Terminating Links between Emissions Trading Programs

In the absence of a coordinated global emissions market, a number of self-contained regional carbon-trading programs have formed that independently establish, track, and cancel their own compliance permits. In order to increase the cost-effectiveness, liquidity, and stability of these markets, the entities that control them may choose to link programs together in a framework that […]

On Proposed Regulations for Arctic Offshore Oil Drilling

This entry previously appeared as a comment on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders forum “Can Arctic Drilling Be Done Safely?”. On August 15, the Obama administration took a long awaited step forward in the development of safety standards for Arctic offshore drilling operations. The submission of proposed regulations by the Department of the Interior (DOI) […]

Taking Steps toward Green Growth in China

For decades, China’s government has focused on economic growth and has paid less attention to the associated environmental consequences. But today, the need for environmental regulation is more widely recognized as a critical ingredient for continued, sustainable growth in the world’s most populous country. In a new RFF discussion paper, Green Growth (for China): A Literature […]

Exporting the Cost of Dams

Last year, former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi proclaimed: “We will defend each drop of Nile water with our blood if necessary.” He was referring to the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam that Ethiopia is constructing, which may affect the flow of the Nile River into Egypt. A year later, talks between the two nations still have […]

Measuring the Early Effects of a Carbon Tax: Comparing Three Policies across Income Groups

Economists argue that the most efficient way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to raise the price of energy by introducing a price on carbon emissions, either through a tax or a cap-and-trade regime. A tax (or a cap-and-trade system that auctions off permits) has a secondary effect beyond providing incentives for reducing emissions: it […]

The Federal Multiagency Collaboration on Unconventional Oil and Gas Research Strategy: What Have We Learned?

The Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency recently released the long-awaited research strategy on unconventional oil and gas research. Its mandate was to produce timely, policy-relevant research questions that support sound policy decisions and prudent oil and gas development. It also was to “analyze and synthesize the state of […]

Getting Past the “Yuck” Factor: Challenges for Public Acceptance of Recycled Water

A recent article in Slate ran with the attention-grabbing title “Thirsty West: Why Californians Will Soon be Drinking their Own Pee.”  The article was motivated by the planned $142 million expansion of a water reuse facility in Orange County, which will increase the local district’s capacity to take wastewater and convert it into sterile, drinking-quality […]

Managing the Risks of Shale Gas Development Using Innovative Legal and Regulatory Approaches

At the heart of the US shale gas boom is a tense relationship between the desire for its economic benefits and the fear of its environmental costs. Regulatory measures and industry best practices can be adjusted to ease this tension, but the potential for incorporating innovative tools into new measures has been relatively understudied. Both […]

Quick Thoughts on UARG v. EPA

SCOTUS released its decision in UARG v. EPA today, with the majority opinion authored by Justice Scalia. The issue in the case was whether EPA appropriately subjected stationary sources to new source review obligations for their GHG emissions. Here are some quick thoughts. If you’re unfamiliar with the case or with EPA’s regulatory agenda for […]

Energy Efficiency in 111(d): Evaluating Energy Savings for Carbon Reduction

EPA’s Clean Power Plan uses expanded energy efficiency programs as a component of states’ emissions rate targets. States that choose to use energy efficiency for compliance need to develop and provide EPA with a plan for evaluating energy savings that result from the policy. In the technical support document for state plans, EPA describes the […]