Resources Article

Inside RFF

Aug 29, 2011

RFF’s Centers of Excellence

Tackling Critical Environmental Issues for Today and the Future

Developing effective environmental policy requires us to do more than simply analyze current issues. We also need to constantly scan the horizon for what’s ahead to help set future agendas for the policy community. By engaging with government leaders, industry experts, and academic researchers, RFF's new Centers of Excellence strive to move environmental policy forward in four key areas.

The Center for Climate and Electricity Policy (CCEP) conducts research and analysis to inform the development of domestic and international climate mitigation and adaptation policy. Special initiatives focus on energy efficiency measures to achieve climate goals, regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, and development of a clean energy standard. Other policy analyses address reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD), adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change, international climate finance, and state and regional policies. For more information, contact RFF Senior Fellow and Director of CCEP Raymond J. Kopp, or visit

The Center for Energy Economics and Policy (CEEP) builds on decades of energyrelated research at RFF to help policymakers understand and consider the economics of energy options. Special initiatives focus on the development of a coordinated national energy policy by examining different policy combinations based on their effectiveness and social costs. Other research explores the costs and benefits of natural gas and offshore oil drilling, links between energy and transportation, and the effects of energy subsidies. For more information, contact RFF Research Director, Senior Fellow, and Director of CEEP Alan J. Krupnick, or visit

The Center for Forest Economics and Policy (CFEP) provides objective assessments and analyses of critical forest issues, from the role of plantation forests as a source of industrial wood to the size of the carbon footprint associated with biomass energy. In addition, CFEP research includes measuring and monitoring global forests and forest carbon, examining the effects of climate change on forests, and exploring wildfire prevention, suppression, and effects. For more information, contact RFF Senior Fellow and Director of CFEP Roger A. Sedjo, or visit

The Center for the Management of Ecological Wealth (CMEW) works to build a better understanding of the benefits of ecological wealth, including clean air and water, diverse and plentiful plant and animal life, productive soils, and buffers against floods, fires, and disease. Using that knowledge, CMEW experts help policymakers incorporate ecological science into innovative policy solutions that preserve nature and address the challenges posed by the decline of natural systems. For more information, contact RFF Senior Fellow and Co-Director of CMEW James W. Boyd, RFF Visiting Scholar and Co-Director of CMEW Lynn Scarlett, or visit

A Look at What’s Happening

Hilary Sigman, noted environmental economist, joined RFF as a nonresident fellow. One of Sigman’s main areas of research has been transboundary issues, including federal-versus-state implementation and enforcement of environmental regulations and pollution of rivers that cross national boundaries. She is a professor of economics at Rutgers University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Vice President for Research and Senior Fellow Molly Macauley was appointed to the U.S. Carbon Cycle Scientific Steering Group, which advises the U.S. Global Change Research Program established by Congress.

Roger Sedjo, senior fellow and director of RFF’s Center for Forest Economics and Policy, received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) for his work in natural resources and forestry from the State University of New York (SUNY) and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Paul Portney was awarded the 2010 Distinguished Achievement Award by the Society for Risk Analysis. Portney, a former RFF president and current university fellow, was recognized for his “extraordinary achievement in science or public policy related to risk analysis.”

Climate Change and Global Poverty, a book edited by Visiting Scholar Nigel Purvis, Research Assistant Abigail Jones, and Lael Brainard, was selected by the American Libraries Association as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2010.

Resident Scholar Leonard A. Shabman and coauthors Jonathan Deason, G. Edward Dickey, and Jason C. Kinnell received the American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management award for Best Policy Paper for 2010 for their paper “Integrated Planning Framework for Urban River Rehabilitation.”

Chauncey Starr Senior Fellow Roger Cooke’s work in high dimensional dependence modeling was featured at the 4th Workshop on Vine Copula Distributions and Applications at the Technical University of Munich.

Several RFF experts were appointed to National Academy of Sciences Committees:

  • J. Clarence Davies, senior fellow, is a member of the committee Incorporating Sustainability in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Molly Macauley, vice president for research and senior fellow, is a member of the committees Assessment of NASA’s Earth Science Program and Assessment of NASA’s Orbital Debris Programs.
  • Maureen Cropper, senior fellow, and Roberton Williams, director of academic programs, are members of the committee Effects of Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Lester B. Lave (1939–2011)

An Appreciation

Lester B. Lave, one of the nation’s leading economists, died May 9, 2011, at his home in Pittsburgh. RFF President Phil Sharp released the following statement: “Lester Lave was a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend to many of us at Resources for the Future. His pioneering work with Eugene Seskin on the health impacts of air pollution is just one example of the tremendous legacy he leaves. He was a giant in his field and his loss is deeply felt here, as it is among all those who had the good fortune to know him.”