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October 13, 2021 | 10:00 AM CDT

featuring Professor Joe Aldy
Harvard Kennedy School - Harvard University

Learning How to Build Back Better: The Role and Potential of Clean Energy Policy Evaluation Powerpoint


On behalf of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Center at the University of Houston Law Center, we are delighted to announce the forthcoming events we’ll host in the frame of our virtual lecture series on Energy Transition and Climate Governance, sponsored by the EU’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, and spearheaded by Dr. Aubin Nzaou.  


Over the past year, governments around the world have issued ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction goals. To make progress on such ambitious emission goals in the United States, politicians, stakeholders, and scholars have identified a rich array of policy actions, many of which build on decades of a patchwork approach to clean energy policy at the federal, state, and local levels. Learning from these experiences could inform future policy design that would both increase the likelihood of achieving longer-term climate goals and reduce the costs of doing so. Indeed, in the spirit of “build back better,” integrating evaluation in the design and implementation of new clean energy policies can facilitate the learning necessary for policymakers to make policy better over time. This paper examines how the evaluation of clean energy and climate-oriented investment programs can provide the foundation for iterative improvements in policy design and implementation over time. It draws lessons from the experiences under the 2009 Recovery Act and retrospective analysis of regulations, elaborates on the insights from the causal inference literature that has evaluated the performance of clean energy programs, and provides recommendations for how to plan for and use the information learned from clean energy program and policy evaluations to improve climate change policy.


Joe Aldy is a Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. His research focuses on climate change policy, energy policy, and regulatory policy. He is a currently a University Fellow at Resources for the Future, a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a Senior Adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is also the Faculty Chair for the Regulatory Policy Program at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government.

In 2009-2010, Aldy served as the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Environment, reporting through both the National Economic Council and the Office of Energy and Climate Change at the White House. Aldy was a Fellow at Resources for the Future from 2005 to 2008 and served on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1997 to 2000. He also served as the Co-Director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, Co-Director of the International Energy Workshop, and Treasurer for the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists before joining the Obama Administration.

He holds a PhD in economics from Harvard University, a Master of Environmental Management degree from the Nicholas School of the Environment, and a BA from Duke University.

Professor Aldy's publications are available on

We have a remarkable series planned for the rest of the year featuring domestic and international speakers.

Oct. 28, 2021 | 10-11 am ET
Tibisay Morgandi
Queen Mary University of London—School of Law

Nov. 10, 2021 | 09-10 am CT (8 am MT)
Jan Laitos
University of Denver—Sturm College of Law

Nov. 22, 2021 | 10-11 am ET
Lisa Sachs
Columbia University—Columbia Law School 

Dec. 1, 2021 | 10-11 am ET
Troy Rule
Arizona State University—Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Dec. 8, 2021 | 10-11 am ET
Robert Percival
University of Maryland—Carey School of Law

Jan. 20, 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Michael Livermore
University of Virginia—School of Law

Feb. 2022
Jonathan Gilligan
Vanderbilt University—Law School

Feb. 17, 2022
Cymie Payne
Rutgers University—Rutgers Law School

Mar. 10, 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Daniel Magraw
Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies

Mar. 22, 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Michael Vandenbergh
Vanderbilt University—Law School).

Apr. 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Daniel E. Walters
Penn State Law

May 2022
Don Elliot
Yale University—Yale Law School

Jun. 2022 | 10-11 am ET
Cary Coglianese
University of Pennsylvania—Carey Law School