Institute of Government & Public Affairs

Climate Policy

Governments around the world are struggling to determine the optimal policy responses to climate change. All regions, including Illinois, are subject to its varied global effects. The Climate Change Policy Initiative seeks to understand how public policy can help protect Illinois residents from the effects of climate change. These effects will include not only hotter summer temperatures, heat stroke, and heat-related diseases, but also higher levels of air pollution and increased numbers of droughts and floods for the state.

These changing weather patterns affect not only the health of the local population, but also the costs and profitability of important state industries such as agriculture and energy. The Climate Change Policy Initiative helps to evaluate forward-looking public policies that can help protect Illinois’s productivity, health, and future economic welfare.

The initiative’s policy topics include the following: a state carbon tax or cap-and-trade permit system to help control carbon dioxide emissions and replace other taxes; gasoline excise taxes or tolls to reduce emissions, relieve congestion, and pay for roads; energy production and regulation; air quality regulation; water supply infrastructure such as dam, reservoir, and waterway construction; and crop rotation and planning for climate change.


“Our analysis of the latest academic research and investigations into state and federal policy will help Illinois plan today to insure ourselves against the uncertain future effects of climate change.”

Affiliated Experts

Gutgsell Professor of Finance

Don Fullerton is a member of the Fiscal Health of Illinois working group. He researches energy and environmental policy issues, including household garbage and recycling behavior, air and water quality regulation, and climate change policy.  He studies the economic effects of these regulations including their cost effectiveness, the distribution of their burdens, and the interactions between environmental policy and other tax policy. He also has done extensive research on taxation issues including the economic incidence and investment incentive effects of the corporate income tax and other federal and state taxes.

Assistant Professor

Julian Reif is a member of the Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Health Working Group at IGPA. His primary area of interest is health care economics, with a current research focus on the value of health and the effectiveness of social insurance programs. One of Professor Reif's recent papers argues that the societal value of medical technology is significantly larger than has previously been recognized, especially with respect to medical treatments for severe diseases. The paper also shows that medical treatments act as a form of insurance. Consequently, medical innovation policy can have a large impact on reducing health risks. Another recent paper finds that Medicare Part D, a prescription drug program for the elderly established by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, successfully reduced mortality following its implementation. He also studies energy and environmental policy, such as the gasoline tax, air pollution, and carbon emissions. His recent work in that area includes estimating the effect of air pollution on mortality, medical utilization, and healthcare costs. He finds that the reduction in air pollution over the past twenty years reduced elderly mortality, generating significant social benefits.