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Viewing recent projects in Climate and Energy Policy
  • California Air Resources Board – Comments on the 2017 Scoping Plan Update

    We recently submitted a second set of comments to the California Air Resources Board on its 2017 Climate Change Scoping Plan Update. These comments build on those we submitted in December to ARB on the discussion draft of the scoping plan.

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  • Reply Comments on California Distributed Energy Resources Policy

    The California Public Utilities Commission proposed using a Societal Cost Test to help select the combination of distributed energy resource projects that will result in the greatest net benefits to society. We counter the feedback that some stakeholders gave on implementing this approach in our reply comments. We argue that the Commission should: (1) expand its discussion of the legal basis for applying a societal cost test that includes a full range of externalities; (2) use the damage cost approach to determine the value of greenhouse gas abatement, rather than the proposed abatement cost approach; and (3) apply a societal discount rate to the analysis.

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  • Comments on California’s Evaluation Methods for Distributed Energy Resources

    We recently submitted comments to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on their proposal to develop a more robust societal cost test to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of distributed energy resources (DERs). California has been a national leader in addressing the challenges associated with DER integration, and this proceeding will help the state to reform their cost-effectiveness framework.

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  • Comments on California’s Clean Cars Program

    We recently submitted comments on the California Air Resource Board’s (ARB’s) Midterm Review of its Advanced Clean Cars program, which sets pollution limits and zero-emissions vehicle targets for automobiles sold in California. California is unique among the states in that the Clean Air Act allows it to seek a waiver from EPA to set its own automobile emission targets, which other states can then adopt.

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  • The Social Cost of Carbon: A Global Imperative Cover

    The Social Cost of Carbon: A Global Imperative

    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.

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  • Social Costs of Greenhouse Gases Cover

    Social Costs of Greenhouse Gases

    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.

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  • Comments to Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection on Greenhouse Gas Reductions

    The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (“MassDEP”) has proposed a set of regulations to limit the greenhouse gas emissions from electric power plants, natural gas pipelines, government-owned transportation equipment, and utility-owned switchgear equipment. MassDEP has also proposed a new requirement that retail sellers of electricity purchase gradually increasing amounts of clean energy, along with non-binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

    In our comments to MassDEP, we offer three suggestions to ensure these regulations cut global greenhouse gas emissions in a cost-effective way. First, we encourage MassDEP to prevent potential emissions leakage to other states in the Northeast’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) program. Second, we recommend the regulations should be technology-neutral and use a flexible compliance system. Third, we recommend enforceable emissions limits on the transportation sector rather than non-binding targets, especially considering that the state’s emissions from transportation sector are almost twice those of the electric sector.

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  • Comments to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Proposed Rulemaking for Electric Storage Participation in Markets Operated by RTOs and ISOs

    In November 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced its intent to ease the process for energy storage and distributed energy resources to participate in wholesale electricity markets. The proposed rule would require regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) to revise their tariffs to energy providers in order to promote technology neutrality. In comments on the rule, we recommend that in addition to adjusting these tariffs, FERC should take more steps to fully realize the benefits that these technologies could provide for wholesale markets. We recommend that the Commission explicitly clarify the benefits for which it compensates these technologies; allow states to compensate for distribution-side benefits; eliminate location-based constraints on resource participation while recognizing the importance of location in optimally dispatching these services; encourage coordination between RTOs/ISOs and state regulators; and promote advanced metering technology to increase efficiency in how energy is dispatched.

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  • Brief for Challenge to EPA’s Carbon Standards for New Power Plants

    The EPA’s Carbon Pollution Standards for New Power Plants limit carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed plants. A group of state attorneys general and energy companies have filed suit challenging the standards on several grounds. Policy Integrity submitted an amicus brief in support of EPA.

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  • Comments to California Air Resources Board on 2030 Target Scoping Plan Draft

    This summer, California extended its greenhouse gas emissions reduction program to 2030 with two companion bills. The legislation modifies how the Air Resources Board (ARB), the state agency responsible for regulating air pollution, should assess proposed policy measures and prioritize goals in designing regulations. ARB staff released a preliminary draft of the scoping plan for how to meet the new 2030 targets in early December and is expected to release a second draft for comment in mid-January. We submitted comments on the December draft, making recommendations on how to structure the scoping plan’s economic analysis to best achieve the goals laid out in ARB’s new mandate.

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