Rachel Cleetus

Lead economist and climate policy manager

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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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Rachel's Latest Posts

FEMA and HUD Budgets are Vital for Disaster and Climate Preparedness

Last year’s record-breaking disasters—including hurricanes, wildfires and floods—were a reminder of how climate change and faulty development policies are colliding to create dangerous and costly outcomes for the American public. While much attention is focused on post-disaster recovery, we need to invest much more in preparing for disasters before they happen. The good news is that the omnibus budget deal recently passed by Congress appropriated significant funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to help foster community resilience, in many cases undoing steep cuts that had been proposed by the Trump administration. Read more >

FEMA News Photo
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New NOAA Report Shows 2017 Was the Costliest Year on Record for US Disasters

Today NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center released its yearly report on “billion-dollar weather and climate disasters” that affected the US in 2017. Not surprisingly, the numbers were staggering. Read more >

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Photo: UCS/Audrey Eyring

A Year of Resistance—and Why I’m Hopeful for 2018

What a year it’s been. The destructive antics of the Trump administration and Congress and a political discourse increasingly polluted by ‘alternative facts’ have frequently made many of us angry, sad, and sometimes just plain crazy.

Through it all, it’s been inspiring to see a resistance movement gather strength and show its muscle. I’ve been awed by the work of racial justice activists, scientists, grassroots groups, immigrant rights groups, youth groups and many many others. Here’s a snapshot of what a year in the resistance looked like for me. Read more >

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Pruitt Plans to Gut The Clean Power Plan: How Weak Will The New EPA Proposal Be?

News articles indicate that the EPA is soon going to release a “revised” Clean Power Plan. It is very likely to be significantly weaker than the original CPP, which offered one of the country’s best hopes for reducing carbon emissions that cause global warming.

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Photo: justice.gov
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Glacier National Park Fire. Photo: Brett Timm, National Park Service

Western Wildfires Add to Disasters the Nation Faces: Will Congress Take Action?

Record wildfires are now burning across a large swath of the Western US, even as the Southeast and Gulf coasts of the US are struggling to recover from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Yesterday the Forest Service announced that firefighting costs have already topped $2 billion in 2017, for the first time ever. Earlier this week Senators Daines and Tester separately called for action to address wildfire threats, the latest of similar bipartisan efforts. Congress needs to finally get wildfire funding and forest management legislation across the finish line without delay.

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