Michael Greenstone, the Milton Friedman Distinguished Service Professor in Economics, the College and the Harris School of Public Policy, is among one of 32 recipients to receive the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Fellowship. Chosen from nearly 300 nominations for the honor, the fellowship provides scholars in the social sciences and humanities with up to $200,000 to support research that examines today’s most pressing issues.
Greenstone, a leading energy and environmental economist who directs the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics and the Energy Policy Institute at UChicago (EPIC), will use his Carnegie fellowship to focus on advancing understanding of the social and economic costs of climate change.
“I’m honored to receive the Carnegie fellowship,” Greenstone said. “I look forward to using this as an opportunity to improve both academic and societal understanding of the impacts of climate change at the local level. There is a tremendous opportunity to move beyond talking about climate changes in abstract terms, like global mean temperature changes—after all no one actually lives at the mean. Climate change will affect the lives of people around the world, but the effects will be very different in Anchorage and Mumbai. We are at the dawn of an era where advances in computing and access to new data allow us to gain insight into these differences and uncover how local communities and nations can best respond.”
As co-founder of the Climate Impact Lab, a collaboration of more than 25 economists, climate scientists and computational experts, Greenstone is producing the world’s first empirically derived estimate of the social cost of carbon—the monetized value of the global damages associated with the release of an additional ton of carbon dioxide. He and his colleagues are also producing estimates of the physical and economic impacts of climate change at a highly localized level for the world. Using comprehensive climate and economic data sets, they are estimating these impacts across seven categories: human health, agricultural production, energy demand, labor productivity, conflict, migration, and coastal damage due to sea level rise and altered storms.
Along with advancing research on climate change’s impacts, the fellowship will aid Greenstone’s efforts to communicate the results to a wide range of stakeholders. At the national level, the updated social cost of carbon could be fed into the raft of new and existing regulations that target carbon dioxide emissions, and in principle, lead to changes in the stringency of these regulations.
With the fellowship, Greenstone will be able to devote more time to helping these policymakers incorporate the results into their efforts. Further, Greenstone will give academic and public lectures on the results, with the aim of stimulating further research and increasing understanding about climate change’s impacts.
Benjamin Lessing, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, also received the fellowship.