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Policy and Political Science

Featured Interdisciplinary Initiative

Deep Decarbonization Initiative

The mission of the UC San Diego Deep Decarbonization Initiative is to help understand and guide the global economy as it moves toward net-zero carbon emissions. The aim is to understand how policymakers and investors shift from existing to new energy systems in the real world and the pace at which such transitions occur. It also explores how such shifts could be accelerated so that global carbon emissions tumble even as energy systems meet the needs of humanity.

Labs, Projects, Programs and Collaborations

Climate Action Lab

Our mission is to reduce global heating by changing human behavior. We are social scientists—economists, psychologists, urban planners, political scientists, anthropologists, etc. First, we conduct applied research to test what leads people to change their minds about the climate and what leads them to change their actions. Then, we put these insights to work in partnership with communities and policymakers.

Laboratory on International Law and Regulation

Researchers at the Laboratory on International Law and Regulation explore issues ranging from environment and energy to human rights, trade, security, and when and why international laws work effectively.

Policy Design and Evaluation Lab

Confronting climate change requires us to understand the nexus of industrialization, environmental science and human health. By combining ground monitoring with remote sensing data, researchers at the Policy Design and Evaluation Lab provide innovative ways of measuring these processes in real-time with comprehensive geographical coverage.

Science Policy Fellows Program

The Science Policy Fellows Program at the School of Global Policy and Strategy facilitates the exploration of policy implications and the practical application of research in engineering, medicine, and marine and earth sciences for strategic decision-making.

SDG Policy Initiative

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by all 193 members of the United Nations in 2015, bring together academia, government, business and civil society around a shared agenda for the next decade. The SDG Policy Initiative has organized research, programs and centers of the School of Global Policy and Strategy to promote policies that can bring us closer to achieving the ambition of the SDGs to “leave no one behind.”

Featured Researchers and Professors

Jennifer Burney

Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy

Jennifer Burney is an environmental scientist. Her research focuses on the coupled relationships between climate and food security by measuring air pollutant emissions and concentrations, quantifying the effects of climate and air pollution on land use, food systems and human health. In addition, she seeks to understand how food production and consumption contribute to climate change and designs and evaluates technologies and strategies for adaptation and mitigation among the world’s farmers. She holds the Marshall Saunders Chancellor's Endowed Chair in Global Climate Policy and Research.

Michael Davidson

Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Michael Davidson researches the engineering implications and institutional conflicts inherent in deploying renewable energy at scale. He is particularly interested in systems within emerging electricity markets, including China, India and the western United States.

Fonna Forman

Associate Professor, Political Science

Forman is an advocate for deepening university-community research partnerships. She is Vice-Chair of the University of California Climate Solutions Group and co-editor of "Bending the Curve: 10 Scalable Solutions for Carbon and Climate Neutrality,” the University of California report on carbon neutrality. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Climate Neutrality Task Force, the UC San Diego Global Health Initiative, the Urban Studies and Planning Program, the Global Health major, Food and Fuel for the 21st Century (FF21) and the Center for Tomorrow’s California.

Teevrat Garg

Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy

Teevrat Garg is an assistant professor of economics and works on various issues in economics, focusing on applications to environmental problems in underdeveloped countries. His current research projects include uncovering causal mechanisms that link ecosystem health to human health, with an emphasis on irrigation in rural communities in poor countries and the distributional consequences of adaptation to climate change.

Morgan Levy

Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy; Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Morgan Levy specializes in data-driven, policy-relevant research that focuses on understanding interactions between the hydroclimate, terrestrial water systems and environmental and human health at local to global scales.

Gordon McCord

School of Global Policy and Strategy

Gordon McCord researches sustainable development and works at the intersection of development economics, public health and the environment. He is renowned for his research employing spatial data analysis to explore sustainable land use, the evolving role of geography in economic development, the burden of infectious diseases such as malaria in a changing climate, the impact of agricultural technology diffusion and spatial patterns of violent conflict. McCord is also a senior adviser to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

Craig McIntosh

Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy

Craig McIntosh is a development economist whose expertise focuses on program evaluation. His main research interest is the design of institutions that promote the provision of financial services to micro-entrepreneurs. He is currently working on research projects testing how to use technology to extend financial services and deepen agricultural markets and a set of studies seeking to understand how the impact of cash transfers relates to more conventional types of development assistance.

Kate Ricke

Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy; Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Kate Ricke is a climate change scientist who integrates tools from the physical and social sciences to analyze climate policy problems. She researches uncertainty and heterogeneity in climate change impacts and mitigation preferences. Her current research includes topics ranging from the regional climate effects and international relations implications of solar geoengineering to decadal climate variability’s influence on global climate agreements.

David G. Victor

Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy

David Victor's research focuses on regulated industries and how regulation affects the operation of major energy markets. Much of his research is at the intersection of climate change science and policy. At UC San Diego, Victor and researchers at the Deep Decarbonization Initiative work at the intersection of science, technology and policy. They are focused on helping the world cut emissions of warming gases given technology, economic and political constraints.

Joshua Graff Zivin

Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy

Joshua Graff Zivin is an internationally renowned economist whose broad research interests include the environment, health, development and innovation economics. He has published numerous articles on various topics in top economic, policy and science journals. Much of his current work is in three distinct areas of research: the relationship between the environment, health and human capital; the economics of innovation with a particular eye toward the role of institutions, social networks and financial incentives; and the design of health interventions and their economic impacts.