I research various topics in climate and energy politics, including municipal climate adaptation, rural solar electrification, solar geoengineering, and climate bargaining. My research has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Environmental Politics, Climatic Change, Energy Economics, and Energy Policy.
My primary research agenda focuses on how towns and cities adapt to the anticipated effects of climate change. To better understand this phenomenon, my dissertation focuses on Massachusetts's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, among the country's first state-led adaptation programs. Using a variety of new datasets --- including municipal projects included in funding applications and information about meeting attendees --- combined with detailed geospatial and financial data and qualitative interviews, I argue that the politics of climate adaptation emerge over time, as communities adopt and modify institutions to respond to unfamiliar problems.
Previously, I worked at IFF, a Community Development Financial Institution in Chicago; and at PricewaterhouseCoopers' Global Transfer Pricing division in New York. I graduated from Princeton University in 2009 where I concentrated in politics and earned certificates in finance and political economy.
How do Municipalities Adapt to Climate Change? Evidence from Massachusetts's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program
Climate change presents communities with hazards that are unprecedented in their frequency, intensity, and severity: flooding, extreme temperatures, severe storms, drought, among others. How, if at all, will they respond to these changes? My dissertation explores this question in the context of Massachusetts’s Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant program, the US's first state-wide integrated adaptation initiative and a model for similar programs being developed in Rhode Island, Maine, and North Carolina. Interviews with state and local public officials and quasi-public and private program facilitators suggest that public adaptation differs from traditional municipal governance in some respects. Because US states are only starting to adapt, there is limited awareness among residents and local elected officials about possible solutions and their consequences. Accordingly, local decisions are frequently shaped by unelected public officials and representatives from local civic, social service, and environmental groups. Due to the actors' uncertainty about the efficacy of responses, an absence of established rules governing their interactions, and shared beliefs about a community's immediate vulnerabilities, decisions about how to adapt are less the product of representation than of local capital, bureaucratic, and land constraints. To examine the role of these constraints, I combine geospatial and municipal personnel and financial data obtained from the State of Massachusetts with original datasets of adaptation projects listed in municipal funding applications and planning reports and lists of attendees at local adaptation planning meetings.