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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 […]

Coordination Challenges and a Policy Option for US and Global Climate Efforts

In recent years, US climate plans have changed abruptly. In a new RFF discussion paper, with RFF Center Fellow Anthony Paul and Research Assistant Sophie Pan, we examine the challenges for progress—specifically, of coordination among jurisdictions—that presently face policymakers in both the United States and around the world. The current centerpiece of US policy is […]

Resources Magazine: Green Growth for China?

The recent history of China has been one of spectacular economic growth. The country’s GDP soared from 3.43 percent of global GDP in 2000 to 11.35 percent in 2012. Its per capita income of US$6,100 in 2012 puts China in the category of middle-income countries such as South Africa, Egypt, and Thailand. At the same […]

EPA’s Methane Announcement: Connecting Some Dots

EPA issued a long-awaited statement today on its intentions to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas extraction, processing and transmission sectors 40-45 percent of 2012 emissions by 2025. While EPA had begun to tackle emissions from new wells, and plans to continue down this road in the future (albeit by regulating methane directly […]