Tag Archives: cost-effectiveness

Will Europe Scrap its Renewables Target? That Would Be Good News for the Economy and for the Environment

The European Union is considering scrapping the use of binding renewable energy targets as part of its global climate change policy mix that will extend action from 2020 to 2030.  The Financial Times reported that this move – presumably due … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

The Warsaw Climate Negotiations, and Reason for Cautious Optimism

The Nineteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came to a close in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, November 23rd, after what has become the norm – several all-night sessions culminating in … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Climate Change, Public Policy, and the University

Over the past year or more, across the United States, there has been a groundswell of student activism pressing colleges and universities to divest their holdings in fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios.  On October 3, 2013, after many … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Remembering Ronald Coase’s Contributions

On September 2nd, Ronald Coase, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Chicago Law School, Nobel laureate, and principal creator of the academic field of law and economics, passed away at the age of 102.  Numerous, lengthy obituaries have … Continue reading >

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Economics and Politics in California: Cap-and-Trade Allowance Allocation and Trade Exposure

In my previous essay at this blog – The Importance of Getting it Right in California – I wrote about the precedents and lessons that  California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) and its greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade system will … Continue reading >

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The Importance of Getting it Right in California

Why should sub-national climate policies exist?  In the case  of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), the answer flows directly from the very nature of the problem — global climate change, the ultimate global commons problem. The Standard Theory … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

On the Origins of Research

In response to my last essay at this web site, “On Becoming an Environmental Economist,” several readers suggested that someday I should write about the origins of my various research initiatives over the past 25 years.  Today, I’m doing that … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Fisheries Policy, Forest Policy, Health Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy, Water Policy, Wine Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Becoming an Environmental Economist

My essay this month represents a departure from my standard blog posts about a contemporary environmental policy issue.  Rather, it is of a more personal nature, and stems from the fact that the second volume of my collected papers has … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Fisheries Policy, Forest Policy, Health Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy, Water Policy, Wine Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Second Term of the Obama Administration

In his inaugural address on January 21st, President Obama surprised many people – including me – by the intensity and the length of his comments on global climate change.  Since then, there has been a great deal of discussion in … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Reflections from Cambridge on the Climate Talks in Doha

Ever since I returned – some two weeks ago – from Doha, Qatar, the site of the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), I have planned to offer some commentary … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

While International Climate Negotiations Continue, the World’s Ninth Largest Economy Takes an Important Step Forward

A little more than two weeks ago, while some 195 nations prepared to meet in Doha, Qatar, for the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in an ongoing effort to … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Cap-and-Trade, Carbon Taxes, and My Neighbor’s Lovely Lawn

The recent demise of serious political consideration of an economy-wide U.S. CO2 cap-and-trade system and the even more recent resurgence in interest among policy wonks in a U.S. carbon tax should prompt reflection on where we’ve been, where we are, … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Forest Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Two Notable Events Prompt Examination of an Important Property of Cap-and-Trade

In December of 2010, a group of economists and legal scholars gathered at the University of Chicago to celebrate two notable events. One was the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ronald Coase’s “The Problem of Social Cost” (Coase 1960). … Continue reading >

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Can Market Forces Really be Employed to Address Climate Change?

Debate continues in the United States, Europe, and throughout the world about whether the forces of the marketplace can be harnessed in the interest of environmental protection, in particular, to address the threat of global climate change.  In an essay … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Low Prices a Problem? Making Sense of Misleading Talk about Cap-and-Trade in Europe and the USA

Some press accounts and various advocates have labeled the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as near “the brink of failure” because of the recent trend of very low auction prices.  Likewise, commentators have recently characterized the European Union Emission Trading … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

If the Durban Platform Opened a Window, Will India and China Close It?

