Institute for Policy Integrity

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Viewing all publications in Climate Change and Energy Policy
  • Few and Not So Far Between
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Few and Not So Far Between

    A Meta-analysis of Climate Damage Estimates

    By Peter H. Howard and Thomas Sterner
    June 12, 2017

    Given the vast uncertainty surrounding climate impacts, meta-analyses of global climate damage estimates are a key tool for determining the relationship between temperature and climate damages. Due to limited data availability, previous meta-analyses of global climate damages potentially suffered from multiple sources of coefficient and standard error bias. To address and test for these biases, we expand on previous datasets to obtain sufficient degrees of freedom to make the necessary model adjustments, including dropping duplicate estimates and including methodological variables. Estimating the relationship between temperature and climate damages using weighted least squares with cluster-robust standard errors, we find strong evidence that duplicate and omitted variable biases flatten the relationship. However, the magnitude of the bias greatly depends on the treatment of speculative high-temperature (>4 ◦C) damage estimates. Replacing the DICE-2013R damage function with our preferred estimate of the temperature–damage relationship, we find a three- to four-fold increase in the 2015 SCC relative to DICE, depending on the treatment of productivity. When catastrophic impacts are also factored in, the SCC increases by four- to five-fold.

  • Managing the Future of the Electricity Grid: Energy Storage and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Managing the Future of the Electricity Grid: Energy Storage and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    By Richard L. Revesz and Burcin Unel
    June 6, 2017

    Recent advances in technology and the consequent decline in manufacturing costs are making energy storage systems a central element of energy and climate change policy debates across the nation. Energy storage systems have the potential to provide many benefits such as lower electricity prices at peak demand times, deferred or avoided new capacity investments, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, both federal and state policymakers are enthusiastically encouraging more energy storage deployment with the belief that energy storage systems will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector by making intermittent and variable renewable energy resources such as solar and wind more attractive.

  • The Social Cost of Carbon: A Global Imperative
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    The Social Cost of Carbon: A Global Imperative

    By Richard L. Revesz, Jason A. Schwartz, Peter H. Howard, Kenneth Arrow, Michael A. Livermore, Michael Oppenheimer, and Thomas Sterner
    March 11, 2017

    To solve the unprecedented global commons problem posed by climate change, all nations must internalize the global externalities of their emissions. If not, collective efforts will never achieve an efficient, stable climate outcome. The United States’ practice of looking at the global impact of emissions has come under attack in courtrooms and academic journals, with some arguing that the U.S. should instead consider only the domestic impacts of climate change in its decisionmaking.

    In a letter published in Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, we argue that federal agencies should continue to use a global number for Social Cost of Carbon, as developed by the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Carbon. First, the United States benefits tremendously if other countries set policy based on global rather than local effects. From a legal perspective, not only does international law—the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change—commit the United States to account for global effects, but domestic laws like the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act also either require or give discretion to agencies to consider global climate costs. Many seemingly “foreign” climate damages would actually spill over to harm the United States.

  • Social Costs of Greenhouse Gases
    Issue Brief

    Social Costs of Greenhouse Gases

    By The Institute for Policy Integrity
    February 27, 2017

    Scientific studies show that climate change will have, and in some cases has already had, severe consequences for society, like the spread of disease, increased food insecurity, and coastal destruction. The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a metric designed to quantify climate damages, representing the net economic cost of carbon dioxide emissions. Our issue brief on the Social Cost of Carbon details how this metric was developed and how it applies to federal regulatory policy.

  • Measuring Flood Risk
    Policy Brief

    Measuring Flood Risk

    What Are NYC Residents Willing to Pay for a Flood Protection System?

    By J. Scott Holladay, Howard Kunreuther, and Valerie Stahl
    October 31, 2016

    This policy brief evaluates how willingness to pay (WTP) for a flood protection system varies with exposure to flood risk, using detailed flood maps and parcel-level data to identify households within and just beyond the 100-year flood plain in New York City. Past research has estimated that a homeowner’s WTP for flood insurance is largely contingent upon their risk level. However, no studies to date have analyzed the WTP for other forms of flood protection. We conducted a survey of single-family homeowners living in the 100- and 500-year flood plains in New York City, and found that WTP for flood control systems varies with the degree of risk that homeowners face. While the majority of residents living in the 100- year flood plain were willing to pay up to $10 a month to contribute to the cost of a seawall, the majority of residents living in the 500-year flood plain, an area that has a 0.2% risk of flooding in any given year, were only willing to pay up to $7 a month. These results are consistent with other studies demonstrating that risk—actual or perceived—plays a large role in individuals’ WTP for protection from floods.