Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Farewell

Posted by Daniel Hall on February 14, 2009

This is a post that I’ve been putting off writing all week.  But the time for delay is up.

Yesterday was my last day at Resources for the Future.  In some sense I got the opportunity to put a capstone on my time there by writing this week’s Weekly Policy Commentary, which previews the upcoming cap-and-trade debate.  It’s as fitting a final statement as I could have hoped for, as it sums up (or at least touches on) many of the issues I’ve worked on over the last two years at RFF.

Tuesday morning I will report to the Department of the Treasury, to start as a Climate Policy Analyst in the (relatively new) Office of Environment and Energy.  (You can hear Hank Paulson talk about this office briefly in the video from a recent event at RFF — he mentions it a bit beyond the 8 minute mark.)  I’m tremendously excited about the opportunity to help shape the debate on climate policy design.  In many respects I’m moving from being a producer of the type of analysis that RFF does to being a consumer.

That sentiment applies to this blog as well.  I’ll continue to read with interest, and I do secretly hope that this blog long outlives its founders’ involvement as a place where the research assistants at RFF can give timely and accessible thoughts about the work that they are doing and the issues they’re thinking about.

I had the chance yesterday to tell my RFF colleagues what a privilege and a joy it had been to work with and learn from them.  I feel much the same about my co-bloggers and our readers.  I don’t think any of us could have started this thing up without the encouragement from each other, and I know my ability to blog was greatly enhanced by the offline conversations with Evan and Rich (and others) that sparked ideas.  And I learned plenty from the readers too, who were willing to call me out when I was wrong, ask me questions when I was unclear, and point me to additional information when I was uninformed.  Thank you all, sincerely.  I hope in your time reading here you’ve gleaned even a fraction of the knowledge and pleasure that I’ve gained in writing.

And speaking of that, at least a couple thoughts about “what I’ve learned as a blogger” seem in order before I close.  After almost a year and a half, and well over 200 posts, what have I learned?  I think the two biggest things are a sense of humility about how much I know and a sense of awe over the incredible storehouses of knowledge and expertise that are increasingly available through the blogosphere.  I’ll admit that I got into blogging thinking that I had a lot to offer.  And while I do hope I’ve made a contribution and helped a few folks understand climate policy a little better, the longer I went on blogging the more I felt that a lot of intellectual humility was necessary for any complicated question, and beyond that just how big and messy and complicated and interesting our world is.  I know that many of our readers have been disappointed by the low volume of posting I’ve done for the last 6 months or so.  Well, part of that was due to an increasingly busy personal and professional life, but honestly just as big a part of it was driven by my growing sense that there are so many incredible people out there in the blogosphere doing such great work that at the margin I was better off spending a bit of extra time reading rather than writing.  I guess in my view at the moment there is an oversupply of smart and excellent blog posts.  That’s a great thing for blog readers, and so I’ve been content to shift towards consumption and away from production.

Still, I’m incredibly glad I undertook this project and I strongly encourage people who are thinking about it to give blogging a try.  It’s a great way to ramp up your engagement with the world.  It gives you a natural lens through which to try to process and organize information, it sharpens your critical thinking skills, and hopefully it can help make you a better writer.  And you’ll likely pick up some friends along the way.

I certainly have. I’m not going to list any names, but I think you all know who you are.  Thank you for reading.  Thanks for your smart thoughts and engaging conversations.  Our conversations will no longer be as public, but I hope they’ll continue to be as spirited and thoughtful.  And who knows what the future holds?  I like to think that at some point down the road there is some more blogging out there for me somewhere.

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3 Responses to “Farewell”

  1. tidal said

    good luck Daniel, and congratulations. Thanks for all your contributions.

  2. John Fleck said

    Thanks for all you’ve offered here. You and your colleagues have made (and will, I imagine, continue to make) important contributions to my understanding of these important issues.

  3. [...] Resources for the Future (RFF) researcher Daniel Hall recently left the think tank to join the Obama Administration as a Climate Policy Analyst. In his final post at the RFF website, Hall summarizes the issues he [...]

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