October 2020 / Magazine Issues
Issue 205: The Climate Insights 2020 Survey
A Note from RFF’s President about Resources issue 205:
The year to date has included the commemoration of a half century of major environmental landmarks: the Clean Air Act of 1970, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Earth Day. We’re also living in times unprecedented for recent generations of people, with a pandemic that has riven the global economy, farmers hit with both drought and derecho, widespread wildfires, and flooding. Come November, we face an election that—unlike any in recent memory—will impact the future of environmental and energy legislation and regulation.
As such, this issue of Resources features survey results that detail American attitudes about climate change. In its 23rd year, the climate survey continues as a collaboration between researchers at Stanford University and Resources for the Future, along with survey research firm ReconMR. The survey results show that attitudes about climate change have stayed consistent, and the passionate group of people who prioritize climate change mitigation has grown—all in spite of a pandemic that easily could have pushed environmental concerns out of mind as people focused on other crises.
Alongside individual attitudes and behaviors, policy decisions matter greatly for most environmental and economic issues.
- Margaret Walls and Vincent Gonzales consider why so few private dam owners and public programs retire dams, even though dam removal is less expensive than dam maintenance and can ensure public safety more reliably.
- Daniel Raimi discusses the potential for an equitable transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, and how we can benefit by expanding our focus from simply maximizing economic efficiency to including the goals of boosting equity and employment.
- University Fellows Gilbert Metcalf and James Stock provide evidence showing that some prominent perceptions of carbon pricing do not seem to match reality.
- RFF scholars Dallas Burtraw, Marc Hafstead, and Kevin Rennert discuss the relative merits of different legislative strategies in pursuit of ambitious emissions reduction goals.
- Carolyn Kousky shows the creativity of people in finding solutions to vexing problems, suggesting that creating insurance policies for ecosystems can promote conservation.
- Resources Radio podcast guest Michael Toman considers the furthest in outer space that economics can apply.
- RFF Board Member Larry Linden tells us how he’s steered his life and resources toward helping the environment, building on his experience in the financial sector.
Read on, reflect, and be resilient.
Richard G. Newell
President and CEO, Resources for the Future
Articles in this issue
Climate Insights 2020 Survey
Jobs, Equity, and Efficiency: Reconciling Priorities in a Transition to a Clean Energy Economy
Carbon Taxes Do Not Harm Jobs or Economic Growth
Legislative Strategy for Durable Climate Policy
Puns That Only Resources for the Future Could Love
Dismantling Dams Can Help Address US Infrastructure Problems
Underwriting Ecosystems: Using Insurance Policies to Conserve Nature
Space: The Next Great Market Opportunity
Addressing a Global Crisis with Good Science and Sound Policy
What’s at the Top of Your Stack?