Upcoming Events

Largest conference of its kind in the U.S.

Navigating the American Carbon World

April 16-18, 2013
San Francisco, Calif.

Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) is the largest and most comprehensive gathering for information, discussion and networking in the carbon landscape. NACW 2013 will take an in-depth look at California's Cap-and-Trade Program, market structure, litigation threats, program oversight, international market activities, U.S. federal activity, complementary programs to cap-and-trade and offsets and offset supply. And NACW will provide a platform for discussing innovative environmental initiatives, community benefits from environmental programs and business leadership.

SEI is one of the conference sponsoring organizations.

Learn more about the conference




Past Events:

Research and policy

International Conference on Inequality and Sustainability

November 9-10, 2012
The Fletcher School, Tufts University

Debates over equity – the fair distribution of resources, costs, and benefits – and a closely related topic, economic inequality, have arisen in the wake of the recent financial crisis. The gap in wealth and income between those who came out well after the crisis and those who did poorly has been widely noted. However, in a longer view this can be seen as part of a much broader debate in which conflicting normative goals raise troubling questions, complicated by uncertainties over how societies and economies do and should work.

If we are to build a prosperous society, does inequality do more to help or hinder the pursuit of that goal? As we simultaneously seek an equitable and just society, then what level of inequality is consistent with an equitable outcome?

The pursuit of a sustainable society raises further questions. Sustainability implies a normative goal of inter-generational equity, and some have argued that lessened inequality and increased equity may be preconditions for a successful transition onto a sustainable path. This conference, part of a major international SEI project, will look at equity and inequality through the lens of sustainability and, conversely, at sustainability from the point of view of equity and inequality.

The conference aims to bring together sustainability, equity, and inequality researchers to learn from one another about the current state of the art in their respective fields, and to think creatively about the intersections of these fields and the application of these important concepts to development policy debates.

Download the call for papers (deadline: April 27) or learn more about the conference.


SEI International Series

Atelier d'écriture de l'Afrique francophone pour le soutien aux publications des pays en développement sur l'adaptation aux changements climatiques et la réduction des risques de catastrophes

June 25-29, 2012
ENDA Tiers Monde, Dakar, Senegal

SEI, la Stratégie Internationale de l'ONU pour la Prévention des Catastrophes (ISDR) et ENDA Tiers Monde appellent les candidatures de jeunes chercheurs, de professionnels, de décideurs politiques, et autres de l'Afrique qui travaillent dans le domaine des changements climatiques et de la prévention des catastrophes, à participer à un atelier d'écriture.

Durant l'atelier, les participants rédigeront un article publiable révisé par les pairs de haute qualité, et développeront une sensibilisation accrue au processus d'écriture d'articles de revues académiques.

Ces aptitudes permettront la possible publication d'articles au sein du Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur l'évolution du climat (IPCC en anglais) et d'autres instances scientifiques de haut niveau. Par conséquent, ces publications contribueront au processus de décision politique concernant les questions clés liées au climat et aux risques de catastrophes.

Faites clic ici pour plus d'informations sur nos ateliers d'écriture; téléchargez l'appel à canditatures (date limite: 20 mars).


SEI International Series

'Writeshop' for Caribbean-Region Adaptation Researchers

February 27-March 2, 2012
University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados

CERMES logo

There is growing concern about the small number of peer-reviewed journal articles on environment and development issues that are authored by developing-country scientists. To a great extent, this is due lack of training and experience, which creates a large capacity gap.

In an effort to help close this gap, SEI and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) are sponsoring a series of 'writeshops' for early-career scientists and practitioners who want to build their writing skills and bring their research findings to a global audience. SEI Senior Scientist Lisa Schipper is the project coordinator.

Our local host and partner is the University of the West Indies; the location is the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), on the UWI Cave Hill Campus. The program will be conducted in English.

Click here to learn more about the writeshops project.


Students, faculty & all guests welcome

SEI-U.S. Open House

September 29, 2011, 4-6pm
11 Curtis Ave., Somerville, MA

Join us at our U.S. Center headquarters on the Tufts University campus for a chance to meet our researchers, browse our recent publications, and learn about ongoing projects.

Learn more about SEI's powerful water and energy planning tools, WEAP and LEAP, and speak directly with the developers, who collaborate with and train researchers around the world. Find out about our Climate Economics Group's ecent work on the "social cost of carbon" – the estimated damages from each ton of CO2 released into the atmosphere – and its implications for U.S. climate and energy policy.

