Annual Summary of Grants
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  Brookings
Solving the Climate Crisis through Regulations and Markets
This project will explore various aspects of climate change through the interplay of regulations and markets with important implications for climate policy.
Purpose: Our project falls within the (1) and (4) categories of the Walker Foundation Grant Guideline topics. The proposed project will build on the CRM’s efforts to conduct research and policy work to advance our knowledge of how we can solve the climate crisis by leveraging both regulations and markets, and improve our understanding of the interplay between climate policy and market-based solutions. With a specific focus on issues that are currently underexplored in the debate, broad topics for our proposed climate work in the project period may include carbon pricing, climate risk management and technological solutions to climate change.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • How can U.S. financial market supervisors incorporate climate considerations into their responsibilities?
    This project will explore what the U.S. financial market regulators could or would say as they engage in the Network for Greening the Financial System and other processes like it. The policy research paper emerging from this expert discussion will inform current and future policymakers, investors, banks, and other stakeholders about how the international dialogue on climate as a financial risk translates to the United States. For example, the paper will explores issues such as how U.S. institutions could assess the risks of a low carbon transition on greenhouse gas-intensive firms when a regulatory approach to reducing emissions in the U.S. has not yet been adopted. The research will lay out options and describe their advantages and disadvantages.
    Purpose: This project investigates the effects of the global financial system, as regulated by agencies such as the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, in fostering a sustainable economy. The research will investigate the causes of and solutions to impairment of the free-enterprise system through the effects of financial market regulation, for example via rules for the disclosure of climate-related risks by public companies. The research will explore solutions that involve the respective roles of market participants and market regulators, and the authors will disseminate information on the results and findings.
  • Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • Addressing Climate Change through Public Policy and Markets
    Climate change is one of the most important challenges mankind is facing and it is therefore important to find ways to address it through regulation and harnessing the power of markets. Together the two projects we propose, will focus on this challenge by seeking to understand the underexplored issues related to the climate crisis and by exploring potential avenues for policy change.
    Purpose: Our project falls within the (1) and (4) categories of the Walker Foundation Grant Guideline topics. The first of two proposed projects will build on the CRM’s efforts to conduct research and policy work to advance our knowledge of how we can solve the climate crisis by leveraging both regulations and markets and improve our understanding of the interplay between climate policy and market-based solutions. With a specific focus on issues that are currently underexplored in the debate, broad topics for our proposed climate work in the project period may include carbon pricing, climate risk management and technological solutions to climate change.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Center for Sustainable Economy
    Fossil Fuel Risk Bonds – a multi-state strategy
    With generous support from the Alex C. Walker Foundation in 2021, CSE and its partners succeeded in leveraging detailed assessments of the economic and physical risks of fossil fuel infrastructure in King County Washington, Multnomah County, Oregon and the City of Portland as well as legislation in both states to begin the process of shifting those risks away from taxpayers and onto fossil fuel corporations in line with the international ‘polluter pays’ principle. A renewed commitment from the Walker Foundation in 2022 will help CSE and its partners participate in the various decision-making processes jumpstarted by our successful efforts last year to ensure that they are carried out in accordance with law, best available science and economics, and result in the maximum amount of financial responsibility now shouldered by taxpayers shifted back to the owners of fossil fuel infrastructure.
    Purpose: The economic rationale behind fossil fuel risk bond programs is simple. Every year, the fossil fuel industry externalizes trillions of dollars in economic damages onto the backs of taxpayers. These costs manifest in the form of climate disasters, fossil fuel infrastructure disasters, and the costs of interventions needed to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. According to the UN’s most recent analyses, the cost of achieving climate stability has been priced out between $1.6 trillion and $3.8 trillion per year and is rising every year we delay bold climate action. Lord Stern famously said that this represents the greatest market failure that the world has seen. Fossil fuel risk bond programs are one policy tool governments at every level can use to correct this market failure and force the fossil fuel industry to internalize the gargantuan costs it is passing on to the rest of the world.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • US Forest Carbon Pricing Initiative
    With funding from Walker Foundation, CSE will advocate for inclusion of the logging and wood products sector in federal, state, and local climate action plans and regulation of this sector’s climate impacts through market-based solutions. At the federal level, our work will take advantage of opportunities created by Executive Order 140008, the pledge to end deforestation and forest degradation by 2030 and carbon pricing bills in Congress. At the state level, we will focus efforts on executive actions by governors in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and Washington. The Forest Carbon Coalition, co-directed by CSE, will mobilize scientific, community, and conservation organizations to promote climate action agendas at both the federal and state level that includes accounting for logging and wood products sector emissions, a forest carbon tax and reward program, redirection of harmful subsidies, and ecosystem service markets as an alternative to timber to finance public schools and services.
