Tag Archives: regulation

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

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

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

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

A Golden Opportunity to Please Conservatives and Liberals Alike

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a golden opportunity to opt for a smart, low-cost approach to fulfilling its mandate under a Supreme Court decision to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked with global … Continue reading >

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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 >

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

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

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

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

What’s the Proper Role of Individuals and Institutions in Addressing Climate Change?

This may seem like a trivial question with an obvious answer.  But what really is the proper role for individuals and institutions in addressing climate change?  An immediate and natural response may be that everyone should do their part.  Let’s … Continue reading >

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

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

Unintended Consequences of Government Policies: The Depletion of America’s Wetlands

Private land-use decisions can be affected dramatically by public investments in highways, waterways, flood control, or other infrastructure.  The large movement of jobs from central cities to suburbs in the postwar United States and the ongoing destruction of Amazon rain … Continue reading >

Posted in Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Forest Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Natural Resource Policy, Water Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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 >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Too Good to be True?

Global climate change is a serious environmental threat, and sound public policies are needed to address it effectively and sensibly. There is now significant interest and activity within both the U.S. Administration and the U.S. Congress to develop a meaningful … Continue reading >

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

What is the Future of U.S. Coal?

Climate concerns have gone mainstream, even in the United States.  This has been reflected in the passage by the U.S. House of Representatives of HR 2454, the so-called Waxman-Markey bill, and will soon be reflected in the debates in the … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Economics, Energy Policy, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Policies Can Work in Strange Ways

Whether the policy domain is global climate change or local hazardous waste, it’s exceptionally important to understand the interaction between public policies and technological change in order to assess the effects of laws and regulations on environmental performance.  Several years … Continue reading >

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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

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

The New Auto Fuel-Efficiency Standards — Going Beyond the Headlines

On My 19th, 2009, President Obama announced new Federal fuel-efficiency standards for motor-vehicles that would make the current standards — known as Corporate Average Fuel Economy — or CAFE — standards significantly more stringent. These CAFE standards measure compliance as … Continue reading >

Posted in Climate Change Policy, Energy Policy, Environmental Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Straight Talk about Corporate Social Responsibility

Critical thinking about “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) is needed, because there are few topics where discussions feature greater ratios of heat to light.  With this in mind, two of my Harvard colleagues – law professor Bruce Hay and business school … Continue reading >

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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 >

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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 >

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The Making of a Conventional Wisdom

Despite the potential cost-effectiveness of market-based policy instruments, such as pollution taxes and tradable permits, conventional approaches -  including design and uniform performance standards – have been the mainstay of U.S. environmental policy since before the first Earth Day in … Continue reading >

Posted in Environmental Policy, Positive Political Economy | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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 >

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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