public policy Archives - State of the Planet

Park Williams explains to policy students how tree rings can shed light on climate history.

Where Science Meets Policy: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Hosts Environmental Policy Students

As part of the MPA in Environmental Science and Policy, students undertake science courses that will serve as a foundational basis for tackling policy issues. Who better to learn from than the individuals who dominate earth science research?

by |July 26, 2019
urban density

California’s Misguided Attempt to Force Urban Density

Government should encourage urban living by making it more affordable and attractive, and provide incentives for density; it should not try to mandate it.

by |March 19, 2018
homes destroyed by hurricane

The Disaster of Disaster Reconstruction

First responders have learned how to reduce the death toll from natural disasters, but America’s long-term response and approach to reconstruction suffers from uncertainty, bureaucracy and inadequate resources of every kind. Until we understand that disaster reconstruction is not part of emergency response, it will remain a disaster.

by |November 1, 2017

Students Compete in Food Security Simulation

How do multiple stakeholders compromise their competing needs and develop a global coordinated strategy that is politically palatable, possible and comprehensive enough to have an impact? Students from universities all over the U.S. Northeast gathered at Columbia for the 2017 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition that challenged students to do just this.

by |March 6, 2017

Environmental Science and Speaking Truth to Power

Denying the science of global warming is absurd, but accepting the science of climate change does not require decision-makers to accept the policy prescriptions of climate scientists.

by |January 4, 2017

Paying for Infrastructure

Privatization is seen by some as a way of rebuilding America’s infrastructure more efficiently than public sector reconstruction, but experience with privatization is mixed. Sometimes it works well; sometimes it doesn’t.

by |December 28, 2016

Mass Transit in the Sustainable City

An effective transportation system is to the sustainable city what a well-functioning circulatory system is to a healthy human being. New York City has developed along the path of its subway system.

by |October 31, 2016

Back to Public Service

Encouraging public service requires constant effort at promoting a value and sense of ethics that is essential to national well-being. The broad consensus of shared values is the basis of our political stability and that stability is why the American story remains one of positive, forward moving progress. T

by |August 1, 2016

Miracle on the Potomac: The New Bipartisan Law Regulating Toxics

The new law is far from perfect, but it is a major improvement over the ineffectual 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Under that law, only five of the over 80,000 chemicals now in use have been banned or substantially restricted in use.

by |May 31, 2016

Psychology of Environmental Decision Making and Sustainable Behavior

Countries vary dramatically in their records of environmental responsibility. Some nations such as Switzerland and Norway are well known for their willingness to sacrifice for the future good, while countries such Iraq and South Africa lag far behind. There are certainly socio-economic reasons for these stark differences, but is it also possible that human psychology shapes our perception of environmental responsibility?

by |January 6, 2014