    Purpose: Climate change has been referred to as the most spectacular market failure ever. The market’s failure to incorporate the costs of climate change into prices of wood and paper products supports a tremendous level of over-production, over-consumption, and wasteful land use.
    A price on high-emissions logging operations is a critical market-based solution for internalizing the catastrophic costs associated with climate change and rebalancing markets to support efficient use of forests.
    CSE has pioneered several market based interventions to help expedite the transformation of industrial forest practices to climate smart alternatives. These include forest carbon tax and reward, subsidy reform, cap and invest, no net loss and climate resiliency plans for large owners. We are working at the federal level and in Maine, North Carolina, Washington and Oregon to advance these through decision making processes now underway.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • Fossil Fuel Risk Bonds – a multi-state strategy
    With funding from the Walker Foundation, CSE will build out our successful Fossil Fuel Risk Bond (FFRB) work by monitoring progress of jurisdictions that have already embraced the program, providing expert support to these jurisdictions, and working closely with state and national level partners to get FFRB programs adopted at the national level and in key states and counties. The fossil fuel risk bond policy, incubated at CSE, provides a tool for state and local governments to begin to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable for the costs of its toxic infrastructure and climate change. FFRB programs have two basic strategies for doing this: (1) financial assurance mechanisms to hold individual owners of fossil fuel infrastructure accountable for the costs of accidents, spills, catastrophic explosions and abandonment of facilities, and (2) surcharge-based fossil fuel risk trust funds to provide badly needed funding for climate adaptation, mitigation, and climate disaster response.
    Purpose: The economic rationale behind fossil fuel risk bond programs is simple. Every year, the fossil fuel industry externalizes trillions of dollars in economic damages onto the backs of taxpayers. These costs manifest in the form of climate disasters, fossil fuel infrastructure disasters, and the costs of interventions needed to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. According to the UN’s most recent analyses, the cost of achieving climate stability has been priced out between $1.6 trillion and $3.8 trillion per year and is rising every year we delay bold climate action. Lord Stern famously said that this represents the greatest market failure that the world has seen. Fossil fuel risk bond programs are one policy tool governments at every level can use to correct this market failure and force the fossil fuel industry to internalize the gargantuan costs it is passing on to the rest of the world.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • US Forest Carbon Pricing Initiative
    With funding from the Walker Foundation, CSE will work to transform industrial forest practices with a high climate impact to climate smart alternatives through market-based solutions. At the federal level, our work will focus on taking advantage of the many new opportunities created by the Biden-Harris Administration and the 117th Congress. The Forest Carbon Coalition, co-directed by CSE, will help mobilize scientific, community, and conservation organizations to support an agenda that includes accounting for logging and wood products sector emissions, a forest carbon tax and reward program, and redirection of harmful subsidies. CSE will also work with coalitions in place in Oregon, Washington, North Carolina and Maine to promote these market-based solutions as essential components to state-level climate action plans. In addition, CSE will prepare and submit a manuscript on our forest carbon tax and reward program to a leading peer-reviewed journal.
    Purpose: Climate change has been referred to as the most spectacular market failure ever. The market’s failure to incorporate the costs of climate change into prices of wood and paper products supports a tremendous level of over-production, over-consumption, and wasteful uses of these commodities.
    Putting a price on high-emissions logging operations is a critical market-based solution for internalizing the catastrophic costs associated with climate change and rebalancing markets to support efficient use of energy resources, forestlands, and wood products.
    With respect to forestlands, CSE has pioneered the development of several market based policy interventions that decision makers can use to help expedite the transformation of industrial forest practices to climate smart alternatives. These include forest carbon tax and reward, subsidy reform, cap and invest, no net loss and climate resiliency plans for large owners.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Climate Protection and Restoration Initiative
    Compelling GHG Pollution Phase Out Under Existing US Law
    Administrative & public advocacy, research, and legal action as warranted, to secure a strong federal rule pursuant to the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) aimed at phasing out GHG pollution and compelling major sources to remove or pay to remove excess atmospheric CO2, initially incentivized by a rising carbon fee.
