Mixing and Matching Electricity Sector Policies

A number of concerns have emerged over the last decade about climate change, energy security, and energy efficiency, inspiring an equally long list of proposed policy fixes. The majority of these options, including renewables subsidies, performance standards, and emissions pricing schemes, apply directly to the power sector. Lawmakers can also choose to implement multiple policies […]

Flexibility and Cost-Effectiveness in Proposed Climate Policies

Achieving the goal of an 83 percent reduction in US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissionsfrom 2005 levels by 2050 will require the electricity sector—which accounts for roughly 40 percent of US CO2 emissions—to make an enormous pivot away from fossil fuels toward non-emitting sources. Policy will be required to achieve this goal. In a recent RFF […]

Preserving Flexibility

Decisions EPA is making today will have a major impact on the cost-effectiveness of its planned move to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The agency has proposed and will soon finalize performance standards for new power plants. These new-source standards are a prerequisite for the planned existing-source standards, but are ostensibly otherwise unrelated […]

Identifying “Known Unknowns” in the Natural Gas Revolution

Last week, my colleagues and I released a new RFF report, The Natural Gas Revolution: Critical Questions for a Sustainable Energy Future. At one point, I began referring to this document as the “Known Unknowns” report, in reference to a widely quoted Donald Rumsfeld speech. As the former secretary of defense noted, there are certain […]

Fixing Emissions Trading Imbalances with a Price Floor

The centerpiece of Europe Union’s climate policy, the cap-and-trade Emissions Trading System (ETS), is being hobbled by a large oversupply of emissions allowances in the market. Since 2008, the ETS has rapidly accumulated a two gigaton surplus of allowances. The oversupply of allowances and low level of emissions is the result of a number of […]

Ounce of Prevention, Pound of Cure, Ton of Bricks

Speaking in drought-devastated California last month, President Obama announced that his 2015 budget would include a new $1 billion Climate Resilience Fund to better understand and prepare for the impacts of climate change. Having made limited progress so far in the fight to avoid climate change, we are now heading into the fight to gird […]

Misplaced Obsessions

The environmental movement has long been and will remain a crucial engine behind environmental policy, but I believe it really needs to reorient itself toward policies that matter, and in the process give up on its misplaced obsessions. First, environmentalists’ obsession with reducing carbon emissions is NOT misplaced. I am not just worried, but scared […]

Giving Too Much Away?

The Supreme Court heard arguments this morning in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA, a suit challenging the agency’s authority to address greenhouse gas emissions using the Clean Air Act’s PSD permitting program. I have not followed the case closely, and hesitate to make any predictions based on comments at oral arguments anyway. However, one comment […]

Who Benefits from Flexible GHG Rules?

US climate policy is unfolding under the Clean Air Act. Mobile source and construction permitting regulations are in place. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed draft final rules for the performance of new power plants. Most important, EPA and the states will soon determine the form and stringency of the regulations for existing […]

What to Expect From EPA Climate Rules

I have a new piece in the Milken Institute Review that looks at EPA’s current and near-future carbon emissions rules. It starts at the beginning of the story and is aimed at a more-or-less general audience, so if you haven’t been following the issue it’s a good place to start. Among other things I point […]