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Resources Magazine: Saving Europe’s Key Weapon against Climate Change

Climate change is widely regarded as the greatest threat to the global environment. But the centerpiece of the European Union’s climate policy is being hobbled. That centerpiece is the cap-and-trade Emissions Trading System (ETS), under which companies buy and sell carbon reduction credits. The cause of the problems plaguing the European market is the presence of […]

Cap and Trade in China: How Might It Work?

China plans to start a nationwide cap-and-trade market in 2016. But can China, whose economy still contains many nonmarket features, properly design and implement a fundamentally market-based policy? In our new RFF discussion paper, my coauthors (RFF’s Richard Morgenstern, Zhongmin Wang, and Xu Liu) and I attempt to answer this question by examining cap-and-trade pilot […]

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 […]

Energy Efficiency in 111(d): The Role of End-Use Efficiency in State Compliance Plans

In a prior blog post, I describe the contribution of energy efficiency to state emissions-reduction targets in EPA’s Clean Power Plan. As EPA has pointed out, including energy efficiency in states’ targets does not mean that states will necessarily choose to include energy efficiency programs in the compliance plans they submit to EPA. Many factors […]

Twitter Q&A Roundup: EPA’s Clean Air Plan

On June 5, RFF hosted a seminar titled, “Making Sense of EPA’s Proposed Rule for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Power Plants.” We did not have time to answer all of the questions posed by our Twitter audience during that event due to time constraints. Below are our responses to some of those questions. #askRFF […]

Comparing the Clean Air Act and a Carbon Price

As readers likely have heard by this point, EPA proposed performance standards for carbon emissions from existing power plants on Monday. This major climate policy move is perhaps most notable in that it happened without new legislation from Congress. Economists have long argued that an economywide carbon price is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions. This […]

Emissions Trading Isn’t Dead, But It’s Not Out of the Hospital Either

The Supreme Court’s recent decision in EPA v. EME Homer City was a big victory for the agency, substantially (though not completely and finally) clearing the way for  cap-and-trade programs that had been in legal limbo for the better part of a decade.  The DC Circuit decision in the case that SCOTUS overturned prompted me to declare the […]

Mixing and Matching Electricity Sector Policies

A number of concerns have emerged over the last decade about climate change, energy security, and energy efficiency, inspiring an equally long list of proposed policy fixes. The majority of these options, including renewables subsidies, performance standards, and emissions pricing schemes, apply directly to the power sector. Lawmakers can also choose to implement multiple policies […]

Flexibility and Cost-Effectiveness in Proposed Climate Policies

Achieving the goal of an 83 percent reduction in US carbon dioxide (CO2) emissionsfrom 2005 levels by 2050 will require the electricity sector—which accounts for roughly 40 percent of US CO2 emissions—to make an enormous pivot away from fossil fuels toward non-emitting sources. Policy will be required to achieve this goal. In a recent RFF […]

Preserving Flexibility

Decisions EPA is making today will have a major impact on the cost-effectiveness of its planned move to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The agency has proposed and will soon finalize performance standards for new power plants. These new-source standards are a prerequisite for the planned existing-source standards, but are ostensibly otherwise unrelated […]