In my December 12th essay – following the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which adjourned on December 11, 2011 – I offered my assessment of the Durban climate negotiations … Continue reading >

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Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation

In 2009, the U.S. Congress considered but ultimately failed to enact legislation aimed at limiting U.S. greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.  The bill under consideration at that time, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, was the last in a … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Economics of the Environment

The Sixth Edition of Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings has just been published by W. W. Norton & Company of New York and London.  Through five previous editions, Economics of the Environment has served as a valuable supplement to … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Fisheries Policy, Forest Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy, Water Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Platform Opens a Window: An Unambiguous Consequence of the Durban Climate Talks

In my previous essay – following the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which adjourned on December 11, 2011 – I offered my assessment of the Durban climate negotiations, addressing … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Assessing the Climate Talks — Did Durban Succeed?

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adjourned on Sunday, a day and a half after its scheduled close, and in the process once again pulled a rabbit out of … Continue reading >

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Can the Durban Climate Negotiations Succeed?

Two weeks of international climate negotiations begin today in Durban, South Africa.  These are the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The key challenge at this point is to maintain … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon

Friday, October 21st was a significant day for climate change policy worldwide and for the use of market-based approaches to environmental protection, but it went largely unnoticed across the country and around the world, outside, that is, of the State … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander: Rahm’s Doctrine and Mercutio’s Complaint

In a January 2009 article – “The Big Fix” – in the New York Times Magazine, David Leonhardt introduced a frequently-employed political strategy into popular political culture by identifying it with the new President’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel: Two … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Misguided Objection to Progressive Policy: The EJ Lawsuit Against Implementation of California’s AB 32 Climate Policy

On May 20th, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith ruled that the California Air Resources Board had not adequately explained its choice of a market-based mechanism –  a cap-and-trade system  — to achieve approximately 20 percent of targeted emissions … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Good News from the Regulatory Front

As each day passes, the upcoming November 2012 general elections produce new stories about potential Republican candidates for President, as well as stories about President Obama’s anticipated re-election campaign.  At the same time, the 2012 elections are already affecting Congressional … Continue reading >

Posted in Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Wave of the Future: International Linkage of National Climate Change Policies

The latest rage in Washington policy discussions these days (that’s relevant to climate change) is renewed interest in renewable electricity standards, this time in the form of so-called “clean energy standards.”  I’ve written about this policy approach recently at this … Continue reading >

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Reflecting on a Century of Progress and Problems

As the first decade of the twenty-first century comes to a close, the problem of the commons is more important to our lives – and more central to economics – than a century ago when the first issue of the … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Fisheries Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Pursuing Real Environmental Justice in California

California Governor Jerry Brown plans to move forward with the implementation of Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, under which California seeks to take dramatic steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.  Questions have been raised about the … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Renewable Energy Standards: Less Effective, More Costly, but Politically Preferred to Cap-and-Trade?

The new Congress is beginning to consider various alternative energy and climate policies in the wake of last year’s collapse in the U.S. Senate of consideration of a meaningful, economy-wide CO2 cap-and-trade scheme.  Among the options receiving attention are various … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

What Happened (and Why): An Assessment of the Cancun Agreements

The international climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico, have concluded, and despite the gloom-and-doom predictions that dominated the weeks and months leading up to Cancun, the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Forest Policy, Natural Resource Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Defining Success for Climate Negotiations in Cancun

International climate negotiations will continue in Cancun, Mexico, during the first two weeks of December, 2010.  These will be the Sixteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-16) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The key challenge is … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Both Are Necessary, But Neither is Sufficient: Carbon-Pricing and Technology R&D Initiatives in a Meaningful National Climate Policy

For many years, there has been a great deal of discussion about carbon-pricing – whether carbon taxes or cap-and-trade – as an essential part of a meaningful national climate policy.  It has long been recognized that although carbon-pricing will be … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

AB 32, RGGI, and Climate Change: The National Context of State Policies for a Global Commons Problem

Why should anyone be interested in the national context of a state policy?  In the case of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), the answer flows directly from the very nature of the problem — global climate change, the … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

In Defense of Markets

Cap-and-trade has been demonized by conservatives as part of an effective strategy to stop climate legislation from moving forward in the U.S. Congress.  As I wrote in my previous blog post (“Beware of Scorched-Earth Strategies in Climate Debates,” July 27, … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Beware of Scorched-Earth Strategies in Climate Debates

