Discussing the future of energy at MIT by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Sol spoke at MIT's EmTech conference alongside MIT's Donald Sadoway about the future of energy.

Sol speaks at MIT about the impact of climate change

Donald Sadoway speaks at MIT about preventing climate change through engineering innovation. 

Op-Ed in the Guardian: Would a legal ivory trade save elephants? by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Solomon Hsiang and Nitin Sekar published an op-ed in the Guardian, in answer to the question: "Would a legal ivory trade save elephants or speed up the massacre?"

The op-ed discusses the recent research findings from the Lab that legal ivory sales in 2008 increased poaching, rather than decreased poaching as the policy intended.

These findings were cited in editorials by the New York Times and the Guardian calling for stronger action and regulation (or total bans) of legal ivory trade.

Negotiations for creating a permanent legal global ivory market were halted at the recent meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species, in part due to these research findings.


Publication: Social and economic impacts of climate by Solomon Hsiang

Tamma Carleton and Solomon Hsiang published an article in Science discussing and synthesizing the methods and results used to understand the impact of climate from the last decade. We demonstrate how findings across the literature and sectors are linked, identify commonalities across numerous studies, and compute how much (i) various aspects of the current climate contribute to to historical social outcomes, (ii) how much climate change to date has affected outcomes, and (iii) quantitative projections of the future. We identify that understanding "adaptation gaps" is the most important area for future research.

Documentary movie on climate as a cause of conflict by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Want to be on the silver screen? Get a PhD. Sol was interviewed for a new documentary (which he hasn't seen yet). 

What the filmmakers say about it

‘The Hurt Locker’ meets ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, THE AGE OF CONSEQUENCES investigates the impacts of climate change on increased resource scarcity, migration, and conflict through the lens of US national security and global stability.
Through unflinching case-study analysis, distinguished admirals, generals and military veterans take us beyond the headlines of the conflict in Syria, the social unrest of the Arab Spring, the rise of radicalized groups like ISIS, and the European refugee crisis – and lay bare how climate change stressors interact with societal tensions, sparking conflict.
Whether a long-term vulnerability or sudden shock, the film unpacks how water and food shortages, drought, extreme weather, and sea-level rise function as ‘accelerants of instability’ and ‘catalysts for conflict’ in volatile regions of the world.

Berkeley Opportunity Lab web launch by Solomon Hsiang

We launched the Opportunity Lab website. The Opportunity Lab is a new group of economists on campus that leverage data to uncover solutions to poverty and inequality issues.  The Lab focuses on six core research areas: Climate and Environment, Crime and Criminal Justice, Education and Child Development, Health, Social Safety Nets and Employment, Taxation and Inequality. Sol and collaborator Reed Walker are co-directing the Climate and Environment program of the Lab. Stay tuned!

Paper: Attendance distorts standardized test scores by Solomon Hsiang

Felipe Gonzalez has a new working paper Distorted Quality Signals in School Markets, demonstrating that schools in Chile increase their ranking by discouraging low performing students from showing up to class on days when standardized tests are administered. This is important because standardized tests scores determine how competitive schools are ranked and how resources are allocated across schools.

How far has policy research come in 3000 years? by Solomon Hsiang

At the Asian Art Museum of SF, a display of oracle bones provides perspective on how far we've come in terms of using science to improve policy decisions. These bones (circa 1100 BCE) were designed to discover information about potential future outcomes by eliciting answers from deceased ancestors. 

The center bone aims to determine whether war with a neighboring group is wise. 

Publication: Conflict in a changing climate by GlobalPolicyLab Member

Tamma and Sol, along with co-author Marshall Burke at Stanford, published a review of the climate and violence literature in a Special Topics issue of the European Physical Journal.

The review focuses on how to use empirical evidence from historical climate-conflict relationships to make projections about the future. We present new evidence suggesting that income mitigates the impact of temperature on crime and conflict, implying that future projections may be improved by incorporating income-based adaptation. Check out a more detailed blog post about the publication on the blog G-FEED here