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Kalim Shah - University of Delaware. Newark, DE, US

Kalim Shah

Associate Professor, Energy and Environmental Policy | University of Delaware


Dr. Shah studies public policy, governance and institutional analysis for sustainable development in small islands and economies.







Global Dialogs - Delaware IPL Director at the IRENA-Caribbean Event in Barbados Assessment Report 6: Implications for Islands



Dr Shah is a recognized expert on public policy, regulation and governance in small island jurisdictions. As an institutional theorist, his research addresses science-based policy and regulatory design and administration for climate change, pollution prevention, clean technology, industrialization and sustainable production and consumption. His new work is on the effectiveness of tools such as technology needs assessments and regulatory impact assessments for informing policy decisions.

Dr. Shah was appointed as the Coordinator of the Universities Consortium of Small Island States, a UN Multi-stakeholder Partnership and served as Coordinating Lead Author for Environmental Policy Assessment of the UN Global Environmental Outlook 6 Report. He is the President of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Association. He is an active member of the AAAS Caribbean Committee.

Dr. Shah’s expertise continues to be called upon in the international sphere, where he has provided expert advice, research and analysis for organizations including the World Bank Group, InterAmerican Development Bank, United Nations Development Program, Pan-American Health Organization and various governments of island countries including Guyana and Suriname where he designed the national climate change policies. Dr Shah received his PhD in Public Policy from George Mason University with his dissertation on corporate sustainability and regulatory environmental management. He received his MSc in Natural Resource Management from the University of the West Indies and BSc in Natural Sciences at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (8)

Public Policy

Environment, Social, Governance (ESG)

Institutional Transformation

Small Island Developing States

Energy Security and Transition

Climate Change

Business and the Natural Environment


Media Appearances (2)

Experts See Environmental Risk from China’s Small Island BRI Efforts

Voice of America  online


Large-scale infrastructure projects on such islands, common under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, increase risks to the environment, according to Kalim Shah, assistant professor at the University of Delaware specializing in governance in small island states.

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COP26 Perspectives: Kalim Shah

University of Delaware | Climate Change Hub  online


As COP26 enters its second week, climate and energy experts from the University of Delaware are sharing their opinions about the proceedings, including pressing issues, conference goals, and future outlooks. In this entry, Kalim Shah, Assistant Professor in the Biden School of Public Policy and Director of the UD Island Policy Lab, shares his thoughts.

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Articles (5)

Potential clean energy transition pathways in the US Virgin Islands using carbon sensitive policy options

Energy for Sustainable Development

2022 This study uses the LEAP–OSeMOSYS modeling tool to examine exploratory decarbonization scenarios in the U. S Virgin Islands (USVI). The method combines quantitative modeling of data gathered from utilities and power generators with qualitative information gathered through engagement with experts and diverse business and civil society stakeholder. The results show the effects of two utility scale energy systems - on the islands of St Thomas /St John and St Croix - and future optimized capacity addition with solar, liquefied petroleum gas and wind, whereby renewable energy targets can be achieved over time. Results are also modelled for electric vehicle deployment over time, on the islands. The models take into consideration the effects of extreme weather event impacts on electricity demand; and electric vehicles deployment on the grid, where grid destabilization is a potential risk. These findings can serve as inputs for updating comprehensive island energy strategies in the USVI to meet carbon emissions reduction goals.

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A global empirical analysis on the diffusion & innovation of carbon pricing policies

