Edward A. Parson

Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law
Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

Edward A. (Ted) Parson is Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law and Faculty Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles. Parson studies international environmental law and policy, the societal impacts and governance of disruptive technologies including geoengineering and artificial intelligence, and the political economy of regulation. Parson leads the AI Pulse program at UCLA Law, and organized the 2019 Summer Institute on AI and Society. His articles have appeared in scientific and scholarly journals in a wide range of fields, including ScienceNatureClimatic ChangeFutureIssues in Science and Technology, the Journal of Economic Literature, and the Annual Review of Environment and Resources. His most recent books are The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change (with Andrew Dessler) (3rd ed. Cambridge, 2019), A Subtle Balance: Evidence, Expertise, and Democracy in Public Policy and Governance, 1970-2010 (McGill-Queens University Press, 2015), and Protecting the Ozone Layer: Science and Strategy (Oxford, 2003), which won the 2004 Sprout Award of the International Studies Association and is widely recognized as the authoritative account of the development of international cooperation to protect the ozone layer.

Parson has led and served on multiple advisory committees, for the National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and other national and international bodies. He was formerly Joseph L. Sax Collegiate Professor of Law, Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, and spent twelve years on the faculty of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. In addition to his academic positions, Parson has worked and consulted for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress, the Privy Council Office of the Government of Canada, and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). He holds degrees in physics from the University of Toronto and in management science from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from Harvard. In former lives, he was a professional classical musician and an organizer of grass-roots environmental groups.


  • B.Sc. University College, University of Toronto, 1975
  • M.Sc. University of British Columbia, 1981
  • Ph.D. Harvard University, 1992


