Novel Data Technology Applications to Transform Enforcement of Climate and Clean Air Regulation


  • Dr Michael Greenstone

    University of Chicago, United States

Project summary

The last several decades have been defined by innovation and technological advances, but environmental regulators continue to rely on outdated methods. Leveraging advancements in remote sensing, air monitoring, computing capabilities, and analytic methods can transform the way regulatory agencies implement environmental enforcement. We propose a multi-pronged study that leverages our close partnerships with U.S. federal and state regulators to design and test novel applications of these technologies to improve enforcement of climate and air regulations. We propose leveraging new technologies to improve monitoring and inspection targeting across three regulatory domains: 1) Clean Air Act (Multi-Sectoral) enforcement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; 2) Oil & Gas emissions (Energy sector) regulation enforcement with Colorado state regulators; and 3) Truck emissions (Transport sector) monitoring and enforcement with California state regulators. In each context, we piloted new technologies poised to significantly improve inspection targeting. We now propose rigorously evaluating the effectiveness of these solutions on emissions and compliance. This study could transform the efficacy of air and climate regulation and enforcement, yield emissions reductions, and realize health co-benefits. The proposed program has high potential for substantial policy impact, and if scaled, could fundamentally transform emissions monitoring and enforcement in the U.S. and beyond.