Michael Lazarus

Senior Scientist, Center Director


Seattle, WA
mlaz@sei-us.org
skype: michaellazarus
+1 (206) 547-4000 x1#

Michael became Center Director in January 2015. He also leads the Seattle office of SEI-US. His current research focuses on energy and climate policy, on carbon markets and offsets, and on state and local energy and climate initiatives in the U.S.

He brings over 20 years of professional experience in energy and environmental analysis and capacity building. He has worked throughout North America, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe with support from government agencies, development banks, foundations, utilities, and non-profit groups.

From 2002 to 2007, he was a member of the Methodology Panel of the Clean Development Mechanism, the project-based emission reduction trading program of the Kyoto Protocol.

During the 2005-2006 academic year, he was a visiting researcher at the Energy Policy and Economics Institute at the University of Grenoble, France, where he led a research project on Linking Technology Development with Emissions Commitments: Exploring Metrics for Effort and Outcome.

Michael is currently an advisor to the Western Climate Institute, and to the Chinese Economist 50 Forum's initiative on the Economics of Climate Change Initiative. He is Adjunct Faculty at the Evans School of Public Administration at University of Washington, where teaches a graduate course on Energy and Climate Policy.

Michael received an M.S. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984.


Recent Publications by Michael Lazarus

Image

Making future U.S. offshore oil leasing more consistent with climate goals

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Down, A. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This briefing paper examines how U.S. oil production might be phased down to align with the Paris Agreement goals, focusing on offshore drilling in federal waters in particular. The short time scale to phase out fossil fuels requires prompt and ambitious action. It is widely acknowledged that to date, progress in reducing emissions has not been fast enough. Even with recent policies, global CO2 emissions are still expected to rise at least through 2040, and investment in coal, oil and gas production remains high and is expected to hold steady or continue to grow. That disconnect between nations' climate goals and fossil fuel-sector investment has led to questions about whether fossil fuel production needs to be constrained along with consumption. In these last days of the Obama administration, there may be opportunities to use federal leadership to initiate such a transition for oil in addition to coal. Offshore oil is especially relevant in the U.S. because it is the dominant source of oil from federal lands, and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has been evaluating its upcoming lease schedule.
More information
Download PDF


Image

Fossil fuel production in a 2°C world: The equity implications of a diminishing carbon budget

SEI discussion brief

Author(s): Kartha, S. ; Lazarus, M. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Equity ; Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This discussion brief examines the equity implications of constraining future fossil fuel production as part of efforts to limit the global surface temperature increase to 2°C. The brief begins with a short overview of the scientific and political context of fossil supply issues, before delving into the two broad equity perspectives. It then presents some quantitative insights into the financial implications (expressed in terms of rents) of historical fossil fuel extraction, and the anticipated financial consequences of constraining extraction. It also quickly reviews some explanations for the lack of deeper examination of these equity related issues in the scholarly literature and policy discourse. The closing section provides some final comments and directions for future research.
More information
Download PDF


Image

How would phasing out U.S. federal leases for fossil fuel extraction affect CO2 emissions and 2°C goals?

SEI Working Paper No. 2016-02

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper examines the implications for U.S. fossil fuel production and global CO2 emissions of ceasing to issue new federal leases for fossil fuel extraction and not renewing existing leases for resources that are not yet producing. Avoiding dangerous climate change will require a rapid transition away from fossil fuels. By some estimates, a phase out of global fossil fuel consumption and production – particularly coal and oil – will need to be nearly complete within 50 years. Given the scale of such a transition, nations may need to consider a broad suite of policy approaches that aim not only to reduce fossil fuel demand – the current focus – but also constrain fossil fuel supply growth.
More information
Download PDF


Image

Impact of phasing out federal coal and oil leases on CO2 emissions and 2°C goals

SEI policy brief

Author(s): Erickson, P. ; Lazarus, M.
Year: 2016

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description:

This policy brief, based on an SEI Working Paper, examines the implications for U.S. fossil fuel production and global CO2 emissions of ceasing to issue new federal leases for fossil fuel extraction and not renewing certain existing leases. Ceasing to issue new leases for fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters, and avoiding renewals of existing leases for resources that are not yet producing, would likely lead to a steady decline in U.S. coal production. Oil and gas extraction would likely drop as well, but more slowly.


More information
Download PDF


Image

Supply-side climate policy: the road less taken

SEI Working Paper No. 2015-13

Author(s): Lazarus, M. ; Erickson, P. ; Tempest, K.
Year: 2015

Research Area(s): Climate Mitigation Policy

Description: This paper explains the concept of supply-side climate policy, examines why these options have not been widely used to date, and provides a framework for assessing their effectiveness. It provides a typology of supply-side policies and frameworks for assessing their effectiveness, efficiency, and feasibility. It finds that supply-side policies, such as removal of producer subsidies, compensation of resource owners for leaving fuels "unburned", or outright restrictions on resource development, could bring important benefits. Such policies could allow for greater emission reductions at the same (or lower) cost than demand-side policies alone. They could also help to reduce carbon lock-in effects, making it easier for lower-carbon alternatives to compete with fossil fuels.
More information
Download PDF