RFF President Richard G. Newell kicks off the year with reflections on the 70th anniversary of RFF’s founding and a preview of all to come with RFF research, events, and analysis in the coming year.
On October 7, 1952, Resources for the Future (RFF) became the first think tank dedicated exclusively to environmental and natural resource issues. Since then, the world around us has changed demonstrably—but our commitment to conducting rigorous research and improving decisions related to the environment, energy, and natural resources has not wavered.
Now, 70 years later, we’re reflecting on RFF’s past and looking with optimism toward its future. I’m pleased to announce that in the coming year, RFF will celebrate the legacy of our past seven decades with new research, events, blog posts, magazine issues, and more.
To kick off the year, we will host a new event, “Big Decisions in the Year Ahead,” which will discuss the major issues related to energy, climate, and environmental policy that are on our radar for the coming year. The event will build on our Big Decisions podcast series, in which RFF Board of Directors Chair Sue Tierney and I talked to energy and environmental policy experts in advance of the 2020 presidential election.
The federal government is expected to announce an updated estimate of the social cost of carbon (SCC) early this year. RFF scholars have been hard at work with collaborators, assessing how the SCC should consider economic growth, population, greenhouse gas emissions, and the future impacts of climate change. And just as RFF is looking toward the future of energy and environmental policy, scholars have been considering potential changes to the discount rate—a measure of a society’s preference for valuing benefits more when those benefits are received sooner rather than later—which could significantly influence the final SCC estimate. Upcoming research from a team of RFF scholars will offer guidance to the federal government’s interagency working group on revising the SCC and updating the measure based on scientific and regulatory best practices. Stay tuned for timely news on this front very soon in the new year.
We’ll also be releasing three themed Resources magazine issues throughout the year, each of which will commemorate RFF’s 70th anniversary from a unique perspective. An issue coming this February will consider RFF’s past, with stories from the magazine archive alongside contemporary perspectives. The summer issue will dive into RFF’s present, which will celebrate the people of RFF alongside reflections on challenging contemporary research and policy issues. And a final issue of the year in the fall will explore the future of the environment, climate, energy—all the pressing issues that will drive RFF for decades to come.
In October, RFF will host a summit that will explore the transformational decisionmaking and solutions needed to curb climate change and deliver an economically prosperous future. More details on this summit, including speakers and themes, are forthcoming. I hope you’ll join us for these conversations as a diverse set of decisionmakers and innovators weigh the actions needed to ensure a healthy planet and a thriving economy.
Plus, expect more from RFF researchers as we respond to rapidly evolving policy proposals; host events with the world’s leading thinkers; continue our innovative research; and help drive the design of effective, efficient, and equitable environmental and energy decisions for years into the future. Thank you for helping RFF build a healthy environment and thriving economy for another 70 years and counting.