RFF Announces New Research Leadership and Strategic Focus to Address the Climate Challenge

Resources for the Future announces a new research vice president and adoption of two strategic focal areas.


Sept. 1, 2021

News Type

Press Release

Resources for the Future (RFF) is pleased to announce that Billy Pizer has been appointed RFF’s new Vice President for Research and Policy Engagement, effective immediately. Pizer, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the US Department of the Treasury, will guide RFF’s signature research and policy engagement activities, lead the organization’s team of 60 economists and climate researchers, and shepherd collaborations with our global partners. Pizer is a longtime member of the RFF community, having served as fellow and then senior fellow at RFF for more than a decade. A former senior economist for the environment on the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Pizer was a professor and senior associate dean for faculty and research at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy prior to his return to RFF earlier this year.

“Ever since I first started working here in the mid-1990s, I’ve been deeply impressed with RFF’s work,” Pizer said. “I’m proud to now serve on the leadership team, and I’m looking forward to working with our scholars to advance environmental economics and natural resource research—work that feels more important than ever.”

Pizer’s new leadership role complements an update to RFF’s priorities, with research and policy engagement activities now centering on two areas of strategic focus:

  • Designing Smart Emissions Reduction Strategies: RFF will be expanding on its ability to deliver climate solutions that are effective, efficient, equitable, beneficial to the economy, and able to achieve net-zero emissions goals—from economy-wide solutions that send consistent economic signals to the marketplace to sector-specific strategies for all major areas of the economy.
  • Confronting Risks and Building Resilience: RFF will be redoubling efforts to evaluate the physical and economic impacts of climate change; using data to assess risks and uncertainties at global, national, sectoral, and local scales; and ensuring that decisionmakers are equipped with the information they need to build resilience in their communities.

To fully realize these institutional objectives, RFF will be adding research and policy engagement capacity in the coming months through new hires in these strategic areas. More information about RFF’s research priorities can be found at rff.org/topics.

RFF President and CEO Richard G. Newell commented: “Billy will play a crucial role in implementing our research and policy engagement activities across our two new strategic priority areas. He is dedicated to our mission; passionate about his colleagues; and is driven by values, energy, and sincerity that inspires those around him. We are fortunate to have him.”

Pizer succeeds Raymond J. Kopp, who will now be leading RFF’s Comprehensive Climate Strategies program. “I'd like to express how personally appreciative I am for Ray’s work on RFF’s leadership team and the central role he has played in developing the strategy we are now implementing,” commented Newell. “I appreciate how Ray always has the best interest of RFF’s mission of improving decisions at the fore and am thankful he will continue to bring that spirit to RFF in this new capacity.”

“It’s been an honor to serve on RFF’s leadership team,” Kopp said. “The challenges that we face today are unprecedented and will require transformational changes across sectors and continents—the type of solutions that have been at the heart of RFF’s work for nearly 70 years now.”

Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonprofit research institution in Washington, DC. Its mission is to improve environmental, energy, and natural resource decisions through impartial economic research and policy engagement. RFF is committed to being the most widely trusted source of research insights and policy solutions leading to a healthy environment and a thriving economy.

Unless otherwise stated, the views expressed here are those of the individual authors and may differ from those of other RFF experts, its officers, or its directors. RFF does not take positions on specific legislative proposals.

For more information, please refer to our media resources page or contact Media Relations Associate Anne McDarris.

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