Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Environmental Policy (87 found)

Could there be a turning point for Indonesia’s CO2 emissions?

A recent study showed empirical evidence of a turning point of Indonesia COemissions. According to the findings, COemissions will start to decline as income per capita reaches around $8,000, with profound implication Indonesian energy policy.

Can bonds help Asia achieve renewable energy goals?

A recent study examines the causes behind the financing gap in Asia’s renewable energy sector and proposes bonds as a potential solution.  

Shared solar: The next big thing in renewable energy

The U.S. solar market is rapidly growing, but a number of policy and economic barriers remain. Community solar projects offer a unique solution. 

New science offers insights into the wisdom of Tibetan nomads

The world has long attributed Tibetan wisdom to the Buddhist monks and their teachings, but largely ignored the wisdom of the nomads. Recently, scientists have proven that traditional grazing practiced by these nomads are crucial for Tibetan rangelands, promoting plant diversity and nectar production.

Tackling childhood disease in Rwanda, house by house

Household air pollution and contaminated drinking water are the two leading causes of death among children under the age of five in Rwanda. A recent study investigated the effectiveness of using cookstoves and water filters to improve children’s health.

The power of social media: Reducing financial damages during disasters

Can social media reduce disaster impacts? If so, how much? A recent study successfully explored the influence of social media in reducing financial damages during the 2011 Bangkok flood and quantified the impact. 

Can the Chinese economy take on a renewable energy revolution?

A new study takes a closer look at how large-scale renewable energy development may impact China’s macro-economy.

Can states’ welfare programs be indicators of environmental injustices?

A recent study found correlations between state welfare programs and enforcement of environmental regulations. The author contends that the generousness of welfare programs is a signifier for whether African Americans are viewed as “deserving” of government assistance and benefits, attitudes that translate to better or worse monitoring of polluting facilities and enforcement of environmental regulations.

Wastewater in Delhi: Not all viewpoints are equal

In Delhi, scientists, municipal workers, and people living in unauthorized settlements have vastly different understandings of the city’s wastewater challenges. Using an urban political ecology lens, a new case study links problems of wastewater with the way legitimacy is awarded to competing systems of knowledge in the city. 

It’s time to act against food loss and waste in favor of public’s health

Why is it so hard to reduce the amounts of food  produced and wasted in the United States and around the world? A recent paper examimed the issues at the intersection of public health and food loss and waste.

Why go green? A look into motives for buying green products

Acknowledging the variety of reasons for purchasing environmentally friendly products, researchers conduct a study across the EU to find out the main determinants for buying green.

Green versus gray infrastructure: The economics of flood adaptation in Fiji

Despite their relative obscurity, green infrastructure that incorporates natural processes offers significant economic advantages over conventional gray infrastructure, as demonstrated by a recent study of flood adaptation options in Fiji.

Future scenarios for waste generation: Is a peak coming?

Monitoring global waste generation might help estimate when we might see a peak in waste generation and how this problem should be addressed.  

Healthy planet, healthy you: Investing in new energy solutions proves a boon for health and climate.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy installation produce both public health and climate benefits. These benefits also have significant dollar values that can be estimated using an integrated model assessment, a recent study says. 

Does climate skepticism necessarily mean climate inaction?

Climate skeptics have argued that additional action towards mitigating climate change should not be taken until we know what drives it. A recent paper, however, suggests that skeptics have reason to take action towards emission reduction precisely to understand the drivers of climate change.

Can a ‘climate club’ help solve global warming crisis?

A leading climate economist recently analyzed the projected outcomes of creating an international climate change club. To join the club, countries must agree to put a price on carbon domestically, and to tax imported goods from non-member countries — creating a strong incentive to join the club.

Evaluating Latin American efforts to reduce future emissions

A new study on greenhouse gas emissions trends in Latin American shows that current policy efforts to reduce or prevent those emissions are not enough. The region should prepare for the coming challenges of a new climate agenda.

What is happening with the bees?

The diversity of bees and other pollinator populations has declined, leading to a potential global pollination crisis. Many factors influence this crisis, researchers say, making it necessary to find a variety of solutions. 

Drought and cooperation in a conflict zone

Despite decades of tension, a new case study reveals that Muslim Bedouin herders and Jewish farmers cooperated during the severe drought of 1957 to 1963, offering new insights into how societies deal with environmental changes.

Ethnic migration in protected area landscapes: The causes and consequences

Population growth in the areas near a national park in western Uganda has transformed the landscape surrounding the park. A recent study explores the consequences of this population growth, and the need for appropriate policies to manage how humans interact with the park.

