Environment, Energy, and Climate Change

J-PAL’s Environment, Energy, and Climate Change sector measures the real-world impacts of energy and environmental policies, particularly on climate change mitigation, pollution reduction, climate change adaptation, and energy access.

Climate change disproportionately affects people living in poverty and threatens to reverse decades of progress in global poverty alleviation. However, there is a critical lack of research on the real-world impacts of climate solutions. Leaders around the world need more evidence on the effectiveness of technological and policy innovations to implement solutions that address climate change and poverty.

In addition to supporting policymakers in applying evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, sector chairs and staff write policy insights that synthesize general lessons emerging from the research, condense results from evaluations in policy publications and evaluation summaries. 

In 2020, in partnership with King Philanthropies, J-PAL launched the King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI), our flagship program to vastly expand work on climate change across J-PAL worldwide. Through K-CAI, J-PAL innovates, tests, and scales high-impact solutions at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation with governments, NGOs, donors, and companies worldwide.

J-PAL has expanded K-CAI’s work through the Air and Water Labs with Community Jameel. Embedded in partner government agencies, the labs address water scarcity and worsening air and water quality in Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia.

The photo shows a small woodburning fireplace inside a cozy home.
Policy Publication

Wood Burning: Improving Pollution Awareness

In France, general information on the air pollution caused by wood burning, coupled with personalized information on individual households’ air quality, improved households’ awareness of pollution and reduced indoor air pollution levels.

An aerial shot of a village.

New resource: Incorporating remote sensing data into randomized evaluations

A growing number of economists are incorporating remotely sensed (RS) data—satellite data in particular—into their studies. For randomized evaluations, remote data collection offers alluring possibilities: lower data collection costs, a longer time series of data both before and after an...

Man taking care of a coffee tree that grows wild in a tropical rain forest in Pekalongan, Central Java, Indonesia.

Growing evidence-informed climate policy: Five scaling stories from the King Climate Action Initiative

J-PAL’s King Climate Action Initiative (K-CAI) supports pilot studies, randomized evaluations, and scaling projects at the nexus of climate change and poverty alleviation. Three years ago, the initiative concluded its first funding competition. Since then, K-CAI has generated evidence that has...


Here’s a realistic path to protecting the Amazon rainforest

As trees disappear, the Amazon’s ability to return moisture to the atmosphere declines, leading to less rainfall, higher temperatures and a dry forest. Unless levels of deforestation drop dramatically, this feedback loop could transform over half of the Amazon into savanna within decades.


Looking for hope on the climate? Look here.

After a summer of climate-related disasters, the latest report from the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change is a dire warning for the world. The planet faces a “rapidly narrowing window” to avert catastrophic levels of warming.

Top: An Egyptian man collects grass in his boat. Bottom left: A man walking through air pollution in India. Bottom right: Two people cleaning a polluted river in Cape Town, South Africa

J-PAL and Community Jameel launch Air and Water Labs in Egypt, India, and South Africa

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) will launch the Air and Water Labs, with support from Community Jameel, to generate evidence-based solutions aimed at increasing access to clean air and water. Led by J-PAL’s Africa, Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and South Asia regional offices, the labs will partner with government agencies to bring together researchers and policymakers in areas where impactful clean air and water solutions are most urgently needed.


Punjab inks pact to launch emissions trading

In partnership with J-PAL and the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, the Punjab government is developing an emissions trading scheme to reduce pollution in the state. 

Policy Insight

Encouraging residential energy efficiency

Programs that encouraged investments in residential energy efficiency had limited returns in several impact evaluations in real-world settings. Relatively small impacts on energy savings coupled with low take-up meant that encouraging these investments through information campaigns and subsidies was...

Improving third-party pollution audits in Gujarat
Evidence to Policy

Strengthening third-party audits to reduce pollution

Evidence from a randomized evaluation informed the scale-up of a pollution audit policy in Gujarat, India.

Sector Chairs

Co-Chair, Environment, Energy, and Climate Change

Milton Friedman Professor of Economics

University of Chicago

Kelsey Jack

Co-Chair, Environment, Energy, and Climate Change

Member, Executive Committee

Associate Professor

University of California Santa Barbara

Sector Contacts

Headshot of Sarah DiCiccio

Digital Communications Manager, J-PAL Global

Headshot of Jack Ellington

Policy Associate, J-PAL Global

Headshot of Gabrielle Robertson

Senior Policy Associate, J-PAL Global