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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Rachel's Latest Posts

The First COVID-19 Era Hurricane Season Is Here. Are We Ready?

Today NOAA announced its 2020 Atlantic hurricane season forecast and projected an above average year, with a likely range of 6-10 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes expected. This year, we also face hurricane season amidst the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and a worsening economic downturn—yet another example of compound risks that are part of our new normal. Our nation’s ability to keep people safe is going to be severely tested, and in large part depends on how well the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state and local authorities work together under these unprecedented circumstances.

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Flooding, Locusts, and COVID-19: A Triple Disaster for Eastern Africa

The COVID-19 and economic crises in the U.S. are fully occupying our lives these days. Of course, these are also global challenges—with the potential to cripple developing nations that have far fewer resources and medical facilities and many more people living in poverty. Eastern Africa is being hit by a particularly cruel trifecta of disasters right now: a second major locust infestation, massive flooding triggered by heavy rains, and the public health and economic fallout from COVID-19. This in a part of the world where millions of people suffer from severe food insecurity. Read more >

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The Trump Administration’s Assault on Public Health Protections

As we mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, the nation is in the throes of a terrible public health crisis. In these desperate times, we are reminded that the protection of public health is a paramount duty of governments—and that our economic prosperity depends on our government diligently undertaking that responsibility. Read more >

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Njeri Mwangi/Reuters

East African Locust Crisis Shows how Climate Change Threatens Food Security

Huge swarms of desert locusts are advancing across the Horn of Africa, threatening crops that millions of people depend on for food. UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu has called this “a situation of international dimensions that threatens the food security of the entire subregion.” The unprecedented scale of this infestation has been fueled by climate change, which has contributed to ocean conditions favorable for the unusually high number of cyclones (8 in 2019) and extreme rainfall in the region, creating ideal breeding conditions for locusts. Read more >

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Unite Behind the Science event on December 10, 2019 at COP25 Ashley Siefert Nunes

Reflections from COP25 in Madrid

You’ve seen the news: COP25, the recent UN climate talks in Madrid, ended in disappointment and also set a record for the longest-ever COP. UCS’s press release headline says it all: World’s Nations Take Immoral Stance at COP25, Side with Trump, Bolsonaro Rather Than Youth Across the Globe. Here are some snippets of how it looked on the ground. Read more >

Ashley Siefert Nunes
Rachel Cleetus
Rachel Cleetus
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