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Publications

Viewing all publications in Climate Change and Energy Policy
  • Pipeline Approvals and Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    Report

    Pipeline Approvals and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    By Jayni Hein, Jason Schwartz, and Avi Zevin
    April 9, 2019

    In light of growing public awareness of the environmental effects of pipeline projects, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has faced competing pressures regarding how to balance the need for new natural gas pipelines with their environmental consequences. Concerns about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and resulting climate change effects have become a flashpoint in the debate. Our report examines the legal context surrounding FERC’s evaluation of the environmental impacts of proposed interstate natural gas pipelines. We look at FERC’s obligations under the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, as well as potential improvements the agency can make to its analyses to better inform policy makers and the public about the impacts of proposed projects.

  • Opportunities for Valuing Climate Impacts in U.S. State Electricity Policy
    Report

    Opportunities for Valuing Climate Impacts in U.S. State Electricity Policy

    By Denise A. Grab, Iliana Paul, and Kate Fritz
    April 2, 2019

    With an absence of federal leadership on climate change, many states have worked to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on their own, often by incorporating a broader range of considerations into electricity policy. Our report assesses the potential to expand the valuation of climate damages in state electricity policy using Social Cost of Carbon metrics. We examine existing statutes and regulations in all 50 states to identify opportunities for valuing climate impacts around the country.

  • Sociopolitical Feedbacks and Climate Change
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Sociopolitical Feedbacks and Climate Change

    By Peter Howard and Michael A. Livermore
    March 6, 2019

    This article, published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review, investigates sociopolitical feedbacks in the economy-climate system. These feedbacks occur when climate change affects the social or political processes that determine mitigation or adaptation levels, which in turn affect future climate damages. Two possible feedbacks are an economic disruption pathway and a political disruption pathway. In both, climate damages earlier in time undermine mitigation and adaptation policies, which exacerbates future climate damages. Using data on participation in multilateral environmental agreements, the article explores the political disruption pathway.

  • Environmental Standards, Thresholds, and the Next Battleground of Climate Change Regulations
    Academic Article/Working Paper

    Environmental Standards, Thresholds, and the Next Battleground of Climate Change Regulations

    By Kimberly M. Castle and Richard L. Revesz
    February 15, 2019

    This article, published in the Minnesota Law Review, addresses a central battleground of the debate about the future of greenhouse gas regulations: the valuation of particulate matter reductions that accompany reductions in carbon dioxide emissions. The benefits from particulate matter reductions are substantial for climate change rules, accounting for almost one half of the quantified benefits of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. These benefits are also significant for regulations of other air pollutants, making this issue one of far-reaching importance for the future of environmental protection.

  • A Lower Bound
    Issue Brief

    A Lower Bound

    Why the Social Cost of Carbon Does Not Capture Critical Climate Damages and What That Means for Policymakers

    January 31, 2019

    The Social Cost of Carbon, developed by the Obama-era Interagency Working Group (IWG), is the best available tool for measuring the economic damages from greenhouse gas emissions. It has been used in analysis for over 100 federal regulations that affect greenhouse gas emissions, as well as by a number of states in electricity and climate policy. Still, many significant impacts identified by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are difficult to quantify and so have been omitted from the IWG SCC estimates. Impacts such as increased fire risk, slower economic growth, and large-scale migration are all unaccounted for, despite their potential to cause large economic losses. Our new issue brief discusses these omissions and other variables that will influence climate outcomes. We encourage policymakers to account for this likely underestimate by viewing the SCC as a lower bound for damages.