Danielle Spiegel-Feld

Policy Brief – Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing …

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Equitable Electrification: Could City and State Policies Aggravate Energy Insecurity?

Progressive cities and states have begun enacting policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, one of the leading sources of such emissions in the United States. The same jurisdictions have also generally committed to pursuing decarbonization equitably, without exacerbating the disadvantages faced by historically marginalized communities. Electrification is currently a favored policy for decarbonizing …

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Building Better Building Performance Standards

As the climate crisis accelerates, policymakers are increasingly turning to novel forms of regulation to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These include regulating the emissions of buildings, which account for over 30 percent of GHG emissions nationwide. A key issue in regulating buildings is whether to regulate building GHG emissions, or whether to regulate the …

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Toward Tradeable Building Performance Standards

Long a mainstay of environmental policy, emissions trading programs have faced increasing criticism in recent years. Critics have assailed trading programs for failing to generate the scale of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) reductions necessary to mitigate the climate crisis and have argued that trading exacerbates the burdens imposed on environmental justice communities. This essay offers …

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Valuing Density: An Evaluation of the Extent to which American, Australian, and Canadian Cities Account for the Climate Benefits of Density through Environmental Review

This study looks at the extent to which major cities in the United States, Australia, and Canada assess the climate impacts of densification through the environmental review process. Research indicates that greater urban density is associated with lower household greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in high GDP countries. Yet there is reason to believe that cities …

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Carbon Trading for NYC’s Building Sector: Implementation Plan

Between January 2020 and June 2021, the Guarini Center led a team of researchers to study whether New York City should adopt a carbon trading program for its buildings pursuant to its landmark climate law, Local Law 97 of 2019. The study, which was the first rigorous assessment of Local Law 97, brought together researchers …

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Towards Plant-Forward Diets: A Toolkit for Local Policy Makers

Reducing the consumption of meat would help to improve public health and reduce harms to animals and the environment. Cities – and other forms of local government, such as counties – are well-placed to facilitate the transition toward plant-forward diets. Indeed, they are fertile grounds for progressive policies and some cities already have implemented innovative …

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Rapid Research and Assessment on COVID-19 and Climate in New York City

In May 2020, the New York City (NYC) Mayor’s Office of Climate Resiliency (MOCR) began convening bi-weekly discussions, called the Rapid Research and Assessment (RRA) Series, between City staff and external experts in science, policy, design, engineering, communications, and planning. The goal was to rapidly develop authoritative, actionable information to help integrate resiliency into the …

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The Urban Environmental Renaissance

City governments were an important source of environmental protection in the United States from the 1800s until well into the 1900s. However, since Congress passed a series of landmark environmental statutes in the 1970s, scholars have primarily equated environmental law with federal law. To the extent that scholars consider subnational sources of environmental law, they …

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