Rachel Cleetus

Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

Author image
Rachel Cleetus is an expert on the design and economic evaluation of climate and energy policies, as well as the costs of climate change. She holds a Ph.D. in economics. See Rachel's full bio.

Subscribe to Rachel's posts

Rachel's Latest Posts

Clouds associated with a tropical disturbance bubbled up over the Gulf Coast on Wednesday, July 10, 2019. Credit: NOAA

How Climate Risks Get Compounded: Louisiana Grapples With Heavy Rain, Tropical Storm Barry, and Swollen Mississippi

Heavy recent rains, along with the looming threats from tropical storm Barry, are putting New Orleans and other Louisiana communities at risk of major, life-threatening flooding.

Images from earlier this week show city streets turned into rivers as close to 9 inches of rain fell in three hours. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is predicting that tropical storm Barry could come ashore on Saturday as a Category 1 hurricane. Meanwhile, the Mississippi is flowing very high due to heavy rains in the Midwest and South Central US earlier this year. Additional rain and storm surge from Barry mean that flooding is forecast to be extensive, and warnings have been raised that some levees in Louisiana could be overtopped or come close to that.

This chain of compound climate-related risks highlights the kinds of unprecedented threats climate change is forcing on people. Read more >

NOAA
NOAA
Bookmark and Share

Photo: Todd Wolf

My Testimony Before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

Last week I had the opportunity to testify before the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, at a hearing on Creating a Climate Resilient America. I focused my remarks on the impacts of climate change already unfolding and projected to worsen around our nation, as well as some vital steps we can take to limit harms and prepare for those we cannot avoid. Read more >

Photo: Todd Wolf
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists. Property data provided by third parties through the Zillow Transaction and Assessment Dataset (ZTRAX).
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists. Property data provided by third parties through the Zillow Transaction and Assessment Dataset (ZTRAX).
Source: Union of Concerned Scientists. Property data provided by third parties through the Zillow Transaction and Assessment Dataset (ZTRAX).
Source: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/14/
Bookmark and Share

Attendees at a December 2011 hearing on the Mercury and Air Toxics Standard. The EPA's Clean Air Act standards protect the health of all Americans, especially our children. Photo: USEPA/Flickr

A Comment Guide for Fighting the EPA’s Attacks on Mercury Standards and Cost-Benefit Analysis

EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler has issued a pernicious proposal to undermine a crucial clean air rule, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for coal-fired power plants. More insidiously, the proposal attacks long-standing legal, economic and regulatory precedent on cost-benefit analysis—and as a result could have far-reaching consequences for many other public health protections. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

U.S. Army Sgt. Brad Chambers of the California Army National Guard's 649th Engineer Company, 579th Engineer Battalion, 49th Military Police Brigade, from Chico, California, conducts search and debris clearing operations, Nov. 17, 2018, in Paradise, California. Photo: U.S. National Guard.

New National Climate Assessment Shows Climate Change is a Threat to our Economy, Infrastructure and Health

The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II, was released today. The much-anticipated report, prepared by a consortium of 13 US federal government agencies, makes clear that climate change is already here—as evident from the worsening flooding, wildfire seasons, droughts, and heatwaves the nation has been experiencing. What’s more, the report highlights that as climate change worsens, risks to our economy, infrastructure, health and well-being, and ecosystems will grow significantly. Urgent action is needed to lower heat-trapping emissions and invest in making our economy and our communities more prepared to withstand climate impacts. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

Coast Guard Shallow-Water Response Boat Team 3 crew members and members of the North Carolina National Guard assist residents of Old Dock, North Carolina, evacuate after flooding forced them from their homes in the wake of Hurricane Florence. Photo: Chief Petty Officer Stephen Kelly

Seven Things You Should Know About the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report and its Policy Implications

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is soon going to release an important report to help inform global efforts to limit climate change. The special report details the impacts of a global average temperature increase of 1.5°C relative to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pathways to limit temperature increase to that level. Governments of the world have come together this week in Incheon, South Korea to negotiate and agree on the report’s Summary for Policymakers, which is based on the underlying science in the final IPCC report. The summary is expected to be released on Monday morning in South Korea (late on Sunday night here on the US east coast).

Read more >

State Department photo
Bookmark and Share