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 Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions - February 9, 2015

Upcoming Events
February 20

Durham, NC 

Drivers and Consequences of the Expansion of Mechanized Agriculture in Mato Grosso, Brazil     


February 27

Durham, NC

Adaptive Regulation of Pharmaceuticals


March 20 

Durham, NC 

Post-Treaty Politics: Secretariat Influence in Global Environmental Governance


For information on other upcoming events, visit the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions website


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Our Impact: Carbon Credit Payment Tools for REDD+

Nearly a decade ago, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change introduced the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative to encourage local stakeholders in developing countries to reduce emissions from forest clearings. The idea was to place a financial value on maintaining forest-stored carbon. In the second of our 12-part series highlighting the environmental policy impacts of the Nicholas Institute over its first decade, we describe our contribution to REDD+ carbon credit payment systems and the crediting baseline underlying them.


Ocean and Coastal Policy Program Gets New Director

John Virdin has been appointed the Nicholas Institute's Ocean and Coastal Policy Program director. "John's contributions to the development of the World Bank's oceans portfolio and Global Partnership for Oceans speaks to his ability to engage the heart of ocean and coastal policy with a savvy understanding of the stakeholders and the factors driving their decisions," said Nicholas Institute director Tim Profeta. At the Nicholas Institute, Virdin says the Ocean and Coastal Policy Program will focus on "expanding policy expertise and creating on-demand solutions for better management of ocean and coastal resources."

Implications of Clean Air Act Compliance for North Carolina
A new study of the implications for North Carolina of efforts to meet carbon emissions targets under the U.S. EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan suggests the state will comply through increased switching from coal to natural gas generation, driving down its overall emissions but to a lesser extent than might be expected for several reasons. Alternative zero-emissions investments and increased energy efficiency reduce future natural gas dependence and hedge against natural gas price risk, though potentially at a cost higher than market-based compliance. 

Barriers to Voluntary Conservation Measures under the ESA
A new proceedings highlights findings of a meeting of researchers and representatives from private and federal organizations on stakeholders' experience with voluntary conservation measures under the Endangered Species Act, data gaps that preclude more widespread implementation of such activities, and research necessary to contribute vital information.

Seminar: Climate Impacts on Agriculture
Rapid expansion of Brazil's intensive agricultural system for soybean production provides important lessons for increasing food production and economic growth while limiting deforestation. In the  next Spring 2015 Seminar Series event, Leah K. VanWey, associate professor of sociology and environment and society at Brown University, presents the results of econometric models showing the biophysical and economic drivers of expansion of soy and soy-corn agricultural systems across the state of Mato Grosso from 2001 to 2013.    

Work of DEL Student Is Shaping Energy Policy in Bermuda
When Judith Landsberg began her master of environmental management degree in the Duke Environmental Leadership (DEL) program, she had no idea how far-reaching the impact of her studies would be. Now her master's thesis could influence several aspects of Bermuda's energy policy. Landsberg "identified a problem and has focused her research on finding a practical, fact-based solution," said her thesis advisor Jonas Monast, Climate and Energy Program director. "It's a wonderful example of a student project with a direct policy application."

Power Trip: Students Tour West Campus Steam Plant

During the first Power Tour trip of the spring semester, students and staff from Duke University visited the university's West Campus steam plant, which converted from a coal-fired plant to a gas/oil-fired boiler. Co-sponsored with the Duke University Energy Initiative, the Power Trip series allows Duke students to visit facilities in North Carolina that are on the cutting edge of energy innovation.


The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions helps decision makers create timely, effective, and economically practical solutions to the world's critical environmental challenges.

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University,
 P.O. Box 90335, Durham, NC 27708.