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Featured Research

Ba, Y., & Galik, C. S. (2022). Historical manufacturing volatility and local sustainability efforts: A link to the past. Global Environmental Change, 72, 102421.

Renewed attention to the role of subnational efforts in addressing myriad environmental challenges necessitates a greater understanding of the factors associated with program adoption. Given observed relationships between adoption of sustainability practices and the presence of carbon-intensive industry, and separately the observed persistence of industrial history in a given place, we explore the link between historical manufacturing employment volatility and current sustainability plan adoption at the local level. Our analysis suggests that the magnitude of changes in manufacturing employment is inversely related to the likelihood of sustainability plan adoption. Our analysis further suggests that, given the same pace of change, counties with shrinking manufacturing employment are more likely to adopt sustainability plans than those with growing employment. Lastly, we find that the link between past industrial transitions and local sustainability commitment is moderated by local disaster experience and priority for environmental protection. Collectively, the findings also shed light on potential and otherwise unobservable barriers to transitions to sustainable practices at the local level. In particular, the inverse relationship between pace of employment change and plan adoption suggests that minimizing the rapidity of contemporary transitions may counterintuitively ease the eventual adoption of sustainability-related policies.

Godlevskaya, D., Galik, C. S., & Kaufman, N. (2021). Major US electric utility climate pledges have the potential to collectively reduce power sector emissions by one-third. One Earth, 4(12), 1741-1751.

The power sector represents 25% of US total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In the absence of comprehensive federal climate policies, numerous US electric utilities have announced GHG reduction pledges. The extent to which they can mitigate emissions beyond existing state and regional policies remains unclear, however. Here we compile 36 major utility pledges in place as of December 2020 across more than 80 utility subsidiaries and operating territories and compare pledged reductions with those achievable under existing state and regional renewable energy production or emission reduction requirements. We show that one-seventh of utility pledged reductions may already occur under existing state and regional policies but nonetheless have the potential for substantial net emissions reductions, an amount equivalent to one-third of 2018 US power sector emissions. Although challenges remain to tracking achievement of pledged reductions, voluntary reduction efforts could play a vital role in climate change mitigation.

Galik, C. S., & Chelbi, L. (2021). Revisiting institutional stability: A systematic review and distillation of dominant modes. Environmental Policy and Governance,

The concept of institutional stability has been explored from multiple disciplinary lenses and is associated with a variety of theories and frameworks, masking important variation in the mechanisms and modes of institutional stability, and complicating our understanding of how and why institutions are maintained over time. This is particularly salient to questions of environmental governance, where the recent pace and magnitude of both political and environmental change necessitates more careful attention to the capacity of existing institutions to persist or adapt. Here, we conduct a systematic review to examine the treatment of institutional stability in the literature to determine whether dominant or consistent conceptualizations of institutional stability are present. Beginning with a list of 21 synonyms for stability as used in the literature, we assembled a raw dataset of 23,379 manuscripts in print or published between 1976 and August 2019. Papers were then screened to ensure a theoretical or empirical analysis of institutional stability, resulting in a final dataset of 165 unique manuscripts. From our review, we propose two separate axes directionality and intentionality upon which four separate modes of stability may be arrayed. Termed passive stability, active stability, intended inaction, and failed action, we find that each is characterized by distinct mechanisms and captures specific concepts detailed in the extant literature. Though we believe our typology to have the potential to provide for a more precise analysis of institutional stability and associated policy and resource outcomes, further research is necessary to demonstrate its applicability.

Galik, C.S. (2020). A continuing need to revisit BECCS and its potential. Nature Climate Change, 10, 2-3.

As work continues to finalize and then implement the Paris Agreement Rulebook, biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) remains a flashpoint in the debate over reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs). The IPCC has suggested that BECCS could play a central role in meeting GHG reduction targets, with a vast majority of the scenarios in its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) relying on the technology to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees (C). However, there remains a critical and continued need to consider the practical realities of BECCS and the potential disconnect between research and application. Concerns have been raised about the potential to achieve the magnitudes suggested by modelling analyses, as well as the social and environmental implications of doing so. And although more recent summaries by the IPCC indicate a reduced dependence on BECCS, the technology remains a dominant contributor to strategies for achieving long- term climate stability.

Galik, C.S., Latta, G.S., & Gambino, C. (2019). Piecemeal or combined? Assessing greenhouse gas mitigation spillovers in US forest and agriculture policy portfolios. Climate Policy, 19, 1270-1283.

Forest and agricultural sector response to comprehensive climate policy is well represented in the literature. Less analysis has been devoted to piecemeal solutions. We use the Forest and Agriculture Sector Optimization Model with Greenhouse Gases (FASOMGHG) to project the individual and combined effect of three existing U.S. Department of Agriculture programmes with potential to increase greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation. We find that a combined policy scenario may achieve greater mitigation than individual constituent programmes, suggesting the possibility of complementary spillover effects in some periods. Mitigation varies over time, however, and some periods experience net emissions as markets and management practices respond to initial policy shocks. The regional distribution of GHG mitigation also varies between policy scenario. Differences in the magnitude and imputed cost of mitigation under each scenario, generating negative values for some programmes and time periods, reinforces the need to evaluate portfolio design to cost-effectively achieve near-term GHG mitigation.

Other Recent Research

Galik, C. S., Widiss, R., & Lowe, B. (2021). U.S. state-commissioned energy storage studies: A case study of research and practice in a rapidly evolving field. Journal of Energy Storage,

Galik, C. S., Benedum, M. E., Kauffman, M., & Becker, D. R. (2021). Opportunities and barriers to forest biomass energy: A case study of four U.S. states. Biomass and Bioenergy.

DeCarolis, J., Jaramillo, P., Johnson, J., McCollum, D., Trutnevyte, E., Daniels, D., … Galik, C.S., et al. (2020). Leveraging open source tools to build distributed and collaborative macro-energy modeling teams. Joule, 4, 2523-2526.

Mason, S. A., Olander, L. P., Grala, R. K., Galik, C. S., & Gordon, J. S. (2020). A practice-oriented approach to foster private landowner participation in ecosystem service conservation and restoration at a landscape scale. Ecosystem Services,