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Reality Check: Voluntary Environmental Programs                                               February 13, 2007

An RFF book launch event and seminar to examine performance of programs in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

link to Reality Check

Since the early 1990s, voluntary programs have played a growing role in environmental management in the United States and other industrialized countries. These programs target problems ranging from climate change and energy efficiency to toxics. But do they produce genuine environmental benefits?

Reality Check: The Nature and Performance of Voluntary Environmental Programs in the United States, Europe, and Japan, a new, innovative book from Resources for the Future, seeks to clarify what is known about the environmental performance of voluntary programs by looking at a range of program types in different nations.



Seven case studies are presented, including the U.S. Climate Wise program, the U.S. EPA's 33/50 program on toxic chemicals, the U.K. Climate Change Agreements, and the Keidanren Voluntary Action Plan in Japan. Publication of this volume comes at a time of increasing pressure on the federal government to re-evaluate its focus on voluntary rather than mandatory efforts to curb greenhouse gases and other regulatory initiatives. 

This seminar, featuring the book's editors and a panel of authorities on environmental policy, explores the value and cost-effectiveness of voluntary approaches, with an eye toward improving policymaking in the United States and abroad.

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Introduction: Frank E. Loy
Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors
Resources for the Future

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Richard D. Morgenstern, co-editor
Senior Fellow
Resources for the Future

Dick Morgenstern is an expert analyst on the economics of environmental issues and on the use of economic incentives to address global climate change as well as various conventional pollution problems. He has conducted design and evaluation studies, including cost-benefit analyses, in the United States and abroad. Recently, he has worked in China on establishing an emissions trading system and has advised the Colom­bian government on reforming environmental management systems related to air and water pollution and waste management practices.

Morgenstern’s career includes service at EPA, where he directed the agency’s policy office for more than a decade, and at the U.S. Department of State, where he was senior economic counselor to the undersecretary for global affairs and participated in negotiations for the Kyoto Protocol. He received an A.B. in economics from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

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William A. Pizer
Senior Fellow
Resources for the Future

Billy Pizer is widely recognized for his research into the design of policies to ad­dress climate change risks caused by manmade emissions of greenhouse gases. His work assesses how various features of environmental policy in an economic context can influence a policy’s efficacy under different circumstances. These circumstances include uncertainty, technical advances, and changing costs of environmental regulation. In addition to his work at RFF, he is a senior economist at the National Com­mission on Energy Policy, where he provides analysis and expertise on en­vironmental and energy security issues.

At RFF since 1996, Pizer also has served as a senior economist at the Council of Economic Advisers in 2001–2002, where he worked on energy, environment, and climate change issues; been a visiting scholar at Stanford University’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy in 2000–2001; and taught at the Johns Hopkins University from 1997 to 1999. He received a B.A. in physics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

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Linda Fisher
Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer
E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company

Linda Fisher is responsible for advancing DuPont's progress in achieving sustainable growth; DuPont environmental and health programs; the company's product stewardship programs; and global regulatory affairs. She has been with DuPont since June 2004.

Previously, Fisher served in a number of key leadership positions in government and industry, including deputy administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); EPA assistant administrator in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances; EPA assistant administrator in the Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation; and chief of staff to the EPA Administrator. Fisher, an attorney, was also vice president of Government Affairs for Monsanto and was an environmental attorney with the law firm Latham & Watkins.

She received a J.D. from Ohio State University, an M.B.A. from George Washington University, and a B.A. from Miami University. She is a member of the DuPont Health Advisory Board, the DuPont Biotechnology Advisory Panel, and she serves as liaison to the Environmental Policy Committee of the DuPont Board of Directors. Fisher serves on the Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute, RESOLVE, and Resources for the Future, and on the Board of Trustees of The National Parks Foundation.

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Howard K. Gruenspecht
Deputy Administrator
Energy Information Administration

Over the past 25 years, Howard Gruenspecht has worked extensively on electricity policy issues, including restructuring and reliability, regulations affecting motor fuels and vehicles, energy-related environmental issues, and economywide energy modeling. Before joining EIA, he was a resident scholar at Resources for the Future. From 1993 to 2000, Gruenspecht served as director of economic, electricity, and natural gas analysis in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Policy, having originally come to DOE in 1991 as deputy assistant secretary for economic and environmental policy. His accomplishments as a career senior executive at DOE have been recognized with two Presidential Rank Awards.

Gruenspecht was senior staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers from 1989 to 1991, with primary responsibilities in the areas of environment, energy, regulation, and international trade. He was also a faculty member at the Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Carnegie-Mellon University, from 1981 to 1988; economic adviser to the Chairman of the U.S. International Trade Commission from 1988 to 1989; and assistant director, Economics and Business, on the White House Domestic Policy Staff from 1978 to 1979.

Gruenspecht received his B.A. from McGill University and his Ph.D. in Economics from Yale University.

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Kathleen Hogan
Director, Climate Protection Partnerships Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Kathleen Hogan manages many of the agency’s industry partnership programs designed to remove market barriers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while saving businesses and consumers money. These programs include EPA’s flagship voluntary program, ENERGY STAR, which offers energy efficiency solutions across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors; partnership programs to promote renewable energy and combined heat and power; Climate Leaders, a corporate leadership program for addressing climate change; and a state partnership designed to promote clean energy policies with state decisionmakers.

Hogan has been with EPA for 15 years. Prior to EPA, she worked in consulting and for a water resources planning commission for the Potomac River. She received her Ph.D. in systems analysis and environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University and a B.S. in chemistry from Bucknell University.

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Daniel A. Lashof
Science Director and Climate Center Deputy Director
Natural Resources Defense Council

Daniel Lashof is active in the areas of national energy policy, climate science, and solutions to global warming. He is involved in developing federal legislation to place enforceable limits on carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants and to reduce America's dangerous dependence on oil. He has followed international climate negotiations since their inception and is a lead author of the Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on the role of land-use change and forestry in exacerbating or mitigating global warming. Lashof has testified many times before Congress about energy policy and global warming.

He holds a B.S. in physics and mathematics from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He has taught environmental science as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland and is the author of numerous articles on climate change science and policy.

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Miranda Schreurs
Associate Professor, Department of Government
and Politics, University of Maryland

Miranda Schreurs’ research is focused on comparative and international environmental politics in Japan, China, East Asia, Germany, Europe, and the United States. She is currently working on several books, including Enlarging Trans-Atlantic Relations: The Political Economy of Environment, Agriculture, and Trade in EU-US Relations, which she is co-editing with Henrik Selin and Stacy VanDeveer, and Environmental Justice in Comparative Perspective: The EU, the US, and Japan.

She has had fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation Program on International Peace and Security Affairs, the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science/National Science Foundation, and the Tamaki Foundation. Schreurs served as co-director of the University of Maryland's Freeman East Asian Studies Undergraduate Initiative. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and an M.A. and B.A. from the University of Washington. Schreurs teaches courses on Japanese, East Asian, German, and European politics; Comparative and International Environmental Politics; Comparative Environmental Politics and Law; and Research methodology.

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Q and A


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