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Robert N. Stavins

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Littauer 306
Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
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Cambridge, MA, 02138

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Robert N. Stavins

Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program

Chair, Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group

Chairman, Ph.D. Programs in Public Policy and Political Economy & Government

Co-Chair, Kennedy School-Harvard Business School Joint Degree Programs

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 495-1820
Fax: (617) 496-3783
Email: robert_stavins@hks.harvard.edu
Website: http://www.stavins.com
Publications: http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~rstavins/cvweb.html

 

Experience

Robert N. Stavins is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, and Co-Chair of the  Harvard Business School-Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and Director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements. He is a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, Co-Editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, and a Member of: the Board of Academic Advisors of the Regulatory Markets Center, the Board of Directors of the Robert and Renée Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Editorial Boards of Resource and Energy Economics, Climate Change Economics, Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Environmental Economics Abstracts, Environmental Law and Policy Abstracts, B.E. Journals of Economic Analysis & Policy, and Economic Issues. He is also a Vice-President of the American Association of Wine Economists, an editor of the Journal of Wine Economics, and the Chair of the Expert Advisory Board of the Harvard Alumni Alliance for the Environment.

He was elected a Fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in 2009.  He was formerly Editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, a member of the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future, the Scientific Advisory Board of the Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, the Editorial Board of Land Economics, The Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, the Board of Directors of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, a member and Chair of the Environmental Economics Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Science Advisory Board, a member of the Executive Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board, the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, a member of the Executive Committee of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, a Lead Author of the Second and Third Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and a contributing editor of Environment.  He holds a B.A. in philosophy from Northwestern University, an M.S. in agricultural economics from Cornell, and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard.

Professor Stavins research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy, including examinations of: market-based policy instruments; regulatory impact analysis; innovation and diffusion of pollution-control technologies; environmental benefit valuation; policy instrument choice under uncertainty; competitiveness effects of regulation; depletion of forested wetlands; political economy of policy instrument choice; and costs of carbon sequestration. His research has appeared in the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Journal of Economic Literature, Science, Nature, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Ecology Law Quarterly, Journal of Regulatory Economics, Journal of Urban Economics, Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Resource and Energy Economics, The Energy Journal, Energy Policy, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment, Explorations in Economic History, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, other scholarly and popular periodicals, and several books. He is the co-editor of Post-Kyoto International Climate Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2009), Architectures for Agreement: Addressing Global Climate Change in the Post-Kyoto World (Cambridge University Press, 2007), editor of the fourth, fifth, and sixth editions of Economics of the Environment (W. W. Norton, 2000, 2005, 2012), co-editor of Environmental Protection and the Social Responsibility of Firms (Resources for the Future, 2005), editor of The Political Economy of Environmental Regulation (Edward Elgar, 2004), co-editor of the second edition of Public Policies for Environmental Protection (Resources for the Future, 2000), and the author of Environmental Economics and Public Policy: Selected Papers of Robert N. Stavins, 1988-1999 (Edward Elgar, 2000) and Economics of Climate Change and Environmental Policy: Selected Papers for Robert N. Stavins, 2000-2011 (Edward Elgar, 2013).

Professor Stavins directed Project 88, a bi-partisan effort co-chaired by former Senator Timothy Wirth and the late Senator John Heinz, to develop innovative approaches to environmental and resource problems. He continues to work closely with public officials on matters of national and international environmental policy. He has been a consultant to the National Academy of Sciences, the Presidents Council on Sustainable Development, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Council of Economic Advisers, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and Interior, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Members of Congress, the Environmental Defense Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme, state and national governments, and private foundations and firms.

Prior to coming to Harvard, Stavins was a staff economist at the Environmental Defense Fund; and before that, he managed irrigation development in the Middle East, and spent four years working in agricultural extension in West Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. His wife, Joanna Stavins, is an Economist in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. They have two children, Daniel and Julia.

Stavins' Resume with Lists of Publications and Working Papers

Return to Stavins' Home Page

 

 

By Date

 

2015

Summer 2015

"From the Ground Up: the Value of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is Coming into Clear Focus"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Harvard Kennedy School magazine

By Susannah Ketchum Glass and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"We insist on being policy-relevant but not policy-prescriptive," Stavins says. "And that is something the negotiating teams appreciate. Whereas many groups have an ax to grind, we do not; we just want to help them understand the nature and dimensions of specific issues and how they can address them."

