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Laurie Johnson, Chief Economist, Climate and Clean Air Program, Washington, DC

Laurie Johnson

I am Chief Economist at the Climate Center of the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington DC. Prior to joining the NRDC in May 2008, I was a professor in the economics department at the University of Denver for eight years. My research in environmental and natural resource economics, experimental economics, and poverty and welfare, appeared in academic and popular journals. At NRDC, my work has focused on macroeconomic modeling of climate change legislation, as well its distributional impacts. I received my PhD in economics from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Recent Posts

Fossil-fuel funded study: net gains from EPA's Clean Power Plan

Posted October 18, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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On behalf of some of America's biggest polluters, a new study by NERA Consulting makes a valiant, but ultimately failed, attempt to portray first-ever proposed limits on carbon pollution as an economic calamity. The limits, under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)...continued

The future of fires: what's missing from the SCC?

Posted September 16, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places, Solving Global Warming

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 This blog was originally published at the Cost of Carbon Pollution project here. The 2014 wildfire season is not yet over, but in some regions it is already one of the most destructive ever. Fires continue to rage in many...continued

National Association of Manufacturers: Thin Air

Posted September 16, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, U.S. Law and Policy

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The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) published a report last week showing a purported cost of $2 trillion per year to the economy caused by federal regulations. The audacity of the release was impressive. For the most part, it essentially...continued

U.S. Social Cost of Carbon: GAO approved

Posted September 3, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Solving Global Warming

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This blog was originally published at the Cost of Carbon Pollution project here. The U.S. social cost of carbon (SCC)—the set of calculations estimating that a ton of carbon dioxide emitted today causes about $40 worth of damages to human...continued

The cost of inaction: new CEA report

Posted July 29, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming

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The Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) just released an important analysis on the costs of delaying climate action. It follows on the heels of many other reports (e.g. click here and here) sounding the same alarm: climate change is here,...continued

NRECA: more fear mongering about EPA's Clean Power Plan

Posted July 18, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Green Enterprise, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) is running a deceptive ad campaign trying to undermine first-ever carbon pollution standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under its Clean Power Plan (click here and here). The ad portrays a...continued

The high cost of climate change inaction: two new studies

Posted June 27, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Two important studies recently released on the economic costs of climate change show us the very high costs of continuing on our current carbon pollution trajectory. The first, commissioned by the prominent bipartisan Risky Business Project, finds significant economic losses for the...continued

The Chamber is Wrong Again: Carbon Pollution Limits Will Lower Electricity Bills by Billions of Dollars, and Generate Hundreds of Thousands of Jobs, Not the Reverse

Posted May 28, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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FORTHCOMING UPDATE TO CHAMBER'S RESPONSE (6/5/2014): UPDATE: In a flailing attempt to defend its shoddy analysis, the Chamber argues that some states will be required to reduce more than the Chamber's assumed national reduction of 42% by 2030--so really they haven't...continued

The social cost of carbon: playing catch up to the IPCC

Posted April 22, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Photo: U.S. Army under Creative Commons License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode This blog was originally published at the Cost of Carbon Pollution project here. In time for Passover, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest state-of-climate-change report, predicting a...continued

Minnesota Leading the Charge on Valuing the Climate Benefits of Rooftop Solar

Posted April 11, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Guest blogger-Denise Grab, Legal Fellow, Institute for Policy Integrity (Twitter: @denisegrab) Rooftop solar electricity generation helps homeowners save money on their electricity bills. It can help support the rest of the electrical grid during times of high usage or outages....continued

Report Finds Major Economic Risks of Climate Change Missing from U.S. Government Assessment

Posted March 13, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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March 13, 2014— Economists agree—the American public can expect to pay trillions of dollars if global temperatures continue to rise. Personal bank accounts and government coffers will feel the strain of climate change-driven increased food prices, insurance premiums, emergency aid,...continued

Heritage Foundation claims unfounded: power plant carbon standards good for jobs and the economy, not bad

Posted March 5, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation industry front-group published a broadside attacking the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to limit dangerous carbon dioxide pollution from the electric power sector, responsible for approximately 40% of CO2 pollution in the U.S.   The group claims...continued

Public comments to OMB on the social cost of carbon (SCC)

Posted February 26, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Today NRDC, Environmental Defense Fund, New York University’s Policy Integrity, and the Union of Concerned Scientists submitted joint comments (click here and here) commending the government for counting climate change benefits in proposed carbon pollution standards. These benefits are measured by...continued

Coal's fantasy island: carbon pollution its "one and only"

Posted January 26, 2014 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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A front-page story in the New York Times (January 23, 2014) recently highlighted increasing concerns companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and other major corporations are having about the growing threat of climate change to their bottom line. Corporate executives and business...continued

OMB issues call for additional public comments on the social cost of carbon

Posted December 1, 2013 by Laurie Johnson in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming, U.S. Law and Policy

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Last week the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) invited additional comment on the government’s “social cost of carbon” (SCC), an estimate of climate change damages resulting from carbon pollution. The invitation comes after a recent update provoked intense...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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