wind farm

Climate & Energy

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. It has and will continue to threaten  food security, human health, water availability, and economic activity around the world. Such an unprecedented problem requires innovative new solutions, through research and policy engagement. emLab’s Climate & Energy program approaches climate change using big data and cutting-edge empirical techniques to both understand the consequences of climate change and to design smarter and more equitable climate policies.  

Key Themes

person holding sign that reads "climate justice now" at a rally

Equity and climate justice

Climate change could exacerbate existing inequities, but the need for urgent climate action provides an opportunity to implement climate policies with built-in equity objectives that reverse existing disparities in pollution exposure, energy costs, and employment opportunities along economic, racial, gender, and other dimensions. Our projects aim to understand the distributional consequences of climate change impacts and policies, with the ultimate objective of designing equity-enhancing climate policies. 

Related Projects

factory smokestacks emitting smoke at sunset

Carbon pricing

Carbon pricing - either through a tax or emissions trading - currently covers 20% of global carbon emissions, with new policies arising each year. While such policies have long been textbook examples of cost-effective environmental policies, less is known about how they perform in practice. In addition to studying the cost-effectiveness of these policies, we also examine their equity consequences and various political economy considerations around their adoption. 

Related Projects

group of men installing solar panels

Clean energy transitions

Inducing a major transition to clean energy is a prerequisite for any effective climate policy. But such transitions require large-scale shifts in innovation, how and where energy is produced, and where labor market opportunities reside. Effective climate policies must not only reduce carbon emissions, but must also minimize accompanying economic and social disruptions. Our work in this area focuses on the equity and labor market consequences of clean energy transitions.  

Related Projects

city with smog

Climate change health impacts

The World Health Organization calls climate change the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns raise the risk of heat-related mortality, change spatial patterns of vector-borne diseases like malaria and dengue, and pose an array of threats to infant and child health. We use climate science and economics to quantify how changing environmental conditions associated with climate change impact human health across the globe, with particular focus on identifying the populations that are most at risk.

Related Projects

The social cost of carbon

How are the benefits of new climate policies weighed against the costs of their implementation? Climate economists and scientists have created a value called the social cost of carbon in order to better understand the cost/benefit relationship of climate policies and regulations.

Find out how the social cost of carbon is calculated, how it should, perhaps, be calculated, and why the effort to quantify this value is necessary despite its imperfections with the help of two climate experts, Dr. Tamma Carleton of UC Santa Barbara and Dr. Bob Kopp of Rutgers University.

emLab Blog: Our 2 Cents

Related to

Climate & Energy, General
Climate & Energy, General

In the News

Related to

Clearing the air reduces suicide rates

Harrison Tasoff

The Current

Spikes in air pollution may increase suicide risk

Dennis Normile

Science Magazine