Tag Archives: efficiency

What are the Benefits and Costs of EPA’s Proposed CO2 Regulation?

­On June 2nd, the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited proposed regulation to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing sources in the electricity-generating sector.  The regulatory (rule) proposal calls for cutting CO2 emissions from the power … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Politics, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 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 , , , , , , , , , | 15 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 >

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

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 >

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

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

Thinking About the Energy-Efficiency Gap

Adoption of energy-efficient technologies could reap both private and social rewards, in the form of economic, environmental, and other social benefits from reduced energy consumption. Social benefits include improvements in air quality, reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, and increased energy security. In … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Corporate Social Responsibility, Economic Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 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

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 >

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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 >

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

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 >

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

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 >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Cap-and-Trade: A Fly in the Ointment? Not Really

For more than two decades, environmental law and regulation was dominated by command-and-control approaches — typically either mandated pollution control technologies or inflexible discharge standards on a smokestack-by-smokestack basis.  But in the 1980s, policy makers increasingly explored market-based environmental policy … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

What Role for U.S. Carbon Sequestration?

With the development of climate legislation proceeding in the U.S. Senate, a key question is whether the United States can cost-effectively reduce a significant share of its contributions to increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations through forest-based carbon sequestration.  Should biological carbon … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Forest Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Is Benefit-Cost Analysis Helpful for Environmental Regulation?

With the locus of action on Federal climate policy moving this week from the House of Representatives to the Senate, this is a convenient moment to step back from the political fray and reflect on some fundamental questions about U.S. … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Worried About International Competitiveness? Another Look at the Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade Proposal

The potential impacts of proposed U.S. climate policies on the competitiveness of U.S. industries is a major political issue, and it was one of the key issues in the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House of Representatives in the … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

The Wonderful Politics of Cap-and-Trade: A Closer Look at Waxman-Markey

The headline of this post is not meant to be ironic.   Despite all the hand-wringing in the press and the blogosphere about a political “give-away” of allowances for the cap-and-trade system in the Waxman-Markey bill voted out of committee … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

Does economic analysis shortchange the future?

Decisions made today usually have impacts both now and in the future. In the environmental realm, many of the future impacts are benefits, and such future benefits — as well as costs — are typically discounted by economists in their … Continue reading >

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

What Baseball Can Teach Policymakers

With the Major League Baseball season having just begun, I’m reminded of the truism that the best teams win their divisions in the regular season, but the hot teams win in the post-season playoffs.  Why the difference?  The regular season … Continue reading >

Posted in Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Beyond Vintage-Differentiated Regulation

A common feature of many environmental policies in the United States is vintage-differentiated regulation (VDR), under which standards for regulated units are fixed in terms of the units’ respective dates of entry, with later vintages facing more stringent regulation.  In … Continue reading >

Posted in Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Markets to Make Fisheries Sustainable

Around the world, over-fishing is leading to severe depletion of valuable fisheries.  This is as true in U.S. coastal waters as it is in many other parts of the world.  In New England waters, for example, after two decades of … Continue reading >

Posted in Fisheries Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A Tale of Two Taxes

Whether they are called “revenue enhancements” or “user charges,” fear of the political consequences of taxes restricts debate on energy and environmental policy options in Washington. In a March 7th post on “Green Jobs,” in which I argued that it … Continue reading >

Posted in Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Misconceptions About Water Pricing

Throughout the United States, water management has been approached primarily as an engineering problem, rather than an economic one. Water supply managers are reluctant to use price increases as water conservation tools, instead relying on non-price demand management techniques, such … Continue reading >

Posted in Water Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

As Reservoirs Fall, Prices Should Rise

Last week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency and warned of possible mandatory water rationing as the state struggled through its third consecutive year of drought. This well-intentioned response to the latest water crisis should not come … Continue reading >

Posted in Water Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

The Myth of the Universal Market

Communication among economists, other social scientists, natural scientists, and lawyers is far from perfect. When the topic is the environment, discourse across disciplines is both important and difficult. Economists themselves have likely contributed to some misunderstandings about how they think … Continue reading >

Posted in Environmental Economics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments