F&ES’s Gillingham Helps Obama Administration Craft its Climate Strategy

Note: Yale School of the Environment (YSE) was formerly known as the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). News articles and events posted prior to July 1, 2020 refer to the School's name at that time.

During his final State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Obama emphasized the importance of investing in newer, cleaner energy sources as the U.S. and the global community confront climate change. And he touted the growth of renewable energy in businesses and households across the U.S., and steps being taken that will “give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy.”
Gillingham head EEOB 4 Kenneth Gillingham
Among those working closely on these very issues right now is Kenneth Gillingham, an assistant professor of energy and energy economics at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), who is spending a one-year public service leave as the Senior Economist for Energy and the Environment at the White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA). In that role, Gillingham works with the White House climate team to develop strategies to confront climate change and other environmental and energy-related issues.
His one-year appointment began on July 1, 2015.
“So much of this job in Washington involves conducting economic analyses and drawing upon the environmental and economic literature to inform policy,” said Gillingham. “I think I’m well positioned for this because there’s a lot of discussion about the issues that I have been working on and have some expertise in. I’ve done quite a bit on the social costs of carbon and energy efficiency, for instance, and these are among the areas that are important within the broader climate portfolio.”
Gillingham’s research at Yale focuses on energy markets and uses a variety of approaches ranging from structural econometric modeling to field experiments to energy-economic system modeling and economic theory. While his primary appointment is at F&ES, he has secondary appointments in the Yale Department of Economics and the School of Management.
His research at Yale has included field experiments on solar and energy efficiency adoption and econometric models of the effects of policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. In addition, he has worked with William Nordhaus, a Sterling Professor in the Yale Department of Economics and professor at F&ES, and others on examining uncertainty in the realm of climate change.
Gillingham reflected on the work environment at the CEA: “It’s exciting to work with so many high-caliber people. It’s also great to be working on the details of policy at a time when the Administration is very serious about setting targets for climate change and doing everything it can to meet them.”
– Kevin Dennehy    kevin.dennehy@yale.edu    203 436-4842