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 […]

Examining the Benefits of Invasive Species Prevention: The Role of Invader Temporal Characteristics

International trade and travel can enable otherwise innocuous species to wreak havoc in new and novel environments. Evaluating the economic benefits of preventing the arrival and establishment of a damaging, invasive species through quarantine or preventative measures requires considering its total long-term damages from the time of its arrival onward.  Previous literature has recognized that […]

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 […]

Projected Reductions in Drilling Activity Do Not Undermine the Argument for Lifting the Crude Oil Export Ban

In early 2014, the case for lifting the crude oil export ban, which has been in place since the 1970s, started to gain traction—and with good reason. Doing away with the ban would result in lower US gasoline prices and greater US tight oil production. But the momentum stalled out as the price of crude […]

Reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund: Three Key Issues

Typical Earth Day stories focus on the achievements of our country’s two signature environmental laws, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. But today, I’d like to give some love to the 50-year-old Land and Water Conservation Fund Act, which expires at the end of September unless Congress reauthorizes it. A real opportunity […]

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 […]

Competing Goals in Fishery Management: A Case Study in Alaska

Over the past several decades, fishery management has undergone significant change as nations around the world have implemented catch share programs. Among such programs, individual transferable quotas (ITQs)—a type of catch share that provides a market-based approach—often are designed with multiple objectives in mind. Goals can include ensuring that a fishery’s overall catch is sustainable […]