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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 […]

Investment Risks Raise Costs and Shift Regional Efforts to Mitigate Emissions

A new study appearing in Nature Climate Change (of which I am a coauthor) explores how institutional considerations of risk affect the cost of large-scale investments in the power sector that increase or reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Unlike previous studies that assume uniform costs for investments, we apply financial charges that vary from country to […]

Coordination Challenges and a Policy Option for US and Global Climate Efforts

In recent years, US climate plans have changed abruptly. In a new RFF discussion paper, with RFF Center Fellow Anthony Paul and Research Assistant Sophie Pan, we examine the challenges for progress—specifically, of coordination among jurisdictions—that presently face policymakers in both the United States and around the world. The current centerpiece of US policy is […]

Brazil Takes a Turn for – What?

A recent Bloomberg View article (“Brazil Puts a Denier in Charge of Climate Change,” January 7) draws a sharp contrast between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s September UN General Assembly reference to climate change as “one of the greatest challenges of our times” and a just-announced appointment to her cabinet. A slightly edited version of my […]

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 […]