 

 

CC-BY-SA-3.0

August 8, 2015

"Pitching Divestment as a 'Moral' Crusade is Misguided"

Op-Ed, The New York Times

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"What really matters for addressing climate change is enlightened public policy at the international, national and sub-national levels. In particular, it will take serious, economy-wide, carbon-pricing regimes — either carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems — to bring about meaningful reductions in carbon dioxide emissions."

 

 

March 2015

"What Can an Economist Possibly Have to Say about Climate Change?"

Policy Brief

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Robert Stavins argues for an economic approach to solving environmental problems and explains why "environmental economics" is not an oxymoron.

 

 

2015

"Linkage of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Systems: Learning from Experience"

Journal Article, Climate Policy

By Matthew Ranson and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

The last ten years have seen the growth of linkages between many of the world's cap-and-trade systems for GHGs, both directly between systems, and indirectly via connections to credit systems such as the Clean Development Mechanism. If nations have tried to act in their own self-interest, this proliferation of linkages implies that for many nations, the expected benefits of linkage outweighed expected costs. In this article, the authors draw on the past decade of experience with carbon markets to examine why systems have demonstrated this revealed preference for linking.

 

 

Wikimedia CC

January 29, 2015

"A Breakthrough Climate Accord in Lima but a Tough Road to Paris"

Op-Ed, Conversation

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"...Lima is important because it calls for long-term action and has broad geographic participation. That is a sound foundation for ultimate success."

 

2014

December 10, 2014

"Spurring the Rest of the Planet"

Op-Ed, Politico

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"China's and America's commitments create a sufficient foundation for meaningful future steps among the entire global community, beginning with the 2015 Paris agreement that is being drafted in Lima over the next two weeks. With the announced Chinese and American national determined contributions, the future Paris agreement would include countries that together account for more than 40 percent of global carbon emissions. With Europe already on board, the total amounts to more than 50 percent of the world's emissions."

 

 

November 24, 2014

"Should Endowments Divest Their Holdings in Fossil Fuels? No: The Symbolic Act Would Achieve Little and Cost Much"

Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"...[E]ven if divestment were to reduce the industry's financial resources, this would only serve to reduce fossil-fuel companies' efforts to develop emissions-cutting technologies such as carbon capture and storage. It also could slow development of new renewable energy sources by fossil-fuel companies pursuing sensible diversification strategies. Also, keep in mind that a major reason for recent declines in U.S. carbon emissions is our increased use of natural gas (a fossil fuel) instead of coal to generate electricity."

 

 

November 2014

"An Assessment of the Energy-Efficiency Gap and its Implications for Climate-Change Policy"

Discussion Paper

By Todd D. Gerarden, Richard G. Newell, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Improving end-use energy efficiency—that is, the energy-efficiency of individuals, households, and firms as they consume energy—is often cited as an important element in efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Arguments for improving energy efficiency usually rely on the idea that energy-efficient technologies will save end users money over time and thereby provide low-cost or no-cost options for reducing GHG emissions. However, some research suggests that energy-efficient technologies appear not to be adopted by consumers and businesses to the degree that would seem justified, even on a purely financial basis.

 

 

November 2014

"Facilitating Linkage of Heterogeneous Regional, National, and Sub-National Climate Policies Through a Future International Agreement"

Discussion Paper

By Daniel Bodansky, Seth Hoedl, Gilbert E. Metcalf and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Linkage among emissions-reduction systems can reduce cost and advance equity, enhancing the chances for success of a new 2015 climate agreement.

 

 

Thomas Kohler, MCC/ZEW

Fall/Winter 2014 - 15

"Climate Change Agreement Takes Center Stage"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Sharon Wilke, Associate Director of Communications and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

The international agreement on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change to be determined in Paris in December 2015 is “the greatest opportunity the world has had in 20 years to make meaningful progress on this exceptionally challenging issue,” Harvard Project on Climate Agreements (HPCA) Director Robert Stavins said in a Boston Globe op-ed in September. Stavins was in New York City during the week of the United Nations Climate Summit, which included numerous side events and a march that attracted several hundred thousand Americans calling for serious climate actions.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.