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 […]

Research Questions for the Midterm CAFE Review: The Fuel Efficiency Gap

This is the second in a series of blog posts by RFF’s transportation team that will address some of the key research questions for the midterm CAFE review. As the first post in this series described, US standards for passenger vehicle fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions are slated to tighten steeply. By 2025, the […]

A Tale of Two Parks (In One)

Without intending to, the team of civil servants that in 1990 created Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) launched a forest conservation policy experiment. In an ecologically rich region where ranchers and farmers were illegally clearing forests at an astounding clip, they established a huge (two million hectare) protected area with two distinct management regimes—a core […]

Gauging the Distributional Consequences of Public Policies

Although we know that public policies have different effects across a population, examination of the distributional effects has been largely neglected. Instead, the principal criteria now used in public policy assessments are measurements of net benefits, which estimate the sum of a policy’s benefits minus its costs, and benefit–cost ratios. But using these criteria can […]

Research Questions for the Midterm CAFE Review

Our country is about to enter the most important period this decade for the future of transportation and its associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Fuel economy and GHG standards for both light-duty vehicles and heavier trucks are slated to tighten, reducing not only oil use but also GHG emissions. There is significant uncertainty about how […]

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 […]

Update on Ending the Export Ban: What It Means for US Gasoline Prices

Data aficionados among our readers will appreciate that it is best to analyze price movements using as disaggregated data as possible, both temporally and spatially. In the original version of our recent issue brief, we used annual data.  But with more time to acquire data, we found monthly data series.  Importantly, these new data include […]

Ending the Export Ban: What It Means for US Gasoline Prices

Last week, top Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee requested a comprehensive review of what would happen—in terms of energy prices, consumer prices, and more—if the US were to lift its ban on oil exports. In a new RFF issue brief, together with Stephen Brown, Charles Mason, and Jan Mares, we tackle […]

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 […]

Will Philanthropy Solve Park Funding Problems? Not Likely

State and local park system budgets have been slashed in recent years, leading many communities to turn their attentions toward philanthropy. Oftentimes, especially in large cities, the philanthropy works through park conservancies and other nonprofit organizations. In other cases, there is direct fundraising. The new crowdfunding movement, in which small monetary contributions are solicited from […]