How will future generations remember me? Strengthening climate action by tapping into ‘legacy desires’

Prompting people to think about their legacy and how they can positively impact the lives of future generations results in increased donations to support environmental protection, a new study finds.

What the frack? Gas extraction costs stay local while benefits leave town

Researchers show that shale gas extraction in Denton, Texas bombards local residents with health issues, contaminated water, and nuisance problems while profits, jobs, and other benefits leave with non-local corporations.

‘Negative’ carbon emissions needed to meet 2-degree warming targets

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change has increasingly emphasized the 2 degree C global warming target as a benchmark for future policies and strategies. Through modeling of future scenarios, researchers justify the physical need for negative emissions if this temperature target goal is to be remotely achievable.

The power of neighborhood-scale actions – and urban agriculture – in New Orleans

New research reveals the political potential of neighborhood greening in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, shedding light on the long-term benefits of community-led urban agriculture.

Assessing the environmental burdens of e-waste recycling in China

Every year, 25 million tons of electronic waste are produced around the world and China is receiving most of it. Chinese scientists are exploring the burdens of electronic waste treatment, an increasingly pressing national issue.

Understanding the emergence of China’s environmental courts

From 2007 to 2013 more than 130 environmental courts were established in China. A recent paper examines the political context underlying the establishment of the courts — and exposes their limited role in addressing environmental issues.

Incorporating sustainability into America’s dietary guidelines

The American diet was under debate last fall as part of the run-up to the 2015 release of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Historically, the American diet is harmful to the environment and the people who consume it. With a shift toward a more sustainable food system, this was a promising strategy to heal the planet and ourselves.

Unraveling variability in U.S. opinion on climate change

Although much research shows there are significant differences in public opinion on climate change beliefs, national scale statistics conceal this heterogeneity. Using an approach known as multilevel regression and poststratification, a team of researchers finds significant variability in opinion on important climate-related issues and behaviors at all levels of comparison.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe: Trade offs integral to building resilience in urban areas

New research shows that approaches to building resilience are often over-simplified when put to practice. Trade offs are inherent to decision-making, yet the implications to the long-term resilience of urban areas are often overlooked.

Learning to share: How a network with diverse goals changed the way the Colorado River Delta is governed

A transnational network in the Colorado River Delta successfully shifted governance toward environmental restoration. Through information sharing, capacity building, and rule setting, this network paved the way for science-based solutions and public participation.

What does ecology ‘restoration’ mean? It depends who you ask

Environmental science guides the design of environmental policies and regulations. But what  happens when science does not align with law and policy? A recent study shows that a mismatch between the science of ecological “restoration” and the policy mechanism of environmental interventions has unintended consequences.

Reframing greenhouse gas removal technologies as a viable climate solution

Greenhouse gas removal technologies provide a valuable option to decrease emissions beyond mitigation. While climate policy to this point has not included these important technologies, researchers in the United Kingdom have developed four pillars upon which to reframe the policy approach.

Protecting livelihoods in climate change adaptation

Shocks from climate change are felt by all, but it’s the poorer communities that are more sensitive to these disturbances. A recent study looks critically at the lens through which we view climate adaptation and asks: Are we building a resilience that accounts for the livelihoods of all, including the most vulnerable populations?

Bridging the gap between ecology and law

Environmental management is an interdisciplinary art. One important topic is the relationship between science and policy. A recent article identifies the barriers of integrating ecology and law in environmental management, and proposes “resilience-based adaptive governance” as a way to facilitate integration.

Burning problems: Estimating the social and environmental costs of coal mining in Colombia

Through an in-depth economic analysis of coal mining in Cesar, Colombia, a researcher concludes that the environmental and social costs of coal mining outweighs the coal’s market price — even when the global cost of carbon is not taken into account.

A blueprint for managing water resources through collaboration

Sustainable water management requires collaborative partnerships between diverse stakeholders. A research team describes the range of partnerships possible.

Virtual water flows and trade: The complex relationship between agriculture and water

What can a snapshot of virtual water flows tell us about the agricultural sector? Where is it vulnerable? How does it compare to global virtual water trade?

Using innovation to ‘green’ national accounting

A recent study explores how to value and map ecosystem services in a way that can be consistent with national accounts. 

Sustainable procurement reporting found lacking in India

Public sector enterprises dealing with mining, energy and power sectors of India are weak in reporting environmental elements than economic and development reporting.

