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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Jiayu Liang/UCS

5 Things I’ll be Watching for During the Weather Channel’s 2020: The Race to Save the Planet

Tomorrow the Weather Channel will be airing a special on climate change, 2020: The Race to Save the Planet, featuring interviews with eight presidential candidates from both parties. It couldn’t come at a more appropriate time: the reality of climate impacts and the opportunities of a just transition to a clean energy economy are crystal clear, and we are desperately in need of federal climate leadership. Read more >

Jiayu Liang/UCS
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Photo: Omari Spears/UCS

Striking for Global Climate Justice

The global climate strike on September 20th is likely to be the biggest global climate action to date. My kids and I will be joining the strike in New York City and we’ve been talking a lot about what this moment means. It’s incredibly powerful to see the young people leading these strikes recognize the global nature of the challenge and the need to center justice in how we address it.  Read more >

Photo: Omari Spears/UCS
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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 >

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NOAA
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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/
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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 >

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