November 1, 2014
October at Policy Integrity: Climate Policy Workshop, Offshore Fracking, In the News: Senator Whitehouse at Policy Integrity’s Workshop, On the Docket: Flood Insurance, Alumni Spotlight: Gonzalo Moyano
Workshop on the Future of U.S. Climate Policy
On October 28th, Policy Integrity hosted U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse; Joel Beauvais, EPA’s Associate Administrator for the Office of Policy; and a group of state government officials, legal academics, and experts from environmental nonprofits and the private sector to discuss the future of U.S. climate policy. Much of the discussion at Policy Integrity’s sixth annual fall workshop focused on EPA’s Clean Power Plan. In his keynote speech, Senator Whitehouse announced for the first time that he will introduce a carbon tax bill in the Senate next month. A selection of resources from the workshop is available here.
Offshore Fracking Seminar
Fracking has sparked controversy in many regions, but few realize it occurs regularly offshore, without any specialized controls. A 2013 report estimated that fracking is used in 12% of all wells in the Gulf of Mexico, and the practice has become common off the California coast and internationally. The Environmental Law Institute recently invited Policy Integrity’s Jayni Hein to discuss offshore fracking at a seminar on the topic. Hein spoke about the legal framework for offshore leasing and oversight, and the need for further study of offshore fracking’s many risks, such as its impacts on marine life and seismic activity. Hein was also recently quoted in a USA Today article on offshore fracking.
In the News: Senator Whitehouse’s Speech
In his keynote speech at Policy Integrity’s climate policy workshop, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse discussed a range of issues, from the impact of the Citizens United ruling on climate legislation, to his plans for a new carbon tax bill. “Pollution-driven climate change hurts our economy, damages our infrastructure, and harms public health. However, none of these costs are factored into the price of the coal or oil that’s burned to release this carbon,” Whitehouse said, outlining his plans for a carbon tax that would generate as much as $2 trillion over its first decade. The full text of his speech is available here.
On the Docket: Analyzing Flood Insurance
In the months after Hurricane Sandy devastated parts of the East Coast, Policy Integrity began a project focused on a major federal resiliency initiative—the National Flood Insurance Program. While many policyholders receive discounted premiums for this program, less than half of eligible residents purchase coverage and very little is known about the underlying drivers of the decision to purchase flood insurance. Our three-part study aims to identify the determinants of flood insurance take-up rates, including the influence of disasters; assess the distributional consequences of premium and claims payments in the program; and use a randomized experiment to identify how changes in risk communication or price levels could increase uptake. We expect to release our findings by late 2015.
Alumni Spotlight: Gonzalo Moyano
Gonzalo Moyano joined Policy Integrity as a fellow in 2009 and worked on a variety of projects related to energy and environmental regulation. He later became a founding partner at Pleiades S.A., a startup that is developing utility-scale solar energy projects in Chile’s Atacama desert. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Chile School of Law, where he teaches seminars on climate change, renewable energy, and cost-benefit analysis. “My time at Policy Integrity broadened my understanding of economic analysis and its impact on regulatory decisions,” says Moyano. “This has allowed me to incorporate better tools for the analysis of Chile´s nascent regulatory framework for renewable energy.”