Adaptation: An Essential, but Lagging, Part of Global Warming Policy

What does the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific, have in common with the state of California? Whether the former’s inundation, brought on by Cyclone Pam in March, was exacerbated by sea-level rise or whether the latter’s prolonged drought might, similarly, be an early harbinger of global warming—each case dashes the […]

Low Allowance Prices in the EU Emissions Trading System: New Research on an Evolving Program

The EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) for carbon dioxide (CO2) is the largest worldwide. Since its inception in 2005, it has experienced allowance price volatility and low overall prices. Generally, the fact that it costs less than anticipated to reduce CO2 emissions would be good news. Instead, these price dynamics are bad news for many […]

Lower CO2 emissions from trucks are in the works

Medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks likely will be getting a lot cleaner. Joint Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) programs announced Friday will build off existing regulations (Phase I, adopted in 2011) to significantly reduce carbon emissions and fuel consumption from the nation’s trucks. Covering tractor-trailers, buses, and heavy pickups and […]

Joel Darmstadter: If Not a Carbon Tax and Universality, What Then?

RFF’s own Joel Darmstadter gave the commencement speech at Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ graduation ceremony on May 8.  His remarks touched on the very difficult policy challenges associated with addressing climate change against the background of two important impending milestones: the implementation of the Clean Power Plan and the international climate […]

Congress Doesn’t Have Veto Power Over the Clean Power Plan

Last week, during testimony by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised a new argument against EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), claiming §102(c) of the Clean Air Act gives Congress the authority to veto EPA’s planned regulation. Since EPA’s authority comes from Congress, this provision—if the Senator is reading it correctly—would claw […]

Significant, Widespread Health Benefits Possible under EPA’s Clean Power Plan

Politics is typically about the here and now. And so shaping policy to address climate change poses a particularly difficult challenge. The benefits appear to be dispersed globally and accrue decades into the future, while the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions would be felt immediately. Or so the story goes. The problem with this narrative […]

Show Us the Money: An Early Look at Utility Bill Savings from Municipal Benchmarking and Disclosure Laws

Recently, my colleague Margaret Walls blogged about two new RFF discussion papers focused on a popular new policy in US cities: municipal energy benchmarking and disclosure requirements. These laws, which require owners of large commercial and multi-family buildings above a certain size threshold to benchmark their buildings’ energy use and disclose that information, are intended […]

Using the Social Cost of Carbon in the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning: An Opportunity for a Carbon Price?

In new research (described in an earlier blog post), we lay out a legal argument for how the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) might implement a carbon pricing policy, based on the social cost of carbon, on coal extraction on federal lands (with RFF coauthors Joel Darmstadter, Nathan Richardson, also of the University of South […]

Should We Price the Carbon From Federal Coal?

Conversations in the United States about policies to reduce emissions from fossil fuels have normally focused on a number of “downstream” approaches that target the end or intermediate users of fossil fuels. Notably, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan addresses emissions from existing electric power plants, and fuel economy standards are reaching […]

Investment Risks Raise Costs and Shift Regional Efforts to Mitigate Emissions

A new study appearing in Nature Climate Change (of which I am a coauthor) explores how institutional considerations of risk affect the cost of large-scale investments in the power sector that increase or reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike previous studies that assume uniform costs for investments, we apply financial charges that vary from country to […]