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20092022

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University profile

Pankaj Lal, PhD, is founding director of Clean Energy and Sustainability Analytics Center and professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies, Montclair State University. He utilizes a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods to develop place-based solutions in the diverse landscapes, including South and Southeast Asia, Africa, Caribbean and North America. He has conducted original and applied research in the areas of energy and environmental policies and economics, sustainable development, global climate change, valuing environmental services, economic and energy modeling, industrial ecology, participatory natural resource conservation and management, human dimensions and resource governance. He undertakes integrative, interdisciplinary research that explores interconnections among society and the environment. His ongoing research projects involve aspects of clean energy, water, natural resources, and economies that collectively impact communities around the world.

Dr. Lal has longstanding research support and engagement in practice with multilateral institutions such as Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank, and international NGOs like World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife Conservation Society, and received more than $20 million in grants and contracts for his research, including funding from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Conservation Society, NJ Board of Public Utilities, NJ Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Rockefeller Foundation, PSEG Foundation, Orsted, German Development Agency GIZ, amongst many others.

Dr. Lal was awarded Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) by President Obama. The PECASE Award is the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on outstanding scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers. This Presidential Award embodies the high priority placed by the government on maintaining the leadership position of the United States in science by producing outstanding scientists and engineers and nurturing their continued development. The Awards identify a cadre of outstanding scientists and engineers who will broadly advance science and the missions important to the participating federal agencies. He is the first Montclair State University faculty recipient of the PECASE award. His PECASE award nomination stressed his contributions, saying that, “Besides fostering innovative developments in science and technology, Dr. Lal’s efforts and commitment enhance connections between fundamental research and the grand challenges facing the nation, and highlight the importance of interdisciplinary and systems-approached science, engineering, and technology for America’s future.”

Dr. Lal has been awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER Award to explored place-based opportunities for bioenergy sustainability. He was Advisory Board member for Rockefeller Foundation’s initiative on “Valuing the Resilience Dividend”, that was undertaken by RAND Corporation and the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation. He was economic analysis lead in NJ Governor’s Office of Recovery and Rebuilding grant whereby ecosystem inventory for natural resources was developed and ecosystem tradeoffs due to potential engineering design solutions for flood mitigation across the state was evaluated. Dr. Lal conducted rapid economic impact analysis of regional summer flounder restrictions, which was successfully used by NJ DEP in their request to reconsider Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Summer Flounder Management Board's harvest restrictions. He is also primary author of a research report titled "Economic Values of Nyungwe National Park & Rugezi Wetlands and their contributions towards national policy goals in Rwanda", that was supported by MacArthur Foundation and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Dr. Lal earned his Master’s degree in geography from the University of Delhi, MBA from Indian Institute of Forest Management, and PhD in resource conservation and economics from the University of Florida. 

Research interests

Areas of research include energy and environmental policies and economics, sustainable development, global climate change, valuing environmental services, economic and energy modeling, industrial ecology, participatory natural resource conservation and management, human dimensions and resource governance. Dr. Lal undertakes integrative, interdisciplinary research that explores interconnections among society and the environment. His ongoing research projects involve aspects of clean energy, water, natural resources, and economies that collectively impact communities around the world

Scholarly Interests

Environmental Policy and Economics
Energy Geography
Climate Change
Resource Management and Conservation

Teaching

Dr. Pankaj Lal is environmental management doctoral faculty and undergraduate geography program advisor at the University and teaches courses in environmental policy, environmental law and policy, environmental economics, human environment, life cycle analysis, water resource management, world geography, and introduction to global studies. 

Faculty/Media Expert

Expert on climate change, environmental politics and policy, resource management and conservation, and economic modeling.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 15 - Life on Land

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