The Institute for Policy Integrity produces a variety of publications. Our research reports develop in-depth research on our core issues, while our policy briefs and issue briefs provide focused analysis on more timely or particular topics. Our academic articles and working papers offer original scholarly research and analysis from established experts as well as fresh new voices.
Recalibrating the Discount Rate for the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases
In light of recent evidence, a new range of discount rates appropriate for calculating the social cost of greenhouse gases could be conservatively estimated as between 0.5%-2.5%, with a central estimate of 1.5%. Agencies should follow the Interagency Working Group’s guidance on applying new social cost of greenhouse gas estimates based on updated discount rates—and will need to justify their choices, including any departures from prior practices.
Debate has reemerged about whether federal agencies’ policy analyses should focus on those climate pollution costs that will occur only within U.S. borders, rather than on the full global valuation of climate damages. The Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases provides compelling justifications to focus on global estimates. Based on a wide range available evidence, the Working Group should consider recommending a domestic valuation of at least 75% or more of the global values for optional use as 5 a lower-bound estimate in sensitivity analysis.
Our report highlights numerous areas in which the federal government should apply the social cost of greenhouse gases beyond regulatory cost-benefit analysis. It is organized under the framework of “decision-making, budgeting, and procurement” laid out in the President’s executive order, identifying a number of relevant actions—like environmental reviews conducted under NEPA and the assessment of royalty rates for federal land-management. In short, application of the social cost of greenhouse gases would be extremely beneficial for any executive branch decision with significant greenhouse gas implications.
While academic research on Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) has been mostly focused on first-best systems, we hypothesize that in reality multiple information barriers to efficient DER roll-out exist. We thus study the prevalence and importance of information issues arising in the context of deployment of DERs by reviewing the existing engineering and economic literature on distributed resources, analyzing DER-related regulatory proceedings, and surveying the relevant electricity sector stakeholders for their perception of information relevance and accessibility.
Strategic Policymaking for Implementing Renewable Portfolio Standards: A Tri-level Optimization Approach
Appropriately designed renewable support policies can play a leading role in promoting renewable expansions and contribute to low emission goals. Meanwhile, ill-designed policies may distort electricity markets, put power utilities and generation companies on an unlevel playing field and, in turn, cause inefficiencies. This paper, forthcoming in IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, proposes a framework to optimize policymaking for renewable energy sources, while incorporating conflicting interests and objectives of different stakeholders.