The Impact of Natural Gas Prices on Electricity Consumers and the Environment

Coinciding with the recent increase in US natural gas production, the country has seen a 60 percent decrease in the price of natural gas. Lower natural gas prices have affected electricity prices and emissions rates differently across various regions. For example, during this time period, the Texas Reliability Entity experienced one of the largest decreases […]

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 […]

Should Coastal Communities Consider Transfers of Development Rights?

My colleague, Carolyn Kousky, recently wrote a post about “managed retreat” from the riskiest areas along our nation’s coastline—areas facing sea-level rise, as well as worsening storms and hurricanes. Her recommended three-part strategy includes limiting development in high-risk areas, adopting policies for “orderly” retreat as inundation occurs, and allowing for retreat after a disaster. All […]

Update on Ending the Export Ban: What It Means for US Gasoline Prices

Data aficionados among our readers will appreciate that it is best to analyze price movements using as disaggregated data as possible, both temporally and spatially. In the original version of our recent issue brief, we used annual data.  But with more time to acquire data, we found monthly data series.  Importantly, these new data include […]

Ending the Export Ban: What It Means for US Gasoline Prices

Last week, top Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee requested a comprehensive review of what would happen—in terms of energy prices, consumer prices, and more—if the US were to lift its ban on oil exports. In a new RFF issue brief, together with Stephen Brown, Charles Mason, and Jan Mares, we tackle […]

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 […]

Technology Flexibility and Stringency for Greenhouse Gas Regulations

The Clean Air Act provides the current regulatory framework for climate policy in the United States. A key component of US policy as called for in President Obama’s recent memorandum to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the use of flexible approaches in achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. EPA is expected to […]

US Shale Gas Development in Review

The United States has seen rapid recent development of shale gas. What are the factors behind the notable growth in the past decade? And what does it mean for shale gas development elsewhere in the world? Alan Krupnick and I examine the history of the US shale gas boom in a new RFF discussion paper. […]

Thinking Like an Economist within the Complex Climate Policy Regime

Building on recent work that highlights the need to account for institutions in crafting economic solutions to environmental problems, Matt Woerman and I look specifically to the implementation of climate policy—and how incentive-based thinking can help. Read more here.

Econ 101. The Fray Market

Markets are not perfectly competitive and they are not free.   Even if they were perfectly competitive, they would not be free.  In his iconic Economics textbook, Paul Samuelson says there are no perfect competitors “except possibly the millions of farmers who individually produce a negligible fraction of the total crop.”  But even those farmers are […]