Event Date and Time
1101 Parren J. Mitchell Art-Sociology Building

The Program for Society and the Environment and the Department of Sociology are hosting a presentation by Dr. Johannes Urpelainen, Prince Sultan bin Abdelaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment and Founding Director of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. The title and abstract for the talk, as well as a brief bio, are below:

Playing Politics with Environmental Protection: The Political Economy of Designating Protected Areas

Protected areas play an important role in biodiversity conservation, but they also carry local costs in the form of constraints on natural resource extraction. Here we investigate how policymakers make trade-offs between national environmental benefits and local economic costs. Examining the designation of protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon, we conduct a geographic regression discontinuity analysis. We find that the Brazilian government systematically over-designates protected areas in municipalities controlled by opposition mayors relative to municipalities controlled by co-partisan mayors. This causal effect of political alignment is limited to federally designated areas and does not apply to state-level designations or indigenous lands. The results show that political considerations bias the geographic distribution of protected areas in the world's largest rainforest.


Johannes Urpelainen is the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Professor of Energy, Resources and Environment at Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Founding Director of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy (ISEP).  He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 2009 and spent the next eight years at Columbia University.

Johannes is the award-winning author of five books and 150 refereed articles on environmental politics, energy policy, and global governance. At SAIS, he teaches action-oriented classes on energy and environmental policy to equip the next generation of global leaders with deep knowledge, advanced analytical skills — and a passion for transformational social change. One of the world’s top energy policy experts, Johannes frequently advises governments, international organizations, and the private sector on energy and environment.

As the Founding Director of ISEP, Johannes is responsible for the vision, strategy, and general management of the initiative. His work under ISEP offers pragmatic but effective approaches to providing the world’s population with affordable and abundant energy at minimal environmental impact. In his spare time, Johannes reads biographies and tries to improve his Hindi.


Dr. Johannes Urpelainen