    Purpose: The Project relates to the Foundation’s purposes in that present legal structures have enabled major interests, particularly the fossil fuel sector, to treat the atmosphere as a free and open dump for GHG pollution. This has induced a dangerous planetary energy imbalance which, if not reversed, threatens to vastly expand economic instability and immiseration.
    Our project takes as given (but not, of course, immutable) central features of the free-market and democratic system and, attempting to work within and make these systems work, demands enforcement of existing bedrock law towards the intermediate goal of imposing a rising fee on CO2 and other GHG pollutants and a longer-term goal of restoring earth's energy balance at a lower average temperature conducive to humanity and nature as we have come to know it.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions
    Research and publication of a book "Sophie's Planet" on the latest climate science and solutions to emission reduction.
    Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions (CSAS), led by Dr. Hansen, formerly Director of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has worked on promoting climate awareness and advocating policy actions for years. Recent science results and decades of experience in climate change have spurred Dr. Hansen to complete his second book, Sophie's Planet, which is expected to be published later this year. The book will clearly describe the most up-to-date climate science, and the threat this poses to young people and future generations. Energy science must be treated on par with climate science, as it is our energy choices that drive human-caused climate change. Rigorous use of the scientific method is crucial for defining and quantifying policy options. We cannot allow ideology to taint description of policy options to curb carbon emissions and transition to clean energy. In order to continue our work and for Dr. Hansen to complete this book, we need near-term support.
    Purpose: The climate problem can be solved best by making the economy as efficient as possible. The economy is most efficient if prices are honest. That means that the price of fossil fuels should include their costs to society. This can be done in a way that makes the medicine not only acceptable, but highly desirable. We need to continue to advance the concept of "carbon fee and dividend," which would spur the economy while increasing GNP and government revenue.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Climate XChange Education and Research Inc
    Support for Climate XChange & The State Climate Policy Dashboard
    This application is to support Climate XChange's efforts to put forth market-driven solutions to climate change. The SCPN is the primary vehicle through which CXC is able to support and inform decision makers working towards a clean energy future through market-based mechanisms. Funding will provide added resources to the direct technical support, research and data analysis, and advocacy efforts that enable our network of 16,500 state climate leaders to push forward sensible and just policy solutions to climate change.
    Purpose: State policy is a major driver of economic decisions in key sectors that contribute to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. It is critical that actors at each level of the climate movement have access to the resources, networks, best practices, and knowledge sharing required to effectively move toward a clean energy economy that protects vulnerable communities, promotes economic growth, and creates jobs.
    Energy markets are a complicated web of local, state, and federal policy, as well as many market actors such as generators, utilities, consumers, regional authorities, and financial institutions. CXC allows market actors to more readily access cutting-edge information on state policy that informs their on-the-ground decisions and influences decision makers on the most effective pathways to decarbonization.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Good Energy Collective
    Equity Impacts of Clean Energy Policy Design
    Good Energy Collective (GEC) will analyze the effects of clean energy policies on energy prices to further understand the impact on inequality and the short-term feasibility of decarbonization policies in a period of growing inflationary concerns. In tandem, GEC will analyze the effects on marginalized communities of insufficient baseload energy resources and how different energy policies may be eroding reliability.
    Purpose: This project will meet the goals of the Walker Foundation by investigating causes of impairment to the free-market system through inefficient or counterproductive clean energy incentives and tax schemes, and the effect that such policies have on rising energy costs and income inequality. Further, our state-level and national analyses will investigate the extent to which such policies reduce grid resiliency and reliability, and how the reduced capacity of baseload power places a disproportionate economic burden on low-income communities.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  •   Institute for Justice
    Ending Civil Forfeiture and Protecting Private Property
    Civil forfeiture is the ability of law enforcement to seize private property—such as homes, cars, and cash—on the mere suspicion that it was involved in a crime with no conviction or arrest required. The Institute for Justice works to counter this unconstitutional practice through litigation, strategic research, legislative reform, and communications.
    Purpose: Property rights sit at the foundation of a free society. But across the country, governments violate property rights through the practice of civil forfeiture. Through civil forfeiture, property owners can permanently lose their property without being charged or convicted of a crime, a violation of Americans’ constitutional rights.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  •   National Wildlife Federation
    Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program 2021
    The National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Wildlife Conflict Resolution program (WCR) resolves conflicts between wildlife and livestock through the market-based approach of compensating ranchers for retiring high conflict grazing leases on federal land. In addition to helping restore populations of threatened wildlife, removing grazing from large acreages is a key strategy to restoring healthy, ecological functional landscapes. Thanks to over a decade of funding from the Walker Foundation, the WCR team has retired over 75 grazing allotments totaling over 1.5 million acres. Over 85% of these acres are in the Northern Rockies and has been credited as a significant element in a multi-decade effort to restore the ecological integrity of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. In 2017 NWF launched the WCR Southern Rockies, Colorado Plateau and Great Basin state of Colorado program and a new element of our work in the coming year will be to support the reintroduction of wolves to the state.
