Economics and the Environment
Economics can make important contributions to environmental, resource, and energy policy by developing and applying a set of analytical methods and techniques aimed at balancing benefits and costs—and at achieving legitimate environmental goals at minimum cost. One key success has been the implementation of market-based approaches to the management of some air-pollution problems (most significantly, sulfur dioxide and greenhouse gases) and natural resources (including fresh
water and fisheries).
Businesses concerned about both environmental progress and related costs will benefit from better understanding of an economic approach to the environment. The same is true for environmental NGOs—they can focus on politically pragmatic strategies by considering not only the damages of environmental degradation, but also the costs of environmental protection. The anticipated and realized benefits and costs of public policies in the environmental domain are important, whether the focus is on implementing and complying with a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases in Europe, air-quality standards in Asia, energy-efficiency requirements in Latin America, or regulations to keep water clean in the United States.
The International Policy Network
Greater interaction between firms and NGOs, from around the world, and the Harvard Environmental Economics Program provides opportunities to access cutting-edge analysis and to advance policy-relevant research. The Harvard Environmental Economics Program has established its International Policy Network as a means to enhance two-way communications between businesses and NGOs, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, a leading center for research on and analysis of environmental policy.
- To open a valuable channel of communication with one of the world's great research universities—and the leading university-based program in the field of environmental, natural resource, and energy economics and related public policy.
- To help support leading faculty and the next generation of environmental economists—and receive recognition for doing so.
- To contribute insights based on experience and analysis that may advance the best environmental policy.
As host of the International Policy Network, the Harvard Environmental Economics Program:
- Conducts a dedicated videoconference each year for each Network member, featuring an appropriate Harvard University faculty member—usually one of the Faculty Fellows of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.
- Regularly conveys the results of research and analysis to members.
The Harvard Environmental Economics Program may:
- Participate in seminars or other meetings hosted and separately supported by members.
- Host representatives of member companies and organizations at Harvard for discussions with faculty working on environmental, energy, and natural resource policy.
- Meet with Network members at their institutional home, as feasible.
As part of a non-profit, educational institution, the Harvard Environmental Economics Program does not advocate for specific legislation, engage in lobbying, or conduct proprietary research or consulting.
Members of the International Policy Network:
- Draw upon the Harvard Environmental Economics Program as a resource, interacting on topics of mutual interest with Faculty Fellows and Pre-Doctoral Fellows of the Program.
- Share—as appropriate and convenient—insights and analysis of value to other Network members and the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.
- Provide annual financial support to the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, in the form of an unrestricted gift, to advance research and education.
- Choose representatives to participate in the annual conference and other Network activities and communications—including one who is a primary point of contact with the Harvard Environmental Economics Program.