As 2020 comes to a well-anticipated close, the editorial team at Resources for the Future (RFF) has compiled some of our most notable blog posts and Resources Radio episodes from the past year. Peruse this list of popular publications to catch up on the recent RFF research that’s struck a chord with our readers.
Senior Research Associate Kathryne Cleary examines the nuance behind a controversial December 2019 order by the Federal Energy Regulation Commission, which directs the electric grid operator PJM to significantly expand its minimum offer price.
Newsletter: Environmental Impacts of Social Distancing, National Parks Closed Amid Pandemic, and More
We’ve become well familiar with the benefits of social distancing on human health during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what about environmental health? This edition of “On the Issues” breaks down a recent study from the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment that examines the impacts of quarantine and social distancing on the environment.
Blog post: A Close Look at the New Report from the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
At more than 7,500 words, our take on the House Select Committee’s “Solving the Climate Crisis” report isn’t a beach read, but it is a comprehensive examination of the 500-page congressional report. Eleven RFF scholars weigh in on what could work, what’s new, and what’s missing.
Podcast episode: The Challenge of Diversity in the Environmental Movement, with Dorceta Taylor
In light of the continuing injustice and violence against people of color, this summer Resources Radio chose to re-air a 2019 episode with University of Michigan Professor Dorceta E. Taylor about issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the environmental movement.
Blog post: What’s Going Down with Oil Prices: Implications for US Oil-Producing Regions
2020 has inflicted lasting scars on oil and gas markets. Global oil markets plummeted this spring in the first of several drops in demand, and with this article, RFF Fellow Daniel Raimi examines the implications for American oil country.
Magazine article: Looking Back at 50 Years of the Clean Air Act of 1970
2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1970 amendments to the Clean Air Act, arguably the most far-reaching environmental statute enacted in the United States. In this Resources article, several RFF scholars discuss the costs and benefits of the Clean Air Act and the effect of this landmark legislation on the economy and public health. You can read more about the Clean Air Act—and the legacies of the US Environmental Protection Agency and Earth Day, which also turned 50 this year—in the May issue of Resources magazine.
Podcast episode: The Value of a Statistical Life and Coronavirus, with Alan Krupnick
The “value of a statistical life” reentered the public conversation this year as US politicians and analysts debated when to reopen the economy. RFF Senior Fellow Alan Krupnick discusses the origins and uses of the value of a statistical life, and explains why he thinks the concept is ill suited for discussions that consider the ideal policy responses to the coronavirus pandemic.
Magazine article: Climate Insights 2020 Survey
This year’s confluence of a global pandemic, natural disasters, and protests for racial justice has forced the United States to grapple with major issues that have captivated the nation. This summer, researchers at Stanford University, RFF, and survey research company ReconMR conducted a survey to assess American opinions on climate change. The results show that climate change beliefs have become increasingly entrenched, but a growing number of Americans care deeply about the issue and support efforts to mitigate its effects.
This summer, the Great American Outdoors Act cleared both chambers of Congress and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. In addition to allocating billions of dollars to a five-year fund to address the national parks’ maintenance backlog, the bill guarantees $900 million annually for new parks and conservation efforts. Drawing from their recently published research, RFF’s Matthew Ashenfarb and Margaret Walls discuss how directing funds toward the national parks system could help to create jobs in rural “gateway communities” that have been hard hit by the COVID-induced recession.
Podcast episode: Getting Filled in on the Grand Ethiopian Dam, with Annalise Blum
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, a hydropower project along the Blue Nile, is expected to double Ethiopia’s power generation capacity and boost its economy—but Egypt says the dam is an “existential threat” that would grant Ethiopia significant control over Egypt’s water supply. Water policy expert Annalise Blum discusses the ongoing construction of the reservoir and the geopolitical tensions that have arisen because of it.
With the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, the newly passed Energy Act of 2020, and much more, this year has been packed with policy decisions that will shape the trajectory of our energy future. In this podcast episode, host Daniel Raimi leads a discussion on some of the most significant developments in energy and environmental policy, replete with predictions for how the federal approach to climate change might shift under the incoming Biden administration.