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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

What to Expect From EPA Climate Rules

I have a new piece in the Milken Institute Review that looks at EPA’s current and near-future carbon emissions rules. It starts at the beginning of the story and is aimed at a more-or-less general audience, so if you haven’t been following the issue it’s a good place to start. Among other things I point […]

RFF/Stanford/USA Today Poll Shows Majority Support for Regulating Power Plant GHG Emissions

The first round of results from the RFF/Stanford/USA Today poll was released today and it shows that a majority of the US favors doing something to address the threat of climate change, although there is substantially less agreement about what exactly to do. There’s a lot to dig into that’s relevant to climate policy options we […]

Sourcing the Future of Wood Bioenergy

Some of the biggest bioenergy debates stem from a “food or fuel” problem, where agricultural lands have been devoted to growing grain as inputs for biofuels, at the cost of food production. According to a study by Searchinger et. al. of corn-based ethanol production, the large scale substitution  of corn ethanol over traditional fossil fuels […]

Recycling Revenue from a Carbon Tax

A national tax on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is a cost-effective and efficient tool to achieve environmentally beneficial emissions reductions that will generate billions of dollars per year in revenue for the US government. These carbon revenues can serve a range of purposes. They can pay for energy efficiency investments; they can finance cuts in […]

Solving Carbon Tax Competition Issues

Whether you’re designing a carbon tax or experimenting with a cap-and-trade policy, carbon pricing affects all participants differently. Potential inequality under a carbon tax has been a particular concern for energy-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) sectors, whose energy-heavy processes and competitive global markets make them particularly vulnerable to carbon pricing disparities across countries. Politicians acting in the […]

Market Shares and Technology Driving Up Fuel Economy in New Vehicles

From the late 1980s to about 2004, the average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles in the United States declined gradually. Then, over the past 10 years, fuel economy jumped suddenly, up almost 20 percent by 2012. In a recent paper, my colleague Shefali Khanna and I ask which end of the production line explains […]