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RFF Awarded $4 Million In New Grants for Research On Public Health and Climate Policy

FOR RELEASE: July 5, 2007
Contact: RFF Communications, 202-328-5019

WASHINGTON: Grants totaling nearly $4 million have been awarded to Resources for the Future to support new research on public health issues and climate and energy policy.

The gifts include $1.7 million from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for continuing research on antibiotic resistance; approximately $675,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for research on malaria; two grants of $750,000 and approximately $150,000 from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to support climate policy research; and $500,000 from the Simons Foundation to support climate-related activities.

"These grants represent continuing confidence in the value of our independent research toward resolving some of the most critical issues of our time," says RFF President Phil Sharp. "They will allow us to build on an already-substantial reservoir of impressive work."

Focusing on Policies to Combat Infectious Diseases

The Robert Wood Johnson funding will provide support for the next phase of the "Extending the Cure" project that seeks effective policies and incentives to counteract the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. Senior Fellow Ramanan Laxminarayan headed a team that completed a major report in March that outlines a variety of measures that could be implemented - some through legislative and regulatory actions and others through market incentives - that can tackle this public health threat.

"The second phase of this work will define in greater detail the policy measures that government, pharmaceutical companies, consumer groups and other stakeholders must consider in order to preserve our arsenal of antibiotics as a national resource," says Laxminarayan. "We will be working with a wide range of collaborators and stakeholders in the field to provide a policy blueprint for consideration by Congress and regulatory agencies."

The Gates Foundation grant will support research and an international conference to examine the scientific merits of a multiple drug regimen against malaria; to explore the practicality of using policy and market mechanisms to influence antimalarial drug use; and to design a rational, global antimalarial drug policy.

Exploring Options for a Carbon-Constrained Global Economy

A major part of the support from the Duke Foundation will be directed to production of a report by the end of 2008 that will outline key elements of a post-2012 international architecture on global climate change that can serve as the basis for a strategic U.S. position. The report, along with supporting documents, would be completed for use by an incoming administration, when the international community will be looking to the United States for new ideas and leadership.

"Our analysis will focus on the most important and vexing question: how to engage developing countries, notably China and India, in meaningful participation in a global program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," says Ray Kopp, RFF senior fellow and director of the Climate Technology Policy Program. "We will produce a series of policy analyses that will provide impartial advice, independent modeling results, and practical options to the governmental bodies and private sector stakeholders charged with designing emissions caps and other international regimes."

Part of the Duke funding will support RFF Fellow Joseph Aldy, who will work on a related project with RFF University Fellow and Board Member Robert Stavins and Harvard University's Environmental Economics Program, to develop a post-Kyoto international climate policy architecture that is scientifically sound, economically rational, and politically pragmatic.

The DDCF grant to RFF will also support research and public education activities to advance intellectually credible and politically sensible approaches to climate change domestically. RFF will use this grant to develop short, easy-to-understand "options" memos on the attributes, strengths, and weaknesses of various policy design elements to help policymakers craft effective U.S. legislation and regulation. RFF scholars will also use the funds to produce an original in-depth quantification of the costs of carbon-control policies on 33 specific industry sectors within the United States and an assessment of policy options for ameliorating those costs.

Support from the Simons Foundation will be directed across a broad range of climate-related RFF research, including exploration of policy initiatives in California to curb emission of greenhouse gases in the utility and transportation sectors. Mark Heising, director of the New York-based Simons Foundation, notes that RFF's longstanding research expertise in climate policy was a key reason for the new grant. "For the foreseeable future, global climate change will be at the top of the nation's policy agenda," Heising says. "We believe Resources for the Future's objective and deep understanding of climate policy will pay real dividends for policymakers trying to deal with this complex issue."

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Resources for the Future, a nonprofit and nonpartisan research organization founded in 1952, is the nation's first think tank devoted exclusively to natural resource and environmental issues.

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