Importance of Natural Resources

Ken Gillingham on the Environment and Economics

I do research on
environmental economics. I examine how policies can be
better designed to be more effective and cost effective
to reduce emissions and improve livelihoods.
I’ve been very passionate about this issue going back to when I
was a young child and I would go for hikes in mountains
with my parents. I grew up just north of New
York City, about an hour and a half from here.
I worked for the Forest Service. I was a Wilderness Ranger
in both the White Mountains as well as in Bridger-Teton
National Forest in Wyoming. I’m passionate about improving
the environment, but I’m also passionate about doing
it in a way that, retains people’s livelihoods.
I want students to understand the ethical considerations
of policy. Distributional consequences … By “distributional consequences”,
what I mean is who’s helped and who’s harmed by policies?
Those are critically important. I worked at the White House for
the Council of Economic Advisers as the senior economist
for energy and the environment and I worked deeply on a whole
slew of regulations that are now being repealed or pulled back
in some way. Now climate policy has been
shifting back to the States. Connecticut is doing
a huge amount. California is doing
a huge amount. Other countries around the world
are doing a huge amount. As long as we keep at
it and keep working hard to develop, from
my perspective, good research and also teaching some
of the next leaders of the world which are right here at Yale.
I’m very optimistic that it is a long game and that
in time we will actually be making a difference.

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