Rachel Cleetus

Policy Director and Lead Economist, Climate & Energy

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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.

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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 >

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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).

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State Department photo
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Homes and businesses are surrounded by water flowing out of the Cape Fear River in the eastern part of North Carolina Sept. 17, 2018, in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell)

Hurricane Florence: One Week Later Here’s What We Know and Here’s What’s Next

On the morning of September 14, Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, bringing with it record storm surge and torrential, historic amounts of rain. A week later, communities across the Carolinas are struggling with the aftermath. At least 42 people have lost their lives thus far. Heavy, lingering rainfall has caused rivers to rise for days after the storm, leading to catastrophic flooding including in inland areas. Here’s what we know so far and what we can expect in the weeks and months to come.

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Photo by Sgt. Odaliska Almonte, North Carolina National Guard Public Affairs
NC DOT
U. S. Coast Guard photograph by Auxiliarist Trey Clifton/Released.
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La Guarda Nacional evacuando.

Los peligros escondidos del huracán ‘Florence’: mareas catastróficas e inundaciones al interior amenazan a comunidades rurales y de bajos recursos

En el transcurso de los últimos días, el huracán ‘Florence’ se ha intensificado rápidamente. Mantiene una trayectoria directa hacia Carolina del Norte, como una tormenta de Categoría 4. Esta tormenta es particularmente riesgosa dado el pronóstico de lluvias fuertes y persistentes que amenazan no solo a las áreas costeras, sino también a comunidades del interior. Read more >

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The North Carolina National Guard prepares for Hurricane Florence

The Hidden Dangers of Hurricane Florence: Catastrophic Storm Surge and Inland Flooding Threatens Rural and Low-Income Communities

Over the last few days, we have watched with deepening dismay as the forecast for Hurricane Florence has turned increasingly grim. This rapidly intensifying hurricane is now on a trajectory to come ashore somewhere along the southeast coast, likely in North Carolina, potentially as a Category 4 storm. What heightens the risks of this storm is the forecast of days of lingering heavy rain, threatening not just coastal but also inland areas. Read more >

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