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Climate policy

2015-10-13

Beyond IPCC, Research for Paris 2015 and Beyond

The Climate conference in ParisDecember 2015 is described as “last chance” or “5 to twelve” but in the climate arena there is a risk that we have over-utilized the doomsday vocabulary already in the run-up to Copenhagen, 2009 the better part of a decade ago. For those who have worked on climate issues for several decades it poses a special challenge to calibrate language.Words like “immediate” need careful explanation.

2015-09-08

Push renewables to spur carbon pricing

Make wind and solar power even cheaper by opening up access to the electricity gridand ending fossil-fuel subsidies, urge Gernot Wagner and colleagues. Putting a price on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to curb emissions must be the centrepiece of any comprehensive climate-change policy. We know it works: pricing carbon creates broad incentives to cut emissions. Yet the current price of carbon remains much too low relative to the hidden environmental, health and societal costs of burning a tonne of coal or a barrel of oil. The global average price is below zero, once half a trillion dollars of fossil-fuel subsidies are factored in.

2014-04-28

Global warming: Improve economic models of climate change

On 31 March, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the impacts of climate change on humans and ecosystems (see go.nature.com/ad5v1b). These are real risks that need to be accounted for in planning for adaptation and mitigation. Pricing the risks with integrated models of physics and economics lets their costs be compared to those of limiting climate change or investing in greater resilience.

2014-03-01

Two world views on carbon revenues

The introduction of a price on CO2 is expected to be more efficient than prescriptive regulation. It also instantiates substantial economic value. Initially, programs allocated this value to incumbent firms (grandfathering), but the growing movement toward auctioning or emissions fees makes carbon revenues into a payment for environmental services. This paper asks to whom should this payment accrue?

2013-09-19

Evaluating forest conservation policies in developing countries using remote sensing data: An introduction and practical guide

Rigorous, objective evaluation of forest conservation policies in developing countries is needed to ensure that the limited financial, human, and political resources devoted to these policies are put to good use. Yet such evaluations remain uncommon. Recent advances in conservation best practices, the widening availability of high-resolution remotely sensed forest-cover data, and the dissemination of geographic information system capacity have created significant opportunities to reverse this trend.

2013-07-30

Determining Benefits and Costs for Future Generations

This article is a good example of EfDs mission: combining policy advice and research. It is based on a consultancy for the US EPA who asked Maureen Cropper to lead a process with a panel of experts to help advise them on what discount rate to use for climate change – and specifically about falling discount rates. This paper (and a longer one in REEP that is forthcoming) is a byproduct of that work.

2013-03-01

Sweden’s CO2 tax and taxation reform experiences

A CO2 tax assures that different fossil fuels are taxed in a neutral way according to actual CO2 emissions. The Swedish experience can be summarized by increased tax levels over time and steps taken towards a more uniform national price on fossil CO2. Moreover, the CO2 tax base is only moderately elastic to price changes (particularly in the short run) when it comes to petrol and diesel implying quite stable tax revenues. On the other hand, the CO2 tax seems to have had a major impact on fuels used for heating purposes, where biofuels and other non-fossil energy sources (such as energy from waste and surplus heat from industrial processes) have significantly increased their shares.

2012-11-15

Harnessing Climate Finance for Climate Protection and Sustainable Development in Africa

So far Africa has benefited little from climate finance as compared to other continents with emerging economies. Climate projects are distributed unevenly across regions as well as among developing countries. This is partly due to lack of trained manpower in some of these countries and too restrictive criteria of most of the climate fund projects and programs that are designed to the disadvantage of Africa.

2012-10-15

Climate negotiations under scientific uncertainty

How does uncertainty about “dangerous” climate change affect the prospects for international cooperation? Climate negotiations usually are depicted as a prisoners’ dilemma game; collectively, countries are better off reducing their emissions, but self-interest impels them to keep on emitting. We provide experimental evidence, grounded in an analytical framework, showing that the fear of crossing a dangerous threshold can turn climate negotiations into a coordination game, making collective action to avoid a dangerous threshold virtually assured.

2012-09-15

Climate Conventions and Africa/Ethiopia

Climate change is one of the main problems affecting the global environment which is critical to human welfare. Although the least developed countries (LDCs) in general and Africa in particular contribute the least to the problem, they are the most affected, with reasons varying from lacking resources to cope, immense poverty, and that many LDCs are located in regions where severe weather will hit the most.

2012-07-23

Payments for environmental services in Costa Rica: from Rio to Rio and beyond

Costa Rica has shown how a small developing country can reverse environmental degradation and one of the highest deforestation rates in Latin America. Key to its achievement has been the country’s PES programme, which began in 1997 and which many countries are now looking to learn from, especially as water markets and schemes to reward forest conservation and reduced deforestation (REDD+) grow.

2012-04-30

Climate Policy, Uncertainty, and the Role of Technological Innovation

We study how uncertainty about climate change severity affects the relative benefits of early abatement and a portfolio of research and development (R&D) in lowering future abatement costs. Optimal early abatement depends on the curvature of the marginal benefit and marginal abatement cost (MAC) functions and how the uncertain parameter affects marginal benefits.

2012-04-30

How Should Support for Climate-Friendly Technologies Be Designed?

Stabilizing global greenhouse gas concentrations at levels to avoid significant climate risks will require massive ‘‘decarbonization’’ of all the major economies over the next few decades, in addition to the reduced emissions from other GHGs and carbon sequestration. Achieving the necessary scale of emissions reductions will require a multifaceted policy effort to support a broad array of technological and behavioral changes. Change on this scale will require sound, well-thought-out strategies.

