Our beloved colleague, Peter Berck lost his brave fight against cancer and passed away on August 10, 2018. Peter’s death is a severe loss to EfD. Peter has been one of the pillars of EfD’s research.
But he was so much more than a fantastic colleague – he was also an exceptional person who cared deeply for his friends, students and colleagues around the world. He was extremely generous with his time and in extending a helping hand. All in all, Peter represented everything that is important to EfD with his commitment and devotion to the environment and development and, most of all, in fostering a new generation of skilled researchers to keep up the struggle for a better world.
Most of us have benefited from his constructive comments as editor for EfD’s Discussion Paper series. It was of course a fantastic opportunity for EfD to have a previous editor of the prestigious journal, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics (AJAE), managing our DP series. In his role as editor for EfD, Peter has mentored many young environmental economists in the Global South and helped them improve the impact of their research. Another way to do this was to serve on the EfD Research Committee, which Peter did from 2013 to 2016. It was actually Peter who insisted that EfD should develop a formal research committee with international experts in order to increase the credibility of the research process.
Peter Berck was the S.J. Hall Professor of Forest Economics and Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at University of California at Berkeley. He graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in mathematics in 1971 and took his Ph. D. in economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1976. He held honorary doctorates from Umeå University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden for his important contributions to resource economics. He had over 100 research publications on the economics of the environment, agriculture, forestry and economy-wide impact of regulation. He directed an economy-wide analysis California’s comprehensive greenhouse gas regulations, showing that California’s huge economy would actually increase in value under the regulatory scheme. His last book, completed during a window of good health between round of cancer treatment, addressed “Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change in Africa.”
Peter was a wonderful host and mentor to several members of the EfD network who visited the University of California, Berkeley over the years. During the academic year 2013-14, he was on sabbatical at the Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg, which further deepened his involvement in EfD. Peter´s year in Gothenburg also gave us an opportunity to really get to know him and take our friendship to new heights. We will always remember Peter as a kind, intelligent, humorous and curious man. We are grateful for the precious time we got with him. Peter will be greatly missed by our global family.
Our thoughts go to his family. May Peter rest in peace.