See how our Carbon Offset Research & Education (CORE) website helps make sense of global carbon markets, and learn more about our Seattle team's work on carbon markets and on local climate change mitigation policy.

And hear about our work on climate adaptation, on equity issues in climate and development (including the acclaimed Greenhouse Development Rights framework), and on sustainability and income inequality.

Refreshments will be served. Click here for a map and directions. Parking on our street is residents-only, but street parking is available nearby (we recommend Packard Avenue).


Brown-Bag Lunch

The Social Cost of Carbon

September 29, 2011, 12:30-1:30pm
Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), Tufts University, 44 Teele Ave., Somerville, MA

Liz Stanton

The "social cost of carbon" – a calculation of the damage caused by each ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted into the atmosphere – is a key factor in U.S. environmental regulation, applied to cost-benefit analyses of a wide range of proposed policies.

The SCC is a sort of "volume dial" for climate policy: The higher the SCC, the tougher (and more expensive) the regulations that policymakers will consider cost-effective. The figure the U.S. government has used since last year, developed by an interagency group, is $21 per ton of CO2.

In this talk, based on the recent report Climate Risks and Carbon Prices: Revising the Social Cost of Carbon, Liz Stanton will explain how fundamentally flawed methodologies led the U.S. government to grossly understate the potential impact and uncertainty of climate change. Making small adjustment to the models to more accurately reflect these factors, the SEI analysis found, leads to values as high as $893 per ton in 2010 and $1550 in 2050.

The event, part of GDAE's Fall Brown Bag Lunch Series, is free and open to the public.


SEI International Series

'Writeshop' for South Pacific-Region Adaptation Researchers

October 10-14, 2011
University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji

SPREP logo

There is growing concern about the small number of peer-reviewed journal articles on environment and development issues that are authored by developing-country scientists. To a great extent, this is due lack of training and experience, which creates a large capacity gap.

In an effort to help close this gap, SEI and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) are sponsoring a series of 'writeshops' for early-career scientists and practitioners who want to build their writing skills and bring their research findings to a global audience. SEI Senior Scientist Lisa Schipper is the project coordinator.

This event is geared to researchers in the South Pacific region. Our local host and partner is the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme, a regional organization established by the governments and administrations of the Pacific region to look after its environment. The program will be conducted in English.

Click here to learn more about the writeshops project, or download the call for applications (deadline Sept. 10).


Economics and Policy Conference

The Bottom Line on Climate Change: Transitioning to Renewable Energy

September 23-24, 2011
Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis, The New School, New York, N.Y.

Frank Ackerman

The Fukushima disaster has heated up the debate on the transition to renewable energy. Is green energy the answer to climate change, energy independence, and the prevention of Fukushima-like disasters? If so, will the switch kill jobs and raise taxes? Or will renewable energy create a green recovery? What is the bottom line?

This conference brings together U.S. and European government officials, geoscientists, policy analysts, politicians, business leaders and academics. SEI's Frank Ackerman spoke on two panels: one on the politics of low-carbon energy (including nuclear, fusion, and various renewables) and another on the future of nuclear power in particular after the Fukushima disaster.

Click here to download Frank's presentation slides (PDF) for the energy panel, on the "social cost of carbon" and the economics of climate change. Click here to download Frank's presentation slides (PDF) for the nuclear power panel, on the economics of nuclear power.


SEI International Series

'Writeshop' for Latin American Researchers

July 25-29, 2011
CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica

Lisa Schipper

There is growing concern about the small number of peer-reviewed journal articles on environment and development issues that are authored by developing-country scientists. To a great extent, this is due lack of training and experience, which creates a large capacity gap.

In an effort to help close this gap, SEI and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) are sponsoring a series of 'writeshops' for early-career scientists and practitioners who want to build their writing skills and bring their research findings to a global audience. SEI Senior Scientist Lisa Schipper is the project coordinator.

This event, the third in the series, is geared to researchers in Latin America. Our local host and partner is CATIE, the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center, in Turrialba, Costa Rica. The program will be conducted in Spanish.

Click here to learn more about the writeshops project, or download the call for applications (in Spanish; deadline June 13).


For Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian Researchers

Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) Workshop

June 19-24, 2011
Kibbutz Ketura, Israel

Arava Institute

This workshop, organized by the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies (AIES) in cooperation with SEI and sponsored by GLOWA-Jordan River, aims to build capacity and proficiency in the use of the WEAP software. It will include two streams of activities: learning WEAP, including computer-based presentations on how to use WEAP and a variety of training exercises; and developing your own WEAP application. Part of the final day will be reserved to present and discuss the WEAP applications developed by the participants. The primary lecturer will be Brian Joyce, senior scientist at SEI, whose research focuses on developing decision support tools for evaluating various operational strategies in managed water resources systems.

Click here for more information, or visit the WEAP website.


Training Workshop

Energy Policies for Sustainable Development & LEAP

June 13-24, 2011
San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Fundacion Bariloche

This workshop, hosted by the Institute for Energy Economics of the Fundación Bariloche (IDEE/FB) in Argentina, will provide participants with a unique opportunity to enhance their knowledge of energy and environmental analysis, in addition to introducing participants to LEAP (the Long-range Energy Alternatives Planning system), a widely used scenario-based energy-environment modeling tool.

The workshop is designed for energy and environmental professionals in the private sector, government ministries, and nongovernmental organizations. Please be advised that this workshop requires a high level of proficiency in Spanish and English. The first week will focus on the basic concepts of energy planning and energy scenario analysis, and the second week will be devoted to an intensive LEAP training session.

Click here for more information, or visit the LEAP website.


Guest Talk at Boston University

Consumption-Based Emissions Inventory (CBEI):
Modeling Emissions Embodied in Trade for U.S. States and Counties

May 6, 2011, 2pm
Stone Science Building (675 Commonwealth Avenue), Room 453, Boston

The Consumption-Based Emissions Inventory (CBEI) estimates the total greenhouse gas emissions responsibility of a given area in a given year based on the viewpoint that emissions are the responsibility of the consumers that use fuel, electricity, goods and services. This "consumer responsibility" logic turns traditional inventories' "geographic responsibility" on its head, making it possible to analyze the relationship between emissions embodied in trade, and local, national, and global greenhouse gas mitigation efforts. The CBEI model is applicable to any U.S. state, county or zip code with a geographically based inventory of its greenhouse gas emissions.

Click here to download the presentation slides (PDF). Click here to learn more about CBEI.


2nd Annual WEAP Regional Conference

Applying a Decision Support System as a Tool for Integrated Water Resources Management and Climate Change Adaptation

May 3-5, 2011
Amman, Jordan

2nd Annual WEAP Regional Conference

SEI, the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands (ACSAD), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, and the Ministry of Water and Irrigation of Jordan co-sponsor this conference, which aims to disseminate WEAP, a practical tool for water and soil management that connects science to policy.

The target audience is institutions responsible for the use of the water resources from basin agencies up to the ministerial level. The conference will cover technical aspects of the WEAP decision support system as well as water policy based on examples from best practice in the management of water resources. WEAP users have also been invited to present their case studies.

Click here for more information, or visit the WEAP website.


Navigating the American Carbon World

April 13-15, 2011
Renaissance Hollywood Hotel, Hollywood, CA

Navigating the American Carbon World logo

SEI is a supporting organization for this conference, hosted by the Climate Action Reserve, Point Carbon and Thomson Reuters. This year the event will focus on discussion of California's climate change and energy bill (AB 32), the Western Climate Initiative, and cap-and-trade development, information on supply and demand for allowances and offsets, and the roles of agriculture and forest in the offset markets. Carrie Lee, of our Seattle office, will be attending.

Click here for more information or to register.


Highlights of the New Version of WEAP (Water Evaluation And Planning system)

with Jack Sieber
March 30, 2011, noon-1pm
11 Curtis Avenue, Somerville, MA

WEAP logo

The Water Evaluation And Planning system (WEAP) is an advanced Windows-based tool that has been widely adopted by water resource planners around the world. WEAP is notable for its integrated and policy-oriented approach to water planning, which emphasizes a holistic view of both demand and supply management techniques.

The latest version of WEAP, released in January 2011, includes many new major features. This talk covered a few of the highlights, including the Scenario Explorer, new scripting capabilities, new user-defined variables, and groundwater particle tracking.

Listen to the seminar (Windows Media file) or learn more about WEAP.


