Abt Associates Grows its Environment Expertise

July 1, 2015 Abt JTA
Mamuju, Indonesia
Joshua Lipton, Abt Associates Environmental and Natural Resources Division Vice President
Abt Associates is greatly expanding its leadership role in the environmental field.

In February, Stratus Consulting – a leader in innovative environmental research and consulting – merged with Abt Associates. Abt's new, combined environmental division has been renamed the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENR). Our new division – which has more than 150 experienced professionals with expertise in environmental sciences, engineering, and economic and policy analytics, is being led by new Division Vice President Dr. Joshua Lipton – former President and CEO of Stratus Consulting. Lipton, who is an internationally known expert in environmental toxicology, is excited about his new role.

”I'm thrilled to be able to bring together the deep and broad multi-disciplinary technical expertise and experience of our two firms into a single company,” Lipton said “We will have a much more expanded reach and impact on the environment.”

Lipton also sees environmental connections across the range of Abt's capabilities. ”Working together with other Abt experts in as human health, agriculture and nutrition, and international economic growth will enable us to further address many of the world's most pressing issues related to human health, welfare, and sustainable resource management, and stewardship.”

The Sonoma Coast of California
The Sonoma Coast of California. Abt is estimating the benefits provided by parks and protected open spaces on the Sonoma Coast for the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. These benefits include water quality improvements, biodiversity support, protection of threatened and endangered species, recreational uses, and mitigation of sea level rise.
The addition of new expertise and capabilities won't result in any shifts away from Abt’s historic core competencies. We have been and will continue to be a leader in estimating the environmental and economic impact of climate change, risks to human health and ecological risks on a number of fronts, among other work. Abt serves as an important regulatory advisor to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Army Corps of Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other agencies.

Lipton sees the combination of Abt's regulatory support expertise with Stratus' emphasis on cutting edge research as a great strength. “We really can go from beginning to end in terms of basic and primary research all the way to application, regulation, and policy formation.”

From Environmental Research to Action

Stratus established a track record during the last 25 years of outstanding published environmental research. “The level and depth of expertise Abt now has in the natural sciences is unusually good,” Lipton said.

Abt’s new environmental staff will continue work that is fundamentally changing our understanding of how oil and petroleum hydrocarbons affect many organisms, from plankton to dolphins. This research – part of the Deepwater Horizon natural resource damage assessment – and other work is expected to inform policies and procedures to aid disaster recovery and to prevent environmental harm.

Stratus staff have also performed years of primary research on the effects of metals and metalloids on fish, wildlife, vegetation, and other natural resources. These findings support our current understanding of how heavy metals affect organisms.

Dozens of miles of rivers in Montana that were once dead now support trout populations thanks in part to natural resource damage assessments conducted by Stratus Consulting, now part of Abt.
Dozens of miles of rivers in Montana that were once dead now support trout populations thanks in part to natural resource damage assessments conducted by Stratus Consulting, now part of Abt.
“That research has led to cleanup and ecological restoration in places where no one thought this was possible,” Lipton said. For example, Stratus worked at sites in Montana and Idaho that had dozens of miles of rivers that did not support aquatic life. Many of these rivers now support trout and salmon, in large part because of Stratus’ natural resource damage assessment work and subsequent habitat restoration.

Addressing Climate Change Globally…

“Abt’s experts in environmental and energy policy, public health, ecosystem protection, economic growth, finance, agriculture, and other disciplines are helping countries prepare for climate change and identify cost effective ways to avoid greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” said Jette Findsen, senior associate and Climate Change Coordinator at Abt.

Abt in May 2013 began a two-year regional program to estimate the cost and benefits of reducing GHG emissions in the energy and transportation sectors of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan and identify climate change mitigation investment opportunities. The program – the Economics of Climate Change Mitigation in Central and West Asia – is for the Asian Development Bank.

In other multinational work, USAID’s Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment, and Resilience (CEADIR) project works with governments, the private sector, and civil society to make the business and economic case for investing in climate change mitigation and adaptation. CEADIR, a nearly $20 million program, is led by Crown Agents, with support from Abt Associates, and will run through September 2018. CEADIR aims to work in more than two dozen countries and regions around the world.

...And in the U.S.

In 2014 the EPA released its third edition of Climate Change Indicators in the United States, which was supported in part with data from Abt. More than 30 indicators of climate change demonstrate that global warming is already affecting the environment and society worldwide.

Almaty, the largest town in Kazakhstan.
Almaty, the largest town in Kazakhstan. Abt in May 2013 began a two-year regional program to estimate the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the energy and transportation sectors of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan and identify climate change mitigation investment opportunities.
Abt developed the CarbonCounts TM tool to monitor and track progress in managing climate change and other environmental initiatives. CarbonCounts TMpowered the compilation of data for the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions dashboard, which shows the Commonwealth’s progress in fulfilling its Global Warming Solutions Act—a 10 percent decline in GHG emissions compared to 1990 levels.

Abt nearly is finished with an assessment of the impact of climate change on workforce productivity in San Diego County for the San Diego Foundation. Abt examined how climate change-induced temperature increases and heat waves affect public health, worker productivity, and the county’s economy.

Studying Local Environmental Impact and Preservation

Abt carries out a range of other environmental research, including informing drinking water regulations and estimating the economic value of conservation investments.

Abt is estimating the benefits provided by parks and protected open spaces on the Sonoma Coast of California for the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. These benefits include water quality improvements, biodiversity support, protection of threatened and endangered species, recreational uses, and mitigation of sea level rise.

Also is supporting the EPA’s efforts to regulate contaminants in drinking water by providing water treatment cost models and regulatory analysis tools.

“We at Abt have a deep interest in how chemicals, climate change, regulations, and other issues affect people and the natural world,” Lipton said. “We are eager to continue applying our analytical skills to understand how our world is changing and how we best can preserve it.”

Originally published as Earth Day 2015: Abt Associates grows its Environmental Expertise, Research