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Valerie Karplus - Carnegie Mellon University. Pittsburgh, PA, US

Valerie Karplus

Associate Professor | Carnegie Mellon University


Valerie Karplus studies resource and environmental management in organizations operating in diverse national and industry contexts.


Karplus studies resource and environmental management in organizations operating in diverse national and industry contexts, with a focus on the role of institutions and management practices in explaining performance. Areas of expertise include regional approaches to low carbon transition, decarbonization of global corporate supply chains, and the integrated design and evaluation of energy, air quality, and climate policies. Karplus has taught courses on public policy analysis, global business strategy and organization, entrepreneurship, and the political economy of energy transitions. At CMU, she runs the Laboratory for Energy and Organizations at the CMU Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.

Areas of Expertise (16)


Political Economy



Economic Development

Climate Change




Economic Modeling

Emerging Markets

Environmental Economics

International Management

Resource Management



Media Appearances (5)

CMU Researchers and Collaborators Kick Off INDABA Partnership on Decarbonizing Industry

Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation  online


“Prior to the start of the partnership, the academic collaborators and industry partners had been working in parallel towards the shared goal of finding viable decarbonization pathways,” said Karplus. “The meeting was filled with ‘aha!’ moments as we explored common interests and new research opportunities.”

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'Retirement present': Outgoing Congressman Mike Doyle celebrates

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette  online


“Each secondary industry has an opportunity to figure out where the carbon is in their processes and kind of think through what changes are needed to reduce that carbon,” said Valerie Karplus, professor of engineering and public policy at CMU. “These types of investments can pay off as the world moves toward a low carbon system.”

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Decoupling Won’t Kill a Green Future | Opinion

Foreign Affairs  online


The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the debate over U.S. economic “decoupling” from China into stark relief. Former President Donald Trump made the curtailment of economic ties with China a cornerstone of his trade policy, citing concerns about China’s handling of intellectual property rights, currency manipulation, and other unfair trade practices. Then came the pandemic, which found U.S. manufacturers at the mercy of distant and overstretched supply chains.

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The Paths to Net Zero | Opinion

Foreign Affairs  online


For 30 years, diplomats and policymakers have called for decisive action on climate change—and for 30 years, the climate crisis has grown worse. There are a multitude of reasons for this failure. The benefits of climate action lie mostly in the future, they are diffuse and hard to pin down, and they will accrue above all to poor populations that do not have much of a voice in politics, whether in those countries that emit most of the world’s warming pollution or at the global level.

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Reducing China’s CO2 Emissions Would Curb Deadly Air Pollution in the U.S.

Scientific American  online


"It reminds us that air pollution doesn't stop at national boundaries," said Valerie Karplus, a co-leader of the study and an assistant professor of global economics and management at MIT.

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Valerie Karplus Publication



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Faculty Insights with Valerie Karplus and Daniel Tkacik Valerie Karplus (COPPE/UFR): Regional Innovation Strategies: Opportunities and Barriers - ETC 3-3 Technology Day 2019: MIT on Climate Change - Valerie Karplus SM '08, PhD '11



Industry Expertise (3)

Government Relations

Public Policy


Education (2)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Engineering Systems

Yale University: B.S., Biochemistry and Political Science

Event Appearances (1)


(2023) Focus Forward with Big Energy  Morgantown, West Virginia

Articles (5)

Risks of decoupling from China on low-carbon technologies


2022 China plays, and will likely continue to play, an indispensable role in research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) and manufacturing of low-carbon technologies that are necessary to address climate change. For example, China’s scale-up capabilities that are underpinned by manufacturing process improvements, supply chain optimization, and deep government support have contributed to substantial reductions in costs for mature technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) .

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State ownership and technology adoption: The case of electric utilities and renewable energy

Research Policy

2022 Technology adoption is crucial to address pressing public policy issues such as climate change, but the role of ownership structure in adoption decisions is not well understood. The low-carbon energy transition in the electricity industry is a case in point. Following market liberalization, the electricity industry in many countries is now characterized by a co-existence of state-owned and private utilities.

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Tensions between local interests and broader gains

Nature Energy

2023 China’s electricity market reforms aim to improve the operational efficiency of the power sector, while simultaneously supporting reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. New research shows that the influence of local interests may limit gains to half of their estimated potential.

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Political strategies for climate and environmental solutions

Nature Sustainability

2023 Many of the barriers to progress in addressing environmental problems, such as climate change, are political. This Review illustrates how insight into politics can help policymakers craft strategies to address the ambition gap, the implementation gap and the international action gap.

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Anticipating the impacts of light-duty vehicle electrification on the US automotive service workforce

Environmental Research Letters

2023 Addressing climate change will require decarbonization of the United States (US) economy, which will lead to the decline of certain industries and the creation of new ones. With such shifts may come changes in the location, demographics, and skills of workers, and detrimental impacts may disproportionately fall on disadvantaged communities.

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