Ruben Lubowski

Chief Natural Resource Economist


Areas of expertise:
climate economics, environmental markets, REDD+, land use, agriculture, forestry, climate change, bioenergy

Ruben Lubowski, Ph.D., specializes in natural resource economics and climate policy. He oversees internal analytical efforts and works with external researchers and policy practitioners to design and implement carbon markets and other strategies to address global climate change.

He is widely recognized for his expertise in analyzing and modeling land-use changes and policy approaches for reducing emissions through forestry, agriculture, and bioenergy activities.

Ruben has testified before the U.S. Senate and developed analyses for decision-makers around the world. He has presented in academic and policy settings and published in books, government reports, and professional journals.


Before joining EDF, Ruben spent five years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service as a natural resource and agricultural economist and the agency’s specialist on land use.

He also developed and managed environmental projects in Latin America at the United Nations Development Program and conducted research at the World Bank and the Harvard Institute for International Development. Ruben spent two years in rainforest communities in Sri Lanka designing and conducting surveys to quantify the value of forest products.

His dissertation was the first nationwide statistical analysis of land-use changes in the United States. He received his Ph.D. and master’s degree in Political Economy and Government and his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.


English, Spanish, French


“The Potential of REDD+: Key economic modeling insights and issues,” with Steven K. Rose. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy (forthcoming, 2013).  

“Structuring Economic Incentives for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation within Indonesia,” with Jonah Busch, Fabiano Godoy, Marc Steininger, Arief A. Yusuf, Kemen Austin, Jenny Hewson, Daniel Juhn, Muhammad Farid, and Frederick Boltz, Proccedings of the National Academy of Sciences 9(4): 1062-1067 (2012). 

“Linking Reduced Deforestation and a Global Carbon Market: Implications for Clean Energy Technology and Policy Flexibility,” with Valentina Bosetti, Alexander Golub, and Anil Markandya. Environment and Development Economics 16(4): 479-505 (2011). 

“On International Equity in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation,” with Andrea Cattaneo, Jonah Busch, Anna Creed, Bernardo Strassburg, Frederick Boltz, and Ralph Ashton.  Environmental Science and Policy 13(8): 742-753 (2010). 

“The End of Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon,” with Daniel Nepstad, Britaldo S. Soares-Filho, Frank Merry, André Lima, Paulo Moutinho, John Carter, Maria Bowman, Andrea Cattaneo, Hermann Rodrigues, Stephan Schwartzman, David G. McGrath, Claudia M. Stickler, Pedro Piris- Cabezas, Sergio Rivero, Ane Alencar, Oriana Almeida, and Osvaldo Stella. Science 326: 1350-351 (2009). 

“Fixing a Critical Climate Accounting Error,” with Timothy D. Searchinger, Steven P. Hamburg,  Jerry Melillo, William Chameides, Petr Havlik, Daniel M. Kammen, Gene E. Likens, Michael Obersteiner, Michael Oppenheimer, and G. Philip Robertson,  William H. Schlesinger, G. David Tilman. Science 326: 527-528 (2009).  

“Comparing Climate and Cost Impacts of Reference Levels for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation,” with Jonah Busch, Bernardo Strassburg, Andrea Cattaneo, Aaron Bruner, Richard Rice, Anna Creed, Ralph Ashton and Frederick Boltz. Environmental Research Letters 4 (2009). 

“What Drives Land-Use Changes in the United States? A National Analysis of Landowner Decisions,” with Andrew Plantinga and Robert Stavins. Land Economics 84(4): 529-550, lead article (2008). 

“Economic Impacts of the U.S. Soybean Aphid Infestation: A Multi-Regional Competitive Dynamic Analysis,” with C.S. Kim, Glenn Schaible, Lynn Garrett, and Donna Lee. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 37(2): 227-242 (2008). 

“Enduring Impacts of Land Retirement Policies: Evidence from the Conservation Reserve Program,” with Michael Roberts. Land Economics 83 (4): 516-538 (2007). 

“Econometric Estimation of the Carbon Sequestration Supply Function,” with Andrew Plantinga and Robert Stavins. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 51(2): 135-152, lead article (2006). 

“Prevention or Control: Optimal Government Policies for Invasive Species Management,” with C.S. Kim, Jan Lewandrowski, and Michael Eiswerth. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review 35(1), 29-49 (2006).    

“A Model of Producer Incentives for Livestock Disease Management,” with Ram Ranjan. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 19(5): 315-325 (2005). 

“Farm-Level Production Effects from Participation in Government Commodity Programs: Did the 1996 Federal Agricultural Improvement and Reform Act Make a Difference?” with Nigel Key and Michael Roberts. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 87(5): 1211-1219 (2005). 

“How Cost-Effective are Land Retirement Auctions: Estimating the Difference between Payments and Willingness to Accept in the Conservation Reserve Program,” with Barrett Kirwan and Michael Roberts. American Journal of Agricultural Economics 87(5): 1239-1247 (2005).  

“The Effects of Potential Land Development on Agricultural Land Prices,” with Andrew Plantinga and Robert Stavins.  Journal of Urban Economics 52(3): 561-581 (2002). 

“A Method for the Economic Valuation of Non-Timber Tropical Forest Products,” with Ricardo Godoy and Anil Markandya. Economic Botany 47(3): 220-233 (1993). 

“Guidelines for the Economic Valuation of Non-Timber Tropical Forest Products,” with Ricardo Godoy.  Current Anthropology 33(4): 423-433 (1992).  

Deforestation and Climate Change. Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, edited with Valentina Bosetti. Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei series on Economics, the Environment, and Sustainable Development. Edward Elgar, Northampton, MA (2010).