2011 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought: Lord Nicholas Stern and Dr. Martin L. Weitzman

March 8, 2011, 5-7:30pm
Coolidge Room, Ballou Hall, Tufts University

The Stockholm Environment Institute-US Center was pleased to co-sponsor the Tufts University Global Development And Environment Institute's 2011 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

The award recognizes the critical role played by these researchers in analyzing the economic dimensions of climate change. The event featured lectures by the award recipients: Lord Nicholas Stern, best known for his path-opening Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, and now the I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government and the Chair of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.; and Dr. Martin L. Weitzman, a Professor of Economics at Harvard University who has distinguished himself for his work on the economics of uncertainty and, in recent years, the implications for understanding climate change.


Tackling Emissions from International Transport: The Evolution of Global Climate Change Policy Toward Maritime Bunker-Fuels

with Aaron Strong
January 19, 2011, noon-1pm
11 Curtis Avenue, Somerville, MA

Why are international transport fuels so difficult to regulate and what factors have prevented action? This lunch talk at SEI's main office explored the role of the International Maritime Organization in global climate change policymaking and its relationship with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – in particular the UNFCCC's principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" for tackling climate change between developed and developing countries.


SEI @ AGU

December 13-17, 2010
San Francisco, CA

SEI had a strong presence at the 2010 fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, with several SEI scientists giving presentations. Click the links below for abstracts:

Mehta, V.K.; Aslam, O.; Dale, L.; Miller, N.; Purkey, D., "Scenario-based water resources planning for utilities in the Lake Victoria region"

Escobar, M.; Mosser, C.M.; Thompson, L.C.; Purkey, D.; Moyle, P.B., "Water Management Adaptations for Aquatic Ecosystem Services Under a Changing Climate. Analytical Framework and Case Study for Chinook Salmon in California"

Joyce, B.A.; Yates, D.; Groves, D.; Draper, A.; Juricich, R.; Purkey, D., "Integrated Scenarios Analysis for the California Water Plan Update"

Vicuna, S.; Meza, F.J.; Jelinek, M.; Bustos, E.; Bonelli, S., "Vulnerability of a municipal water supply system in Central Chile to climate change impacts"

Flores-Lopez, F.; Young, C.A.; Tansey, M.; Yates, D., "Effects of Altered Weather Variables and Increased CO2 Concentrations on the Main Agricultural Crops of California's Central Valley Project"


SEI-US Symposium – Cross Currents: Water and Energy Challenges in the 21st Century

November 4, 2010, 9am-5pm
Winthrop Street Function Hall, Tufts University

The important fields of water and energy policy are becoming increasingly connected. One emerging challenge is the provision of adequate water supplies to match the world's growing demands for energy. This will likely be difficult both with traditional approaches to energy production such as thermal power plants, which require huge amounts of cooling water, but also for some renewable energy systems such as solar power, which need to be sited in areas where sunshine is plentiful but water generally is not. In addition, our water supply systems' energy needs are growing rapidly and will continue to grow as we become more dependent on groundwater from steadily falling aquifers. A third emerging challenge is how best to manage the competing demands on our water systems, particularly with respect to how dams are managed for hydropower, agricultural irrigation and the protection of ecological systems.

Our day-long symposium, which drew 80 participants, explored how these and other perspectives on water and energy can be assembled into a useful framework that can support the development of sustainable water and energy management policies in a changing world.

To read more and download the presentations, click here.


Rising Temperatures, Rising Tensions: Climate change and the risk of violent conflict in the Middle East

with Clive Lipchin, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
November 2, 2010, 11:45am-12:45pm
Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University

Throughout history, water has posed one of the greatest challenges to humanity. More than a billion people do not have access to safe water, and some 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation. Climate change will also affect water security: As dry areas get drier and wet areas get wetter, populations will become more vulnerable to hunger, poverty and environmental degradation. Thus climate change will exacerbate the strains that already exist between due to lack of water, inequality, and power imbalances.

This talk, by Clive Lipchin, director of the Arava Institute's Department for Environmental Policy and Research, looked at how Israel and the Middle East can address changing flows of trans-boundary waters, irrigation and hydrological interdependence in the context of climate change. Lipchin discussed the types of water management strategies that will be necessary if Israel and the Middle East are to both meet the needs of its population, while also setting water use levels within the limits of ecological sustainability and political sensitivities.


No State Left Behind: A Better Approach to Climate Policy

with Liz Stanton and Frank Ackerman
October 6, 2010, noon-1pm
Austin Conference Room, Tisch Library, Tufts University

Efforts to pass climate legislation failed in the U.S. Congress this year due, to a great extent, to economic concerns. A recent SEI-US and E3 Network study shows that a simple approach that puts a price on carbon, then returns most of the revenue to households, could effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions without hurting most Americans' incomes. The study modeled the potential impact of climate policies on households in each state, based on their current incomes, energy consumption, and the source of their electricity – since coal power, now very cheap, would be most affected by a price on carbon emissions. The talk will present the main findings of the study.