Articles, Chapters & Reviews

  • Radical Climate Adaptation in Antarctica (with Charles R. Corbett), Ecology Law Quarterly (forthcoming).
  • Solar Geoengineering: Scenarios of Future Governance Challenges (with J.R.Reynolds), 133 Futures (Oct. 2021). (Introductory article for special collection of six articles edited by Parson and Reynolds)  Full Text
  • Solar Geoengineering Governance: Insights from a Scenario Exercise (with J.R.Reynolds), 132 Futures (September 2021). (Concluding synthesis article for special collection of six articles edited by Parson and Reynolds) Full Text
  • Large-scale Carbon Dioxide Removal: The Problem of Phasedown (with Holly J. Buck), 20(3) Global Environmental Politics (August 2020). Full Text
  • Nonstate governance of solar geoengineering research (with J.L. Reynolds), 160 Climatic Change 323-42 (2020). Full Text
  • Evaluating the efficacy and equity of environmental stopgap measures (with Holly J. Buck, L.J.Martin, O.Geden, P.Kareiva, L.Koslov, W.Krantz, B.Kravitz, J.Noël, C.J.Preston, D.L.Sanchez, L.Scarlett, & S. Talati), Nature Sustainability (2020). Full Text
  • Assess Geoengineering Proposals in the Context of Climate Risks, Environmental Law Forum 55 (Nov/Dec 2018).
  • Judging new technologies by intention and character: role and limits, Issues in Science and Technology (Winter 2018).
  • Climate policymakers and assessments must get serious about climate engineering, 114(35) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) 9227-9230 (Aug. 2017).
  • Carbon-cycle versus solar interventions: should they be treated differently in research and assessment?, 33(4) Issues in Science and Technology (Summer 2017).
  • Social Control of Technological Risks: The Dilemma of Knowledge and Control in Practice, and Ways To Surmount It, 64 UCLA Law Review Discourse 464 (2016). Full Text
  • Climate Engineering in Global Climate Governance: Implications for Participation and Linkage, 3(01) Transnational Environmental Law 89-110 (2014). Full Text
  • Market Instruments for the Sustainability Transition (with Eric L. Kravitz), 38 Annual Review of Environment and Resources 415-40 (2013). Annual Review | Abstract
  • End the Deadlock on Governance of Geoengineering Research (with David W. Keith), 339 Science 1278-79 (March 15, 2013).
  • Climate Engineering Research, Issues in Science and Technology (Summer 2013). Forum Comment on Long and Scott.
  • International Governance of Climate Engineering (with Lia N. Ernst), 14 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 307 (2013). Full Text
  • Sequential Climate Change Policy (with D. Karwat), 2 Wiley Interdisciplinary Review: Climate Change 744-56 (2011). Wiley
  • Research on Global Sun Block Needed Now (with D.W. Keith and M. Granger Morgan), 463 Nature 426-27 (Jan. 28, 2010). Full Text
  • Ontario Electricity Policy: The Climate Challenge, in Current Affairs: Perspectives on Electricity Policy for Ontario, Chapter 2 (edited by D. Reeve, D. DeWees, and B. Karney, University of Toronto Press, 2009).
  • Useful Global Change Scenarios: Current Issues and Challenges, 3(4) Environmental Research Letters 045016 (Oct.-Dec. 2008). ERL | Full Text
  • Review Essay: The Big One, 74 Journal of Economic Literature 147-64 (2007). Reviewing Catastrophe: Risk and Response, by Richard Posner.  JEL | Full Text
  • Reflections on Air Capture: The Political Economy of Active Intervention in the Global Environment, 74 Climatic Change 1-11 (2006). Climatic ChangeFull Text
  • Grounds for Hope: The Assessment of Technological Options to Manage Ozone Depletion, in Assessments of Regional and Global Environmental Risks: Designing Processes for the Effective Use of Science in Decision-Making (edited by A. Farrell and J. Jäger, Resources for the Future Press, 2005). Order from Amazon | Full Text
  • Environmental Health Implications of Global Climate Change (with R. Watson, J. Patz, D. Gubler, and J.H. Vincent), 7 Journal of Environmental Monitoring 834-43 (Dec. 2005). JEM
  • Book Review, 37 Canadian Journal of Political Science 439-41 (2004). Reviewing Restoration of the Great Lakes: Promises, Practices, Performances, by M. Sproule-Jones.
  • Seeking Truth for Power: Information Strategy and Regulatory Policy-Making (with C. Coglianese and R. Zeckhauser), 89 Minnesota Law Review 277-341 (2004). Via Hein Online (restricted) | Full Text
  • Collective Silence and Individual Voice: the Logic of Information Games (with R.J. Zeckhauser, and C. Coglianese), in Collective Choice: Essays in Honor of Mancur Olson 49-70 (edited by J. Heckelman and D. Coates, Springer-Verlag, 2003). Order from Amazon | Full Text
  • Climate and the Water, Forests, and Salmon of the Pacific Northwest (with E.A. Parson, P.W. Mote and ten other authors), 61 Climatic Change 45-88 (Nov. 2003). Climatic Change
  • Understanding Climate Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation in the United States: Building a Capacity for Assessment (with E.A Parson, R.W. Corell and ten other authors), 57 Climatic Change 9-42 (Mar. 2003). Climatic Change
  • The Technology Assessment Approach to Climate Change, 84 Issues in Science and Technology 65-72 (Summer 2002). Issues in S&T | Subsequent discussion forum, Fall 2002 | Full Text
  • Implementing the Climate Regime’s Clean Development Mechanism (with R.B. Mitchell), 10(2) Journal of Environment and Development 125-46 (June 2001). JED (Subscription required)
  • Environmental Trends: a Challenge to Canadian Governance, Chapter 1, in Governing the Environment: Persistent Challenges, Uncertain Innovations 3-29 (edited by Edward A. Parson, University of Toronto Press, 2001).
  • Persistent Challenges, Uncertain Innovations: A Synthesis, Chapter 9, in Governing the Environment: Persistent Challenges, Uncertain Innovations 345-80 (edited by Edward A. Parson, University of Toronto Press, 2001).
  • Leading While Keeping in Step: Canadian Management of Global Atmospheric Risks, Chapter 10 (with A.R. Dobell, A. Fenech, D. Munton, and H. Smith), in Learning to Manage Global Environmental Risks: a Comparative History of Social Responses to Climate Change, Ozone Depletion, and Acid Rain 235-57 (edited by W.C. Clark et al., MIT Press). Social Learning Group. Also secondary author on four other chapters in volume.
  • Socioeconomic Context for Climate Impact Assessment, Chapter 3 (E.A. Parson and M.G. Morgan, with A. Janetos, L. Joyce, B. Miller, R. Richels, and T. Wilbanks), in Climate Change Impacts on the United States. A Report of the National Assessment Synthesis Team, US Global Change Research Program 93-107 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). PDF on USGCRP website
  • Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for the Pacific Northwest, Chapter 9 (with P.W. Mote, A. Hamlet, N. Mantua, A. Snover, W. Keeton, E. Miles, D. Canning, K.G. Ideker), in Climate Change Impacts on the United States. US Global Change Research Program 247-80 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). PDF on USGCRP website
  • Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change for Alaska, Chapter 10 (with L. Carter, P. Anderson, B. Wang, and G. Weller), in Climate Change Impacts on the United States. US Global Change Research Program 283-312 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). PDF on USGCRP website
  • Environmental Trends and Environmental Governance in Canada, 26 Canadian Public Policy S123-S143 (Aug. 2000). Full Text
  • Joint Implementation of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Under the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism”: Its Scope and Limits (with K. Fisher-Vanden), 32 Policy Sciences 207-24 (Sep. 1999). Policy Sciences
  • The Montreal Protocol: The First Adaptive Global Environmental Regime?, in Protecting the Ozone Layer: Lessons, Models, and Prospects (edited by P.G. LePrestre, J.D. Reid, and E.T. Morehouse, Jr., Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1998). Order from Amazon | Full Text
  • Games and Simulations (with D.W. Keith), in Human Choice and Climate Change (edited by S. Rayner and E. Malone, Battelle Press, 1998). Full Text
  • Fossil Fuels without CO2 Emissions (with D.W. Keith), Science 282 (5391) 1053-54 (6 Nov. 1998). Science | Full Text
  • Informing Global Environmental Policy-making: A Plea for New Methods of Assessment and Synthesis, 2(4) Environmental Modeling and Assessment 267-79 (1998). EMA
  • Integrated Assessment Models of Global Climate Change (with K. Fisher-Vanden), 22 Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 589-628 (1997). Annual Review
  • International Environmental Negotiations: The Current State of Empirical and Analytical Study, 13 Negotiation Journal 161-83 (April 1997). Full Text
  • International Protection of the Ozone Layer, in Green Globe Yearbook: 1996 (edited by H.O. Bergeson and G. Parmann, Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oxford University Press, 1996). Order from Amazon
  • What Can You Learn From a Game?, in Wise Choices: Games, Decisions, and Negotiations (edited by R. Zeckhauser, R. Keeney, and J. Sebenius, Harvard Business School Press, 1996). Order from Amazon | Full Text
  • Three Dilemmas in the Integrated Assessment of Climate Change, 34 Climatic Change 315-26 (1996). Climatic Change
  • Integrated Assessment and Environmental Policy-Making: In Pursuit of Usefulness, 23 Energy Policy 463-75 (1995). Energy Policy | Full Text
  • Sustainable Development as Social Learning: Theoretical Perspectives and Practical Challenges for the Design of a Research Program (with W.C. Clark), in Barriers and Bridges to the Renewal of Ecosystems and Institutions 428-60 (edited by L. Gunderson, C.S. Holling, and S. Light, Columbia University Press, 1995). Order from Amazon | Full Text
  • Cooperation in the Unbalanced Commons (with R. Zeckhauser), in Barriers to the Conflict Resolution 212-34 (edited by K. Arrow, R. Mnookin, L. Ross, A. Tversky and R. Wilson, Norton, 1995). Order from Amazon | Full Text
  • Equal Measures or Fair Burdens: Negotiating Environmental Treaties in an Unequal World (with R. Zeckhauser), in Shaping National Responses to Climate Change 81-114 (edited by H. Lee, Island Press, 1995). Order from Amazon
  • Von dem Peripherie ins Zentrum der Aussen politik? Die internationale Umweltpolitik, in Amerikanische Weltpolitik nach dem Ost-West-Konflikt (edited by M. Dembinski, P. Rudolf, and J. Wilzewsk, Nomos Verlag, 1994).
  • Protecting the Ozone Layer, in Institutions for the Earth (edited by P.M. Haas, R.O. Keohane, and M.A. Levy, MIT Press, 1993). Order from Amazon
  • Assessing UNCED and the State of Sustainable Development, Proceedings of the American Society of International Law 508-13 (1993). Full Text