With the apparent collapse last week of U.S. Senate consideration of a meaningful climate policy, it is important to reflect on what could be a very serious long-term casualty of these acrimonious climate policy debates, namely the demonizing of cap-and-trade … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

The Real Options for U.S. Climate Policy

The time has not yet come to throw in the towel regarding the possible enactment in 2010 of meaningful economy-wide climate change policy (such as that found in the Waxman-Markey legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June, … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Economic Stimulus Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Here We Go Again: A Closer Look at the Kerry-Lieberman Cap-and-Trade Proposal

As with the Waxman-Markey bill (H.R. 2454), passed by the House of Representatives last June, there is now some confusing commentary in the press and blogosphere about the allocation of allowances in the new Senate proposal — the American Power … Continue reading >

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Eyes on the Prize: Federal Climate Policy Should Preempt State and Regional Initiatives

In just a few days, Senators John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman will release their much-anticipated proposal for comprehensive climate and energy legislation – the best remaining shot at forging a bipartisan consensus on this issue in 2010.  Their … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Who Killed Cap-and-Trade?

In a recent article in the New York Times, John Broder asks “Why did cap-and-trade die?” and responds that “it was done in by the weak economy, the Wall Street meltdown, determined industry opposition and its own complexity.”  Mr. Broder’s … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy, Water Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Opportunities and Ironies: Climate Policy in Tokyo, Seoul, Brussels, and Washington

As I write this, I’m on board a flight from Seoul, South Korea, to San Francisco, California, on my way home to Boston, having spent the week of Harvard spring break meeting with senior government officials, academics, and leaders of … Continue reading >

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Any Hope for Meaningful U.S. Climate Policy? You be the Judge.

The current conventional wisdom ­– broadly echoed by the news media and the blogosphere – is that comprehensive, economy-wide CO2 cap-and-trade legislation is dead in the current U.S. Congress, and perhaps for the next several years. Watch out for conventional … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

What Hath Copenhagen Wrought? A Preliminary Assessment of the Copenhagen Accord

After years of preparation, the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-15) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commenced on December 7th, 2009, and adjourned some two weeks later on December 19th after a raucous all-night session.  … Continue reading >

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Chaos and Uncertainty in Copenhagen?

Earlier today, I was asked by the Financial Times, “who is responsible for the chaos and uncertainty” at COP-15 in Copenhagen?  I’m not sure those are the words I would have chosen to characterize the situation at the climate negotiations … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Only Private Sector Can Meet Finance Demands of Developing Countries

Things are getting hot here in Copenhagen.  It’s not the weather outside, but the debate taking place inside the Bella Center, home of the 15th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.  This afternoon, the … Continue reading >

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Defining Success for Climate Negotiations in Copenhagen

The fact that President Obama has decided to attend the United Nations climate change negotiations in Copenhagen at the end of the two-week meetings on December 18th, rather than during the previous week on his way to Oslo to receive … Continue reading >

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Approaching Copenhagen with a Portfolio of Domestic Commitments

As we approach the beginning of the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Copenhagen in December, international negotiations are focused on developing a climate policy framework for the post-2012 period, … Continue reading >

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Confusion in the Senate Regarding Allowance Allocation?

According to an October 22nd  story in Environment & Energy Daily (“Climate:  GOP Fence Sitters Voice Concerns Over Allocations” by Darren Samuelson), several key swing-vote Senate Republicans — including Senator Lisa Murkowski, ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources … Continue reading >

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Cap-and-Trade versus the Alternatives for U.S. Climate Policy

Let’s credit Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for raising questions in the National Journal about the viability of cap-and-trade versus other approaches for the United States to employ in addressing CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions linked with global climate change. Senator … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Can Countries Cut Carbon Emissions Without Hurting Economic Growth?

In the September 21st issue of the Wall Street Journal, the editors pose the following question: can countries cut carbon emissions without hurting economic growth? In his introductory essay, Michael Totty frames the issues as follows: “There’s little doubt: Cutting … Continue reading >

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Three Pillars of a New Climate Pact

THE climate change summit at the United Nations on Tuesday, September 22nd,  is aimed to build momentum for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen in December, where nations will continue … Continue reading >

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