Markets, Externalities, and the Federal Power Act: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Authority to Price Carbon Emissions
Article revised for the Environmental Law Reporter
This article, excerpted from Davis Noll and Unel’s article in the NYU Environmental Law Journal, provides a comprehensive economic framework to show that addressing the CO2 externality through a carbon price falls within FERC’s authority to ensure an efficient market.
How the Trump Administration’s Deregulatory Push Has Exacerbated the Covid-19 Pandemic
The failure of the federal government to adequately safeguard the health, environment, and economy of the United States with efficient regulatory protections is not a new phenomenon. For over three years now, the Trump administration has systematically delayed, undermined, and erased key regulations that protect our health, our environment, our workplaces, our living conditions, and our economy. The steady erosion of regulatory safeguards has severely compromised our baseline defenses against Covid-19.
Using Survey Responses to Address Positive and Normative Uncertainties in Climate-Economic Models
The social cost of carbon (SCC) and the climate-economic models underlying this prominent US climate policy instrument are heavily affected by modeler opinion and therefore may not reflect the views of most climate economists. To test whether differences exist, we recalibrate key uncertain model parameters using formal expert elicitation: a multi-question online survey of individuals who have published scholarship on the economics of climate change. Read the article, published in Climatic Change.
Modernizing the U.S. power grid to advance the clean energy transition, to increase the deployment of new technologies such as smart and controllable appliances, electric vehicles, and energy storage, and to reduce emissions is the mainstream discussion in today’s utility regulation. Policymakers around the country are implementing various types of reforms ranging from technology mandates to new tariffs aimed at unlocking competitive forces to achieve their policy goals. We briefly overview the potential information problems that can arise, discuss the importance of information in energy policy design for DER deployment, and then conclude by suggesting directions for future policy research.
Shortchanged: How the Trump Administration’s Rollback of the Clean Car Standards Deprives Consumers of Fuel Savings
The Trump administration recently replaced the Obama administration’s strongest climate policy, the Clean Car Standards, with a significantly weaker rule. We explain how EPA and NHTSA, to justify the rollback, rely on an analytical gimmick that contravenes decades of agency practice across administrations as well as the principles of basic economics.
The Administration’s Misleading Claims About Deregulatory Cost Savings
The Trump administration regularly boasts about the cost savings of rolling back regulations, focusing on industry profits without considering significant negative impacts. This policy brief address and counters the administration's cost savings claims and demonstrates that they should not be taken at face value.
Policy Integrity and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University convened a conference on March 3, 2020, to discuss current, and potential future, approaches to carbon pricing in wholesale markets. This brief highlights some of the major points of discussion and suggests open questions for future study.
FERC and Cost-Benefit Analysis
This article, published in the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, argues that, FERC’s management of this transition would be significantly enhanced if it embraced cost-benefit analysis—including accounting for important indirect costs and benefits such as the effect on climate change—to guide its decisionmaking. Changing course and adopting cost-benefit analysis will allow FERC to manage the energy transition while maximizing social welfare, enhancing transparency and accountability, and mitigating legal and political risk
This issue brief summarizes EPA's enforcement and compliance policy in light of COVID-19, describing its significance and clarifying its contours. The policy opens the door to potentially problematic and harmful actions, especially on a short-term basis.
What Are We Waiting For?
Scientists and economists have long recognized that significant uncertainties and irreversibility characterize climate change. And yet, the social cost of carbon (SCC), the preeminent policy tool to address climate change applied by the U.S. government, does not include the option value (OV) that arises due to these characteristics. We demonstrate a simple methodology for approximating the OV underlying the SCC using the Bachelier formula
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