Journal of Cleaner Production

2022 There are 45 countries which have adopted a kind of carbon pricing policy – either a carbon tax or entered a cap–and–trade or both – while other countries do not have such policies implemented. As carbon pricing policies are considered as an effective lever to mitigate climate change, there is a need to understand what factors are motivating countries to adopt a carbon pricing policies and what factors might limit such endeavor. There is thus a need to examine how carbon pricing policies get adopted cross–nationally to examine pathways for climate change mitigation and incentivize other countries to follow. In this study, a model combining both internal and external diffusion factors is built (how one countries adoption of a carbon pricing policy affects another) to identify factors of adoption of carbon pricing policies. An Event History Analysis approach was used by compiling data for 127 countries running from 1990 to 2019. The findings show that the carbon pricing policies diffuse mainly through learning from neighboring countries and to a slight degree, by imitation. With a split sample analysis to account for policy heterogeneity, it was seen that both the carbon tax and the cap–and–trade system diffuse through the learning mechanism, however for the cap–and–trade, the policy can also diffuse through coercion and normative pressure if countries are part of EU. It was also found from the regressions that adoption of the carbon pricing policy by a country is motivated by a democratic political regime and from the level of coal production in the country. Among other groups, this finding is important for the international climate advocacy groups to decide which countries are more likely to adopt such policies where they can push forward this agenda.

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Small island developing states, tourism and climate change

Journal of Sustainable Tourism

2022 Tourism resembles an indispensable source for financing national development and securing local livelihoods in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) with their sun-sea-sand tourism. Related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions counteract sectoral development as climate impacts have begun to severely reduce the attractiveness of destinations. This is valid especially for disaster-prone SIDS where slow and rapid onsetting phenomena and severe, frequent weather events are already experienced, increasingly putting tourist assets, infrastructure, local livelihoods and unique biodiversity under pressure. Against this background, this review synthesizes the recent climate change and tourism literature relating to main SIDS regions, highlighting what is at risk. The authors provide latest evidence of the role tourism plays for these islands and elaborate the peculiar climate risks, impacts and consequences for tourism development. The current state of adaptation is explored and research priorities in SIDS regions are highlighted. Whereas SIDS show high mitigation ambition, the significance of CO2 emissions along the value chain and especially related to the transport to SIDS destinations remains a problem that developed nations must address in their national emission reduction plans. Further research at the interface of climate change and tourism is needed, contributing to the decarbonisation of tourism and successful adaptation in SIDS.

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Electric vehicle adoption in small island economies: Review from a technology transition perspective

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment

2022 Small Island States present features, such as compact road networks, low commuter distances, and often large tourism service sectors, that could make the adoption of electric vehicles for transportation which is an attractive way to reduce their costly dependence on imported fossil fuel and their greenhouse gas emissions. Through the transition theory lens, we review the national policy measures and broad clean transportation targets that small island countries are implementing to encourage electric mobility deployment. From information compiled for 18 small island countries, we find a growing trend in electric vehicle and infrastructure development incentives among broader clean transportation transformation policies and nationally determined contribution targets; and large country-to-country variations in enabling conditions to smoothen EV transition. Small island countries are not uniform but instead are very dispersed across the transition S-curve. The review, therefore, finds that the mobility transition requires island-specific approaches and solutions that will accentuate critical policy and management elements for fostering transitions.

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A Monte Carlo based approach to the resource assessment of Jamaica's geothermal energy potential

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A

2022 The Eastern Caribbean chain of islands is commonly known to exhibit high-enthalpy systems for geothermal energy exploitation. The northernmost Caribbean Community member state of Jamaica possesses physical manifestations of 12 hot springs across the island. Previous investigations indicate that of the potential 12 hot springs, Bath, Windsor and Milk River springs have cogent geothermometry of their thermal fluids with estimated temperature ranges of (80–102°C), (128–156°C), and (158–206°C), respectively. The paper provides numerical findings for each geothermal system of interest and performs Monte Carlo simulations to optimize calculated findings. The determined quantitative findings are considered under the context of environmental savings and policy regime conditions for driving geothermal energy development. The three areas of interest are situated within the Rio Minho Basin, the Dry Harbour Mountains and the Blue Mountain South Basin. Through the consideration of a 25-year lifetime for production, a collective total of 94.81 MWe of geothermal power reserves can be absorbed into the national energy mix, displacing an estimated 0.38 million barrels of oil imports, resulting in approximately 0.44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being avoided per year.

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Education (1)

George Mason University: PhD, Public Policy

Fulbright Scholar

Affiliations (1)

  • UD Island Policy Lab : Director

Languages (1)

  • English