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Reconsidering the Rebound Effect

The rebound effect from improving energy efficiency has been widely discussed—from the pages of the New York Times and New Yorker to the halls of policy and to a voluminous academic literature. It’s been known for over a century and, on the surface, is simple to understand. Buy a more fuel-efficient car, drive more. Invent […]

US-China Agreement: Benefits of Modest Non-Binding Deal may be Mainly Political

A lot has been written about the new climate agreement between the US and China made at the APEC summit this week. Almost all of it is very positive, framing the agreement as a major policy breakthrough with big impacts on both international climate negotiations and on the climate change problem itself. I confess I’m […]

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 […]

More Natural Gas, Less Warming?

The unexpected energy revolution caused by the rapid growth in North American shale gas production has produced benefits related to the economy, jobs, energy security, and local air pollution, and has contributed to a decrease in US greenhouse gas emissions. However, as my colleagues and I report in a new study published online today by Nature Advance […]

Climate Change Policy Imperatives: Let’s Not Neglect Adaptation

Each succeeding year in which the world fails to agree to forceful and binding commitments to slash releases of greenhouse gas emissions underscores the increased urgency of complementary measures to strengthen resilience to impacts of global warming that may no longer be avoided or sufficiently mitigated through just emissions reduction. Framing that dilemma in shorthand […]

How US Gridlock May Handicap Climate Leadership

Next week, world leaders will meet at the United Nations in New York City at the invitation of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss actions the leaders will take to limit their country’s emissions of greenhouse gases in an effort to forestall global climate change. For many, success of […]

Pursuing a Global Climate Treaty: Next Stop, New York

Climate change takes center stage in New York City two weeks from now when world leaders will attend the United Nations Climate Summit—a stepping stone along the path to a new global climate agreement to emerge in Paris in late 2015.  Don’t expect a “kumbaya” moment at the summit.  Rather, expect to see a very […]

Making Sense of the Chamber’s Study of Coming Climate Rules

On Monday, EPA is set to release proposed new rules limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants. Along with many others, we at RFF have studied the potential implications of this policy for the economy and the environment for some time. While Monday’s release is only a proposal, it will for the first time give […]

What Do State Renewable Portfolio Standards Mean for Carbon Intensity?

In the last two decades, 31 states have passed renewable portfolio standards (RPS) into law that are aimed at increasing the portion of state energy that is sourced from renewable, typically non-carbon-emitting, resources. In many states, such standards were not explicitly meant to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, although given the energy sources they promote […]

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 […]