    Purpose: Intractable conflicts between livestock and wildlife on public lands has existed for decades. In the past, NGO's has used litigation as a way to force the land management agencies to close high conflict grazing allotments. Beginning in 2001, NWF began using a market-based approach that recognized the economic value of grazing permits and offer to compensate ranchers for waiving their permit. We then receive assurances for from the agency that the allotment will not be restocked with livestock.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • Wildlife Conflict Resolution and Western Waters Program 2022/2023
    The NWF Wildlife Conflict Resolution program resolves conflicts between wildlife and livestock through the market-based approach of compensating ranchers for retiring high conflict grazing leases on federal land. Thanks to over a decade of funding from the Walker Foundation,we have retired over 75 grazing allotments totaling over 1.6 million acres. In 2017 NWF launched the WCR Southern Rockies, Colorado Plateau and Great Basin program and in the coming year we will pilot a new strategy in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah that we are describing as "AUM buy-downs." We are also launching the Western Waters Program that will largely focus on restoration of Colorado River Basin watersheds using beaver analog structures also known as Low Tech Process Restoration. This work will seek to institutionalize LTPBR in the Bureau of Land Management and to prioritize the retirement of grazing allotments that significantly impact downstream water quantity and quality.
    Purpose: Beginning in 2001, NWF began using a market-based approach that recognized the economic value of grazing permits and offer to compensate ranchers for waiving their permit. We then receive assurances for from the agency that the allotment will not be restocked with livestock. In an effort to constantly innovate, we will adapt our allotment retirement model in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by testing what we are calling "AUM buy-downs." In addition, with the launch of the Western Waters Program, we will scale-up a key natural infrastructure river restoration strategy in the Colorado Basin. Although much of the work will be focused on an effort to institutionalize LTPBR tools in BLM to increase water storage and habitat restoration, the program will expand the market-based strategies used by the WCR program to reduce grazing pressure in areas that will most benefit aquatic and riparian habitat restoration as well as water storage, downstream flows and water quality.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Niskanen Center
    Defending against eminent domain abuse by fossil fuel industries
    The explosion in U.S. shale gas and shale oil has caused an unprecedented building spree of oil and gas pipelines. Our concern is that massive investment in pipeline infrastructure may become the largest impediment to transitioning to renewable power. One of the ways to prevent this is by curtailing the ability of pipeline companies to use eminent domain to take property. Because Niskanen has a strong commitment to free market principles and the protection of property rights, it is perfectly situated to lead such legal efforts, and we believe it is extremely important for courts to hear from a pro-market, right-of-center organization that focuses on property rights issues around pipelines, and not exclusively on their environmental impacts.
    Purpose: A victory on the public use and/or Due Process claims we are litigating, or a decision holding that a pipeline is an interstate not intrastate pipeline, would not only stop such a pipeline, but have huge ramifications for every intrastate pipeline in selected state.
    We have drafted model legislation to amend the NGA that would eliminate the worst of the problems. We launched an advocacy campaign aimed at educating Members on Capitol Hill regarding the principled issues in play that should compel those that care about property rights to support reforming the NGA, and in the course of that have presented two panel briefings (one House and one Senate) for Hill staff.
    We are looking to remedy some problems by asking FERC to change its eminent domain regulatory regime.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • Modeling the Impact of Carbon Tax Revenue Recycling
    A carbon price, or tax, is an essential part of a market-based approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By pursuing original research on novel implementations of carbon pricing revenue swaps and reporting the results, our work will address the following goals of the Walker Foundation: "explore and develop market-based solutions" and "disseminate information on the results and findings."
