Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative

Wind Turbines near Des Moines, Iowa. (em_deboer22)

Our Mission

The Harvard Environmental Policy Initiative applies rigorous legal analysis and creative problem-solving to today’s environmental challenges.

Our Vision

Making environmental and energy law more effective through governance design and strategic partnerships.

We are currently working in three broad areas:  Governance of Shale Oil and Gas Development; Clean Energy and the Constitution; and Clean Air Act Regulation of Greenhouse Gases.  See “Learn More” at the bottom of the page for links to our work.

What is Governance Design?

Governance design is the art of making ideas work.  A law is just words on paper if it doesn’t achieve stated goals or change with the times.  We consider how a law operates in the “real world” – considering resource constraints, political trends, competing interests, and institutional inertia – and propose ways to succeed within that context.

Rigorous Legal Analysis, Strengthened by Strategic Partnerships

Environmental issues arise from the complex relationship between humans and the natural world.  Environmental problems and their causes may be defined by resource limitations, poor health, poverty, market failures, or legal disincentives.  To find innovative, long-lasting solutions to these problems, then, we need a multi-disciplinary approach.  While we begin our analysis from a legal perspective, we partner with natural science, economics, public health, psychology, and technical experts to complement that analysis

We also partner with stakeholders, to inform how we can translate our findings to reach and inspire diverse audiences.  Decision-makers face competing demands and time constraints. Based on their needs, we may accompany our research with practical products such as checklists, workshops, draft regulatory text, podcasts, and tailored consulting services.

We need strong environmental policies backed by rigorous legal analysis, to mitigate environmental harms effectively. Credit: Tom Toles.

Learn More

Click here to see our work on shale gas and hydraulic fracturing.

Click here to visit State Power Project, a project of the Environmental Policy Initiative. State Power Project tracks constitutional challenges to State clean energy laws.  We offer the site as a clearinghouse and reference point for States and stakeholders with an interest in these cases.

Click here to read our latest paper on the Clean Air Act – Efficiency Rules: The Case for Using End-Use Efficiency in the Section 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants.

Scroll up the side bar and click on “Subscribe to our Mailing List” to receive policy products and invitations to our events.

Contact: Kate Konschnik, Director,  kkonschnik at law.harvard.edu or Ari Peskoe, Energy Law Fellow,  apeskoe at law.harvard.edu.

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