Making a swift and equitable transition to a sustainable economy will require a major shift in how we think about our economy and its proper role in society and a series of well thought out steps for transforming the governance, structure, and activities of public and private institutions. To this end, we work on the mechanics of the transition by identifying key attributes of the New Economy and developing public policies and policy analysis tools that enhance rather than deplete natural, human, social and physical capital.
Some recent examples of our public policy work include:
Economic Benefits of Forest Restoration In the Signal Peak Assessment Area, Gila National Forest - Phase I: Framework for Analysis.
For Restoration Technologies Group and the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance CSE developed a framework for calculating the net public benefits of forest restoration investments by public land management agencies using the Signal Peak Assessment Area as a case study. The framework can be used by public land managers to distinguish between forest restoration proposals that may cause more economic harm than good and those that generate net benefits in the form of improved wildlife habitat, watershed condition, lower fire risk and higher property values in nearby communities. CSE is working with partners to secure funding for implementation of the framework in the context of forest restoration projects eligible for funding under the Obama Administrationâ€™s green stimulus package. Read:
Economic Openness and Green GDP, John Talberth and Alok Bohara.
Using green GDP measures such as the Genuine Progress Indicator and Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare we demonstrated that contrary to the preponderance of econometric studies in the literature, economic openness (globalization) has a detrimental effect on welfare when the volume of trade exceeds a certain threshold. The paper was recently published in Ecological Economics. Read:
Coal-to-liquids a bad investment for Alaska's energy future
Economic Feasibility of Coal to Liquids Development in Alaska’s Interior. The Northern Alaska Environmental Center retained CSE to provide an independent critique of two economic studies published by the National Energy Technology Lab and Hatch, Ltd. in support of coal-to-liquids plants in the Fairbanks region. The study considered CTL development from a net public benefits perspective, and concluded that economic feasibility is highly unlikely because the net present value of public investments are likely to be well less than zero and benefit-cost ratios well less than one. CSE’s report considered all relevant public and private costs, including natural resource damages, carbon emissions, and public subsidies – costs excluded from both the NETL and Hatch reports. The CSE report also corrected inaccurate assumptions contained in the economic analysis such as 100% plant availability and coal prices significantly less than what is being quoted by the coal supplier. Read:
Stimulating the Green Industry Transition, a Policy Brief
In a world of increasing resource scarcity, climate change, pollution, and depletion of natural capital, economic growth must increasingly rely on clean and efficient production processes to be sustained. Green industry is a concept used to capture this reality. CSE teamed up win economist Erin Gray to prepare a policy brief for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to help countries understand the range of regulatory, taxation, expenditure, and institutional-based policy options they should consider to advance the green industry transition. Read:
The Economic Value of Coastal Ecosystems in California
CSE's Nejem Raheem and John Talberth led a study prepared for California's Ocean Protection Council (OPC) describing the range of ecosystem service values important for sound decision making in the coastal zone. OPC is investigating ways to incorporate non-market values into legislative proposals, budget change proposals, and regulatory and permitting processes. Specific policy settings ripe for consideration of ecosystem services and other non-market values include decisions about establishment of marine protected areas, offshore aquaculture, coastal zone management, wetlands, fishing techniques, eradication of invasive species, and restoration of wild salmon populations. Read:
Time for U.S. Leadership on Sustainable Development - A CSE Policy Brief
In this policy brief for the new Obama Administration, we call for restoration of U.S. leadership on Sustainable Development. We call for replacing GDP growth with sustainability as the nation's foremost economic policy objective, establishment of a U.S. Sustainable Development Commission, new progress indicators, integration of sustainability analysis into policy decisions, and quick action on some high profile issues such as fair trade, mountaintop removal mining, and fuel efficiency standards. Read:
Building a Resilient and Equitable Bay Area: Towards a Coordinated Strategy for Economic Localization
Working with an alliance of four Bay Area community and economic development organizations, CSE is promoting a strategy for economic localization of the Bay Area economy. Economic localization will reduce the Bay Area's dependence on imported food, energy, manufactured goods, and financial capital, empower communities to shape their own economic destinies, and help revitalize neglected urban cores. Our alliance's recently released campaign strategy paper Building a Resilient and Equitable Bay Area focuses on how businesses and government agencies can lead the way in creating policies that ensure a healthy, sustainable future for the Bay Area through localization. Two-dozen non-profits and government agencies have endorsed the strategy paper. Read: