The Motu Public Policy Seminar series provides a forum for informed debate on important public policy issues. 

Our seminars are accessible to a wide audience, and are attended by people from diverse backgrounds who want to stay informed on economic, social and public policy research. The seminars are presented by the Motu Senior Fellows and Affiliates, as well as other top visiting academics from within New Zealand or around the world.

Improving Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon, and the Status of State and Federal Climate Policy in the United States

Rennert 2210 web.originalSpeaker: Kevin Rennert, Fellow and Director, Social Cost of Carbon Initiative, Resources for the Future, United States
12.30-2pm, Thursday 13 February, Adam Auditorium, City Art Gallery, Civic Square, Wellington.

RFF’s Social Cost of Carbon Initiative is a multi-year, multidisciplinary research initiative that is advancing recommendations of the US National Academies of Sciences to update the methodology for estimating the social cost of carbon, enhance transparency, and ensure that the updated figures reflect the best available science. The initiative will provide an updated set of estimates of the social cost of carbon that are grounded in the most current science as well as facilitate a more flexible and regular process for updating the social cost of carbon going forward. These improvements will enhance the capabilities of decision makers and analysts worldwide who use the social cost of carbon estimates to measure the benefits of emissions reductions, now and in the future. In this talk I will discuss the research efforts being taken as part of the initiative, including the provision of scientific updates across each of the four core steps of estimating the social cost of carbon and their implementation in a new open source computing platform for Integrated Assessment Modeling. In addition to the social cost of carbon, I will also discuss the status of and context for ongoing policy efforts at the US federal and state levels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with a net-zero US economy by 2050.

Bio: Kevin Rennert joined RFF as a visiting fellow in 2017. Prior to his arrival at RFF, Rennert served as deputy associate administrator for the Office of Policy at the US Environmental Protection Agency. Leading up to his appointment in the Office of Policy, he worked as senior advisor on Energy for the Senate Finance Committee. In that role, Rennert advised the committee’s Chairman, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), on a wide range of topics related to clean energy, efficiency, and policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. From 2008 to 2014, he worked on energy and climate legislation as senior professional staff for the Senate Energy Committee. In that capacity, Rennert led the development of the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (S. 2146), a presidential priority that would use market mechanisms to double the amount of electricity generated in the US from low or zero carbon sources by 2035. In 2010 and 2011, Rennert also taught graduate courses in energy policy as adjunct faculty in the Department of Strategic Management and Public Policy at George Washington University.

Previous Seminars

You can find slides (and sometimes audio) from previous Public Policy Seminars here.

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Our Public Policy Seminar Series is generously sponsored by Statistics New Zealand.