RFF Explainers

Background information on the concepts underpinning RFF research

Carbon Pricing 

An introduction to carbon pricing, including carbon taxes and cap-and-trade programs, the benefits and design of pricing policies, and applications around the globe.

Social Cost of Carbon 

A review of the social cost of carbon, from a basic definition to the history of its use in policy analysis.

What Is “Value”?

What do economists mean by value, and how do they think about the value of information?

Measuring How Scientific Research Benefits Society Using Economics

Valuing earth science information empowers scientists to show how their work benefits people and the environment.


An overview of how electrification can reduce emissions, from the feasibility of electrifying different technologies to the policy options for encouraging economy-wide electrification.


How does discounting help decisionmakers understand the costs and benefits of choices and policies—and how does it apply to climate change?

Forest Bioenergy: Generation and Emissions

Forest bioenergy has been heralded by some as a promising renewable energy source and condemned by others as having negative effects on the environment. Here’s a review of the basics of forest bioenergy generation and emissions.

Electricity: Terms and Definitions

Basics of the electric grid and the power industry, explained

Renewables: Integrating Renewable Energy Resources into the Grid

An exploration of how renewables connect to the grid, how these connections impact grid operations, and implications of a high penetration of renewables for the grid in the future.

Carbon Capture and Storage

An overview of CCS technology, including how it works, where it is currently used in the United States, barriers to more widespread use, and policies that may affect its development and deployment.

Energy Efficiency

The basics of improving energy efficiency, from how it can reduce energy use and mitigate climate change to the policies in place to encourage people to invest in energy-efficient products.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund

An overview of the history, funding, and future of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a major source of funding for federal land acquisition and state conservation projects.

Geothermal Energy

An overview of traditional and next generation geothermal technologies, the benefits and challenges of geothermal energy use and deployment, and the policy landscape for geothermal energy in the United States.

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