2012-02-15

Distributional effects of taxing transport fuel

This paper takes as its starting point the observation that fuel prices – and thus taxes – are important for good management of climate change and other environmental problems. To economists this should be no surprise yet it seems that the role of fuel taxation as an instrument of climate policy has not been fully appreciated. It is however one of the few policy instruments that, since several decades, has actually reduced fuel consumption appreciably.

2012-01-24

Taxes, permits and costly policy response to technological change

In this paper, we analyze the effects of the choice of price (taxes) versus quantity (tradable permits) instruments on the policy response to technological change. We show that if policy responses incur transactional and political adjustment costs, environmental targets are less likely to be adjusted under tradable permits than under emission taxes. This implies that the total level of abatement over time might remain unchanged under tradable permits while it will increase under emission taxes.

2011-12-09

The future of oil in a carbon constrained world

Global climate is changing. This fact is supported by robust scientific evidence, and there is no real doubt that the main reason is the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere caused by human activity, primarily related to the combustion of fossil fuels.

2011-11-06

Should we tax or let firms trade emissions? An experimental analysis with policy implications for developing countries

In this paper we use laboratory experiments to test the theoretical predictions derived by Villegas-Palacio and Coria (2010) about the effects of the interaction between technology adoption and incomplete enforcement. They show that under Tradable Emissions Permits (TEPs), and in contrast to taxes, the fall in permit price produced by adoption of environmentally friendly technologies reduces the benefits of violating the environmental regulation at the margin and leads firms to improve their compliance behavior. Moreover, when TEPs are used, the regulator can speed up the diffusion of new technologies since the benefits from adopting the new technology increase with the enforcement stringency.

2011-05-30

Attitudes to Personal Carbon Allowances

A personal carbon allowance (PCA) scheme targets emissions from individual consumption and allocates allowances directly to individuals by dividing the carbon budget on a per capita basis. In this study we analyse the results of a survey sent out to a representative sample of the Swedish population regarding attitudes to a potential PCA scheme.

2011-04-15

Engagements volontaires et croissance verte dans l’ère d’après Copenhague

Hopes for a climate deal were mercilessly shattered at Copenhagen and each of the successive COPs since then. One result is that “green growth” is promoted almost as if it were an alternative path. Obviously, green growth is in fact the goal, but the phrase is not a magic wand. The world economy will require tough policy instruments to become green — and it is naïve to think otherwise.

2011-02-10

Including Carbon Emissions from Deforestation in the Carbon Footprint of Beef

Effects of land use changes are starting to be included in estimates of life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, so-called carbon footprints (CFs), from food production. Their omission can lead to serious underestimates, particularly for meat. Here we estimate emissions from the conversion of forest to pasture in the Legal Amazon Region (LAR) of Brazil and present a model to distribute the emissions from deforestation over products and time subsequent to the land use change.

2010-09-30

The Progress of GHG Markets: Opportunities and Risks

The purpose of this report is to build knowledge about the effects of the development of regional and international carbon markets and the auxiliary technology agreements that might be needed. Among the topics we address are: the evolution and integration of carbon markets, the impacts of policy and technology cost uncertainty on the cost of meeting targets through a carbon market mechanism, the effect of banking, price floors and ceilings, institutional constraints and technological change in the further development of carbon markets and their links to other environmental policy instruments, and the potential of REDD-plus to encourage sustainable forest development and climate mitigation.

2010-02-25

The Local and Global Benefits of Green Tax Policies in China

This article describes a multidisciplinary study of market-based policies for controlling air pollution in China. While previous studies have examined the costs and benefits of pollution control separately, this approach determines them together using an economy–environment model for China.

2010-02-25

China's 11th Five-Year Plan and the Environment: Reducing SO2 Emissions

China's rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a high level of environmental degradation. One of the major sources of health and ecosystem damages is sulfur dioxide (SO2). Reducing SO2 emissions is a priority of China's environmental authorities, and the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010) includes the target of reducing total SO2 emissions by 10 percent from the 2005 level.

2010-02-25

In defence of sensible economics

How can economics best contribute to the scientific and public debates? Professor Thomas Sterner, University of Gothenburg, together with Nicholas Stern, who wrote the The Stern Review, and Nobel laureates Thomas Schelling and Robert Solow are among the scholars who explain in this book both how economics has changed environmental understanding and how the study of climate change has modified the economy.

2010-01-23

Eco-Innovation in China

This report inventories policies in place in China to support eco-innovation. It belongs to a series of country profiles on eco-innovation policies developed for eight non-EU OECD countries (Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey and the US) and for China.

2009-09-30

Climate Change Abatement: Not "Stern" Enough?

This article, "Climate Change Abatement: Not "Stern" Enough?", by Thomas Sterner and Dallas Burtraw, is forthcoming in a book, Parry and Day, eds. "100 Policy Commentaries on Environmental, Energy, Urban and Public Health Problems: Volume 1", RFF Press.

2009-08-11

China's 11th Five-Year Plan and the Environment: Reducing SO2 Emissions

China's rapid economic growth has been accompanied by a high level of environmental degradation. One of the major sources of health and ecosystem damages is sulfur dioxide (SO2). Reducing SO2 emissions is a priority of China's environmental authorities, and the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006–2010) includes the target of reducing total SO2 emissions by 10 percent from the 2005 level.

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