Technical Reports & Working Papers

  • Moratoria for Global Governance and Contested Technology: The Case of Climate Engineering (with Megan Herzog), UCLA School of Law, Public Law & Legal Theory Working Paper Series No. 16-17 (2016). Full Text
  • The International Policy Environment for Carbon Capture and Sequestration, Report to National Energy Technology Laboratory, US DOE, April 2003.
  • Implementing Joint Implementation: Developing a Management and Performance System for the Kyoto Protocol’s “Clean Development Mechanism” (with R.B. Mitchell), ENRP Discussion Paper E-98-06.. Harvard University (June, 1998).
  • Explaining the Form of Assessments: Why do we get the assessments we do? (with S. Agrawala, A. Patt, R. Keohane, R. Mitchell, L. Botcheva, W. Clark, E. DeSombre, J. McCarthy, and E. Shea), ENRP Discussion Paper E-97-12.. Harvard University (1997).
  • Global Environmental Assessment (with W.C. Clark and N. Dickson), ENRP Discussion Paper E-97-15.. Harvard University (1997).
  • Joint Implementation and its Alternatives: Choosing Systems to Distribute Mitigation and Finance (with K. Fisher-Vanden), ENRP Discussion Paper E-97-03.. Harvard University (1977).
  • A Global Climate Change Policy Exercise: Results of a Test Run, July 27-29 1999, Working Paper WP-96-90.. International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria (August 1996).
  • Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Models of Global Climate Change (with K. Fisher-Vanden). Socio-economic Data and Analysis Center, NASA Mission to Planet Earth, 1966.
  • Climate Treaties and Models, Background Study, Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress, Washington DC, June 1994.
  • Negotiating Climate Cooperation: Learning from Theory, Simulations, and History (Harvard University, May 1992). Doctoral dissertation in Public Policy.
  • The Transport Sector and Global Warming, Disc. Paper G-90-07, Harvard Global Environmental Policy Project. (Appeared in abridged form as the transport sector chapter in Changing by Degrees, OTA’s Feb. 1991 Report on Global Climate Change)
  • Midwest-Northeast Transmission: A Partial Solution to Acid Rain? Discussion Paper E-88-05, Energy and Environment Policy Center, Harvard University.

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