How Accounting Tricks, Loopholes, and Strategic Carbon Banking Negate Developed Countries’ Climate Pledges

with Sivan Kartha
September 22, 2010, noon-1pm
11 Curtis Avenue, Somerville, MA

In the run-up to the 2009 Copenhagen climate negotiations, countries put forward pledges to achieve certain levels of GHG emission reduction by 2020. It has been widely documented (e.g., in Nature) that these pledges are not strong enough to be considered an adequate response to the threat of climate change. What has been less well documented is that these pledges are further weakened by a range of loopholes and other provisions found in the current climate treaty. In fact, even a conservative estimate suggests that it would be possible for developed countries to formally comply with their pledges without having to make any actual emissions reductions at all. In this lunch talk, SEI senior scientist Sivan Kartha explained and quantified the loopholes.


A Sustainable Consumption and Production Approach to Climate Change Mitigation

June 2, 2010, noon-1pm
SEI Seattle office, 1402 3rd Avenue, Suite 900 (Vance Building)

John Barrett from SEI-York (England) presented his team's latest research on consumption-based, community-scale greenhouse gas emissions inventory methods, policy implications, and lessons learned from his work with the UK government and over 40 local governments throughout Europe. John was in Seattle to help launch a new collaboration with the University of Washington.


Benchmarking to Improve Industrial Performance

May 19, 2010
Westin Hotel, Seattle, WA
Michael Lazarus, co-author of a forthcoming white paper on greenhouse gas benchmarking, provided an overview of current efforts in industry greenhouse gas benchmarking at the Symposium On Understanding The Value Of Benchmarking, sponsored by the Washington State Department of Ecology and the Western Climate Initiative.


A New Model of Climate and Development

with Frank Ackerman
May 12, 2010
Fletcher School, Tufts University

Frank Ackerman presented Climate and Regional Economics of Development (CRED), SEI's new model of climate and development. CRED is designed to analyze the economics of climate and development choices. The principal innovations in CRED are the treatment of global equity, calculation of the optimum interregional flows of resources, and the use of McKinsey marginal abatement cost curves to project the cost of mitigation. The unconstrained, optimal climate policy in CRED involves very large capital flows from high-income to developing countries, to an extent that might be considered politically unrealistic. Under more realistic constraints, climate outcomes are generally worse. In CRED, more equitable scenarios have better climate outcomes; the challenge of climate policy is to persuade high-income countries to accept the need for both international equity and climate protection.


Navigating the American Carbon World

SEI is a supporting organization for the Navigating the American Carbon World: New Direction for Climate Action April 14-16, 2010 event in San Francisco, CA hosted by the Climate Action Reserve, Point Carbon and IETA. The event will take a comprehensive look at the status of climate policy in 2010 and how climate initiatives will move forward with or without new policy.


Can We Afford the Future?

with Frank Ackerman
February 25, 2010
Tufts University, Tisch Library, Hirsch Reading Room

Most scientists see climate change as a growing threat to life as we know it, requiring a prompt, large-scale response. But economists and U.S. policymakers tend to speak in less urgent terms, asking instead, how much can we afford to do without losing jobs and businesses and hurting our quality of life?
This event is organized by Friends of Tufts Libraries.


Greenland's glaciers acceleration and warming of the North Atlantic: What is the connection?

with Fiammetta Straneo (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
January 7, 2010, noon-1pm
11 Curtis Avenue, Somerville, MA
Download presentation (pdf)

The Greenland Ice Sheet's contribution to sea level rise more than doubled in the last decade, predominantly due to the acceleration of outlet glaciers flowing into deep fjords in western and southeastern Greenland. The glacier speed-up occurred approximately at the same time as a warming trend began in the North Atlantic Ocean, adjacent to Greenland's southeastern and western sectors, giving rise to the hypothesis that glacier acceleration was triggered by ocean warming. This hypothesis, however, is largely untested because of our limited knowledge of the conditions and variability in Greenland's glacial fjords. Straneo presented new measurements from several glacial fjords in East Greenland, showing that warm, subtropical waters are presently reaching the glaciers' terminus and driving substantial submarine melting. These findings were discussed in the context of the long-term oceanic and atmospheric changes over the North Atlantic region.