Elizabeth A. Stanton

Senior Scientist (former)


Somerville, MA

Liz Stanton was a senior economist with SEI-US until September 2012. She has a special interest in environmental policy and in economic inequality and has focused much of her work on the interplay between climate protection and development.

Stanton has led domestic and international studies commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme, Friends of the Earth-U.K. and Environmental Defense, and co-authored dozens of reports with Frank Ackerman and others on topics including the cost of inaction on climate change; the economics of emissions-reduction targets, and the balance of science, policy and equity in global climate protection. Stanton led SEI-US work on the Consumption-Based Emissions Inventory (CBEI) model and on water issues and climate change in the U.S. West. She also served on the Climate Taskforce of Economics for Equity and Environment (the E3 Network).

Before joining SEI, Stanton was engaged in research on environmental economics and globalization at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE) of Tufts University.

Stanton was previously an editor and researcher at the Political Economy Research Institute and program director of the Center for Popular Economics, both at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Stanton is co-author of Environment for the People(Political Economy Research Institute, 2005, with James K. Boyce) and co-editor of Reclaiming Nature: Worldwide Strategies for Building Natural Assets (Anthem Press, 2007, with Boyce and Sunita Narain). She earned her Ph.D. in economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and has taught economics at Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, among others.


Recent Publications by Elizabeth A. Stanton

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Climate policy and development: an economic analysis

E3 Network working paper

Author(s): Ackerman, F. ; Stanton, E.A. ; Bueno, R.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Climate Economics

Description: This article describes the use of the Climate and Regional Economics of Development (CRED) model to explore the interconnections between climate and development policy. CRED scenarios, based on high and low projections of climate damages, and high and low discount rates, are used to analyze the effects of varying levels of assistance to the poorest regions of the world. The authors find that climate and development choices are nearly independent of each other if the climate threat is seen as either very mild or very serious. The optimal climate policy is to do very little in the former case, and a lot in the latter case, regardless of development. In the latter case, however, assistance may be required for the poorest regions to respond to serious climate threats in the globally "optimal" manner. Under intermediate assumptions about the severity of climate risks, development policy plays a greater role. In one scenario, which falls within the range of current debate, a high level of development assistance makes the difference between success and failure in long-term stabilization of the global climate.
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CRED v.1.4 Technical Report

SEI Technical Report

Author(s): Ackerman, F. ; Stanton, E.A. ; Bueno, R.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Climate Economics

Description: Climate and Regional Economics of Development (CRED) is an integrated assessment model with a central focus on the global distribution of climate damages and climate policy costs. It is designed to estimate the best pace of investment in emissions mitigation and the best distribution of the necessary investment costs among regions of the world, aiming to inform global climate negotiations and help break the stalemate between developed and developing countries. Version 1.4 of the CRED model was completed in August 2012. This technical report describes the CRED v.1.4 methodology in detail.
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A Good Environment for Jobs

E3 Network paper

Author(s): Stanton, E.A. ; Taylor, M.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Climate Economics

Description: This paper examines recent U.S. studies that estimate jobs lost or gained due to energy and environmental policies and outlines a set of standards for scientifically robust methodologies to make such estimates. Job creation is a top priority for public officials, and in U.S. politics, the links between job creation, energy policy and environmental regulation have become very contentious issues. The authors survey studies that estimate jobs lost or gained due to energy and environmental policies, exploring the type of investments that are projected to foster jobs growth and just how much confidence should be placed in these economic predictions. They also offer a checklist of questions to evaluate employment-impact estimates.
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Reason, Empathy, and Fair Play: the Climate Policy Gap

SEI Discussion Brief

Author(s): Stanton, E.A. ; Ackerman, F. ; Bueno, R.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Climate Economics

Description: To achieve the greatest possible human welfare, SEI's Climate and Regional Economics of Development (CRED) model calls for a rapid reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, beginning in the next decade and keeping cumulative twenty-first century carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions below 2,000 Gt (gigatonnes, or thousand million tons). This brief addresses why CRED recommends such stringent reductions when some other climate-economics models say that very slow emission reductions are the best policy.
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Modeling Pessimism: Does Climate Stabilization Require a Failure of Development?

Environmental Development, in press, available online 31 May 2012

Author(s): Stanton, E.A.
Year: 2012

Research Area(s): Climate Economics ; Climate Equity

Description: Climate-economics models often assume that middle-income countries' per capita incomes will catch up with those of today’s high income countries, while low-income countries will lag behind. This article reviews current practices in modeling income growth in integrated assessment models of climate and economy; provides an empirical illustration of the impact that more optimistic economic development expectations would have on emissions mitigation targets; discusses the kinds of policies necessary to adequately reduce emissions per dollar of economic output in a scenario of robust economic development for the poorest countries; and concludes with recommendations for integrated assessment modelers.
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