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Hammitt J.K.,Harvard University | Krupnick A.,Resources for the Future | Baxter J.,Industrial Economics Inc.
Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management | Year: 2010

Regulations designed to increase homeland security often require balancing large costs against highly uncertain benefits. An important component of these benefits is the reduced risk of fatalities from terrorist attacks. While the risk to an individual appears small, the benefits may be large when aggregated over the population. U.S. regulatory agencies have well-established approaches for valuing mortality risks, but address risks that differ in significant respects from those associated with terrorism. The best available estimates of the value of small risk reductions, expressed as the value per statistical life (VSL), average about $6.5 million. However, terrorism-related risks may be perceived as more dreaded and ambiguous, and less controllable and voluntary, than the workplace risks underlying many VSL estimates. These factors may increase the VSL appropriate for terrorism risks, possibly doubling the value. © 2010 Berkeley Electronic Press. All rights reserved. Source

Strzepek K.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Strzepek K.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Boehlert B.,Industrial Economics Inc.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

Although the global agricultural system will need to provide more food for a growing and wealthier population in decades to come, increasing demands for water and potential impacts of climate change pose threats to food systems. We review the primary threats to agricultural water availability, and model the potential effects of increases in municipal and industrial (MI) water demands, environmental flow requirements (EFRs) and changing water supplies given climate change. Our models show that, together, these factors cause an 18 per cent reduction in the availability of worldwide water for agriculture by 2050. Meeting EFRs, which can necessitate more than 50 per cent of the mean annual run-off in a basin depending on its hydrograph, presents the single biggest threat to agricultural water availability. Next are increases in M&I demands, which are projected to increase upwards of 200 per cent by 2050 in developing countries with rapidly increasing populations and incomes. Climate change will affect the spatial and temporal distribution of run-off, and thus affect availability from the supply side. The combined effect of these factors can be dramatic in particular hotspots, which include northern Africa, India, China, parts of Europe, the western US and eastern Australia, among others. © 2010 The Royal Society. Source

Butsic V.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Lewis D.J.,University of Puget Sound | Ludwig L.,Industrial Economics Inc.
Land Economics | Year: 2011

Zoning is a widely used tool to manage residential growth. Estimating the effect of zoning on development, however, is difficult because zoning can be endogenous in models of land conversion. We compare three econometric methods that account for selection bias in a model of land conversion: a jointly estimated probit-logit model, propensity score matching, and regression discontinuity. Our results suggest that not accounting for selection bias leads to erroneous estimates. After correcting for selection bias we find that zoning has no effect on a landowner's decision to subdivide in a rural Wisconsin county. © 2011 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. Source

Agency: Department of Commerce | Branch: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 93.81K | Year: 2015

A central part of NOAA’s mission is to develop and distribute scientific data, including large-scale climate, weather, marine, and coastal information for regional and national analysis. NOAA has also developed local data gathering tools on an as-needed basis. While these approaches demonstrate the power of local data collection, no existing tool meets the broad needs of environmental community groups leading such efforts. Significant challenges hinder both the collection and distribution of local-scale data, and aggregation into large-scale data sets. Our proposed method, community driven data (CD2) collection, assists decision makers and data collectors, with the goal of combining local information to create regional and national level data. We aim to research and design our CD2 application and demonstrate its feasibility to: (1) connect community groups with existing NOAA data sources relevant to decision making needs; (2) provide a platform for deploying new mobile collection forms, engaging the group members/volunteers, and standardizing the data prior to aggregation in a data warehouse; and (3) utilize a web-based portal for connecting subscribers to regional and national aggregations of collected data.

Chinowsky P.S.,University of Colorado at Boulder | Price J.C.,Industrial Economics Inc. | Neumann J.E.,Industrial Economics Inc.
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2013

The U.S. road network is one of the nation's most important capital assets and is vital to the functioning of the U.S. economy. Maintaining this asset involves approximately $134 billion of government funds annually from Federal, State, and local agencies. Climate change may represent a risk or an opportunity to this network, as changes in climate stress will affect the resources necessary for both road maintenance and construction projects. This paper develops an approach for estimating climate-related changes in road maintenance and construction costs such that the current level of service provided by roads is maintained over time. We estimate these costs under a baseline scenario in which annual mean global temperature increases by 1.5 °C in 2050 relative to the historical average and a mitigation scenario under which this increase in mean temperature is limited to 1.0 °C. Depending on the nature of the changes in climate that occur in a given area, our analysis suggests that climate change may lead to a reduction in road maintenance and/or construction costs or an increase in costs. Overall, however, our analysis shows that climate change, if unchecked, will increase the annual costs of keeping paved and unpaved roads in service by $785 million in present value terms by 2050. When not discounted, this figure increases to $2.8 billion. Policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to reduce these costs by approximately $280 million in present value terms and by $885 million when not discounted. These costs vary substantially by region and time period, information that should be important for transportation planners at the national, state, and local levels. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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