Piecemeal nature: fragmented forests show long-term losses in biodiversity and ecosystem services

Analysis of global forest cover reveals that over 70 percent of remaining forests are within 1 kilometer of non-forest edge. Synthesis of long-term studies show that this will result in pervasive loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Updating the ‘planetary boundaries’: A science-based approach to sustainable development

In a recent paper, scientists refined the proposed concept of Earth Systems global thresholds, revising the nine defined Planetary Boundaries 

Energy innovation and emissions reduction strategies overlook the poor

There is a distinct lack of innovation in energy technologies despite the need to curb emissions. Worse yet is the bigger void of innovation geared towards expanding energy access to the world’s poor. A team of experts analyzed the reasons for this gap and outlined potential solutions.

When it comes to offsetting pollution, wind power outperforms solar

New research suggests there are significant differences in the pollution offset by an additional unit of wind power versus solar power. The evidence suggests environmental policy subsidizing renewable energy instead of addressing emissions directly is inefficient and unnecessarily costly.

A story of global pesticide contamination

For the first time, a meta-study shows risks of insecticide exposure to surface waters — even in countries with stricter environmental regulation.

Climate policies lead to higher GDP and employment rates

A new study offers encouraging news about prospective climate policy impacts on employment and GDP. Comparing two scenarios to a “business as usual” model, a team of economists present two scenarios that could achieve the European Union’s emissions reduction target by 2030 and also generate higher GDP and employment rates.

Lessons learned from large-scale river restoration

Public-private partnership approaches to natural resource management are on the rise. Members of the Dolores River Restoration Partnership share how they collectively work toward large-scale river restoration.

In water conservation, a ‘gentle nudge’ can go a long way

While previous studies have shown that social approaches to reduce water use are effective in the short-term, recent findings indicate that the effects are persistent in the long-term as well. 

Validated global estimates of environmental flow requirements

Environmental demands for freshwater have received limited consideration in assessments of global water availability. Until now.

No silver bullet: Addressing urban climate adaptation in the global south

Different planning pathways with innovative and collaborative stakeholder involvement approaches are required to effectively pursue adaptation planning of urban sectors, a recent study found.

Land tenure and agricultural efficiency: The limits of the land rental market

A new study finds that formal ownership of land fails to produce an efficient rental market, highlighting the limitations of this land reform strategy to increase land access in order to reduce farmland expansion into more vulnerable areas.

Protecting the flow: Study explores market scenarios for water

Existing systems for allocating water could leave some rivers high and dry. A recent study explored how a marketplace for water might better protect critical water resources.

Logging causes more forest loss than oil palm in Indonesia

Logging concessions and plantations for fiber species were the biggest contributors to forest loss in Indonesia from 2000-2010, but also comprise the country’s largest existing carbon stocks.

Carrot or stick? Effects of differing incentives in disposable bag use

Taxes on plastic bags are found to be more effective at reducing plastic bag use than bonuses for reusable bags.

Small talk: Addressing challenges to modern day land conservation

Successful land conservation efforts require transparency and collaboration between all individuals involved, a recent analysis found. The first step is for stakeholders to engage in conversation.

Are virtual water calculations helpful in informing regional water policy?

In water scarce regions, the concept of “virtual water” may help communities make tough decisions regarding competing water uses.

Risk financing instruments to minimize impacts of climate extremes

Different types of financing instruments are required to address the impacts and frequency of climate extremes in vulnerable developing countries, a recent analysis finds.

Water crowding, precipitation shifts, and a new paradigm in water governance

Cumulative pressures on the global water cycle threaten social stability. An integrated approach to water management that crosses traditional boundaries between business, political, and ecological systems is required to ensure harmonious social and economic development.

Emergency pleas for energy conservation may have unintended consequences

When the demand for electricity threatens to exceed supply, electric utilities often issue public requests for households to dial down their energy usage during peak hours. A recent study suggests that those appeals may inadvertently have the opposite effect.

The compounding effects of multiple stressors on freshwater environments

Water scarcity intensifies freshwater ecosystem degradation. A new study evaluates the compounding effects of several stressors on water-scarce ecosystems in order to construct better management strategies.

Reducing environmental impact with green buildings

Adherence to three green building code and certifications systems demonstrates on average a 14-percent reduction in the environmental impact of a typical office building, with LEED results displaying worrisomely high variability in performance.

Another one bites the (road) dust: Study shows consequences of particulate matter

Road dust suspected to be the largest contributor to hospital admissions for heart and lung diseases from particulate matter pollutants in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Earth’s biodiversity is declining faster than ever before

Species are going extinct 1,000 times faster than at any point in Earth’s history, and even with protected areas, biodiversity preservation remains sub-optimal due to knowledge gaps and low representation of ecological habitats.

Fracking fluids in the Marcellus: Does it mix with groundwater?

The drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, requires the injection of specific mixtures of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground, a key concern around shale extraction. A recent study examined the movement of these fracturing fluids in groundwater.

