2006), pp.509-526.  An earlier version of this article appeared as GDAE Working Paper 06-07. October, 2006.

Can Climate Change Save Lives? A comment on ‘Economy-wide estimates of the implications of climate change: Human health’, by Frank Ackerman and Elizabeth A. Stanton; Ecological Economics, volume 66 (2008), pp. 8-13.  An earlier version of this article appeared as GDAE Working Paper 06-05. September, 2006.


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