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

My Testimony on Climate Change Before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Last week, I had the opportunity to testify before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on the Environment, at a hearing entitled ‘Climate Change, Part IV: Moving Towards a Sustainable Future.’ Below is my oral testimony, as prepared (shortened a bit during delivery to respect time constraints). Also, here is a link to my written testimony, as submitted to the committee.

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The THRIVE Resolution Puts Forth a Bold and Just Economic and Climate agenda

Last week, the Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) resolution was introduced in the House by Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM). THRIVE has 85 original Congressional cosponsors and has been endorsed by more than 200 organizations—including the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS)—and sets an ambitious and just agenda for economic renewal and climate action. With our nation reeling from an unprecedented wildfire and hurricane season, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis—all of which are exacerbating long-standing racial and socioeconomic disparities—this call to action couldn’t come at a more fitting time.

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The Economic Recovery Depends on Controlling the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the US approaches 4 million COVID-19 cases, it’s pretty clear the public health crisis in our country is alarmingly out of control. The closely connected and worsening economic crisis also deserves careful attention, with data released today showing that 1.4 million workers filed for unemployment last week. Millions of people in the US have lost their jobs during the pandemic and now face an imminent end to expanded unemployment benefits, potential eviction from their homes, food shortages, loss of health insurance and other hardships. Additionally, many small businesses are failing. Congress must swiftly pass a new robustly funded COVID-19 emergency relief package to protect people’s health and their economic well-being. Read more >

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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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