    Purpose: With support of the Walker Foundation, the Niskanen Center will commission a new study, to be done with external collaborators, to study how tax reform coinciding with the levying of a carbon tax price can meet new fiscal policy objectives that have trans-partisan support. Examples include expansion of the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit. Similar tax reforms have successfully been used to compensate for the regressivity of motor fuel excise taxes and could be implemented again in the coming years alongside a carbon tax. The study will assess both how carbon tax revenue could be used to expand these targeted benefits and how those targeted benefits would modify the distributional and economic impact of the carbon tax, in a way that previous studies have assessed the impacts of policies like carbon dividends or reductions in payroll tax rates.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • Defending against eminent domain abuse by fossil fuel industries
    Pipeline companies are taking property from landowners by using eminent domain authority. Our goal is to litigate cases where favorable decisions could then be used as the basis of challenging pipelines across the country, including cases to establish that pipelines supplying LNG export facilities do not have eminent domain authority; challenging FERC’s practice of delegating its constitutional and statutory obligations to provide notice to landowners that a pipeline wants to take their property; challenging FERC’s authority to approve a pipeline before the pipeline has obtained other required federal approvals; challenging the industry practice of dubbing pipelines "intrastate" in order to avoid the more rigorous NGA review and permitting scheme; requiring pipelines that abandon a project to return land taken to property owners or at least restore it to its pre-construction state; and challenging the ability of pipelines to take possession of property before they pay for it.
    Purpose: Eminent domain is an infringement of private property rights and a subsidy for oil and gas industries; both of these are characteristics that undermine free market principles. It is also an example of the huge disparity in the relative bargaining positions of pipeline companies and landowners. Pipeline companies have vast resources, and build pipelines where the land is cheap, which means where the people are poor, and eminent domain gives the pipelines the virtually unfettered ability to dictate terms to landowners. We are working all three branches of government to address these problems. We are litigating multiple cases to get courts to remedy the problems that are susceptible to judicial resolution. We have drafted amendments to the NGA that would eliminate these problems, and have launched an advocacy campaign to educate Members of Congress regarding the principled issues in play that should compel those that care about property rights to support reforms.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  •   Our Children's Trust
    Atmospheric Trust Campaign
    We support legal actions and public education to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate system at the federal, state and global domestic levels. See supplemental section for a description of specific actions.
    Purpose: We are exploring and advocating for market approaches and other policies that will promote a sustainable economy and economic balance relating to ecosystem services, climate change, energy security, food production and other environmental issues.
    Economic imbalances that favor carbon intensive goods and services and perpetuate environmental degradation continue to dominate our economy. Our work will lead to court orders that require governments to realign those imbalances toward a sustainable economy, in accordance with scientific prescriptions to stabilize our climate system and de-acidify our oceans. We advocate for legal mandates that will drive market-based and related policy solutions of the sort referenced in preceding sections.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

  • Atmospheric Trust Campaign
    We provide strategic legal services to youth from diverse backgrounds to secure their legal rights to a safe climate. We work to protect the Earth’s climate system for present and future generations by representing these young people in global legal efforts to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate. We support these youth in the third branch of government in a strategic legal campaign that includes targeted media, education, and public engagement work to support the legal actions. Our legal work – guided by constitutional, public trust, human rights laws and the laws of nature – aims to ensure systemic and science-based climate recovery planning and remedies at federal, state, and global levels. specifically in the form of systemic science-based Climate Recovery Plans and policies that will reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to below 350 parts per million before the year 2100: the scientific prescription for climate stabilization.
    Purpose: We support a network of youth, scientists, economists and experts from multiple disciplines, to bring about macro governmental action at the federal, state, and global domestic levels that drives systemic market incentives and public policy to place our society on a scientific prescription for atmospheric health, climate stability and ocean de-acidification.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.
  •   Pricing Carbon Initiative Inc.
    Building Grasstops Support in 2021/2022 for Carbon Pricing
    In 2021-22, the Pricing Carbon Initiative (PCI) will continue with its efforts, launched in 2011, to build support, by fostering understanding and cooperation between a wide range of organizations and opinion leaders, for bipartisan carbon pricing solutions designed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During the current pandemic, PCI is conducting the ongoing Pricing Carbon Dialogues in a virtual mode. Given how well this is working, the virtual meetings will likely continue even after our in-person meetings resume. PCI will also continue to organize related efforts designed to engage and encourage additional support, cooperation and participation.
    Purpose: Participants in the PCI network share a steadfast belief that correcting the price distortion that excludes the climatic and social costs of fossil fuels from their pricing is more timely and urgent than ever. Market-driven solutions are central to PCI's mission. PCI’s ongoing bi-partisan, multi-stakeholder dialogues continue to build consensus across party lines and with ideologically diverse interest groups.
  • Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
  • Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
  • Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.
  • Explores and develops market-based solutions.

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