Can private land conservation efforts adapt to climate change?

Conservation easements aimed at protecting privately owned land from development are self-limiting in the face of climate change. The time has come for land conservation organizations to reframe strategies that not only stand the test of time, but also a changing climate.

Post-Fukushima: The impacts on Japanese public opinion of nuclear power

A recent paper explores how demographics, cognition and emotions characterize post-disaster opinions of nuclear energy in Japan.

A tale of two rivers: Comparing water management strategies at the Jordan and Colorado rivers

Although exhibited in different ways, similar forces drive water management decisions in Israel and in Arizona. Understanding these motivating factors is crucial when developing successful and effective water management approaches.

Quantifying the primary causes of the urban heat island effect

Regional differences in the impacts of the urban heat island effect across the US are largely explained by variations in efficiency of heat convection to lower atmosphere and strongly influenced by humidity patterns rather than evapotranspiration.

Greening trade agreements:
Environmental impact analysis for policy

Environmental impact assessment of economic policies can help export-oriented countries manage environmental pressures and make smarter trade decisions.

Carbon policies may neglect the interest of water scarce areas

A national carbon policy may exasperate water shortages in the western United States. Yet, the high cost of water reduction in the electricity sector makes it an unlikely candidate for mitigating water consumption in light of climate change and carbon policies. 

Are we heading toward conscious consumption?

A sustainable future lies not only in the hands of individuals, but also in the collective efforts of the society.

Stranded nuclear fuel poses new challenges

Since nuclear fission was discovered in 1938, the world has built many bombs, dropped a few, provided low emission energy, and facilitated the creation of long-lived nuclear waste that currently has nowhere to go

How personality traits are associated with environmental engagement

Scientists find that the Big Five personality traits are related to environmental values and behavior at the individual and national level. Policymakers can use this information to tailor programs and policies to yield changes in environmental behavior. 

Public attitudes towards bike-sharing

Cities can implement effective bicycle-friendly programs by examining how different groups of people view bike transportation

Property tax incentives benefit forest connectivity

Forest property tax incentives are effective tools for ensuring landscape connectivity, yet what type of program forest owners participate in differs by type of forest and owners. Policymakers can use this information to tailor programs and policies to increase forest conservation programs.

A new environmental profession: the knowledge broker

Scientists and policy makers operate under very different time frames and professional priorities. Environmental research organizations should consider hiring knowledge brokers to ensure timely translation of scientific discoveries into regulations.

Measuring progress towards the millennium development goals

Environmental indices such as Yale’s Environmental Performance Index can help monitor progress towards achieving global sustainable development goals despite persistent challenges.

Assessing tools for formalizing property rights

Offering property licenses to “squatter communities” may not make property rights more secure as investment and property markets fail to take newly registered property licenses seriously

How and why environmental issues are neglected

Understanding how and why people fail to recognize the importance of future environmental problems can be used to tailor responses to environmental information problems

Orchids flourish with assisted migration

Assisted migration is hotly debated as an aid for species adapting to climate change, but new research reveals survival success for orchids.

Quantifying the energy paradox: US consumers undervalue future fuel costs by 32 percent

When choosing fuel efficient vehicles, US consumers undervalue future fuel costs by valuing one dollar’s worth of future savings at 76 cents for the present price, a value gap of 32 percent.

Developing national plans of action to protect sharks saves threatened species

Little is known about whether regional shark management plans are robust enough to sustainably manage shark stocks. However, implementing national action plans that adhere to international guidelines and that build on experiences from other fisheries can help save endangered shark species from extinction.

Using Land Use Policy and Zoning to protect environmentally sensitive areas from informal settlements

Scientists examine how zoning and land use policy can protect environmentally sensitive areas at the fringe of the cities from damage by shantytowns. Political and social factors can often cause these policies to fail.

Economic impact of invasives in the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes – our largest global reserve of freshwater – are under attack from invasive species, and a new study provides an estimate of what this will cost us. 

Only three countries lead 60 percent of global environmental technology innovations

Despite capital investment and regulatory initiatives worldwide, international environmental technology transfer between developed and developing country occurs rarely while 60 percent of related innovation is concentrated in 3 countries.

The challenge of solidifying safeguards in REDD+

The policies and measures aiming at reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) have proliferated, resulting in varying interpretations of “safeguards”. Now that REDD+ is maturing, direct trade-offs between monetized emissions reductions and social and biodiversity values call for more explicit regulations in this approach to climate change mitigation.

Economic growth by stricter regulation

More stringent air pollution standards could encourage, rather than restrict, economic growth.