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Energy Economics

The Future Role of Economics in the IPCC

Robert Stavins | Posted 04.19.2016 | Green
Robert Stavins

Growing inefficiencies and other limitations have made the IPCC an increasingly problematic forum for qualified scholars. This has been particularly true with regard to expertise from economics.

The Papal Encyclical and Climate Change Policy

Robert Stavins | Posted 11.02.2015 | Green
Robert Stavins

The Pope is to be commended for taking global climate change seriously, and for drawing more world attention to the issue. There is much about the encyclical that is commendable, but where it drifts into matters of public policy, I fear that it is -- unfortunately -- not helpful.

A Key Moment Is Coming for the IPCC's Future

Robert Stavins | Posted 07.13.2015 | Green
Robert Stavins

Now is an important moment to think carefully about the path ahead for the much-maligned and much-celebrated IPCC, because in early October of this year, the 195 member countries of the IPCC will meet in plenary in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to elect a new Chair.

Crude Oil Prices, Climate Change, and Global Welfare

Robert Stavins | Posted 06.03.2016 | Business
Robert Stavins

With gasoline prices relatively low — and natural gas supplies holding down electricity prices, at least in the United States — there has never been a better time to introduce progressive climate policies in the form of carbon pricing. Unfortunately, none of us should hold our breath waiting for that to happen.

Assessing the Energy-Efficiency Gap

Robert Stavins | Posted 06.02.2016 | Green
Robert Stavins

Global energy consumption is on a path to grow 30-50 percent over the next 25 years, bringing with it, in many countries, increased local air pollution, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and oil consumption, as well as higher energy prices.

When Reasonable Policy Discussions Become Unreasonable Personal Attacks

Robert Stavins | Posted 06.02.2016 | Green
Robert Stavins

It is ironic, offensive, and sad that anyone would suggest that my support of Harvard's divestment position is somehow tied to my outside engagements. That suggestion -- and the recent threats I have received -- defies logic and is contradicted by the record.

What to Expect at COP-20 in Lima

Robert Stavins | Posted 06.01.2016 | Green
Robert Stavins

On Monday, December 1, the Twentieth Conference of the Parties (COP-20) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) commence...

The Final Stage of IPCC AR5 -- Last Week's Outcome in Copenhagen

Robert Stavins | Posted 05.12.2016 | Green
Robert Stavins

First of all, here's the simplest headline statement: Things improved significantly at the Synthesis Report (SYR) government approval sessions in Copenhagen last week, but in saying this, I am only referring to the material for which I've been responsible. Let me explain.

What Are the Benefits and Costs of EPA's Proposed CO2 Regulation?

Robert Stavins | Posted 10.08.2014 | Green
Robert Stavins

The Obama Administration's proposed regulation of existing power-sector sources of CO2 has the potential to be cost-effective, and if you accept these numbers, it can also be welfare-enhancing, if not welfare-maximizing.

Understanding the IPCC: An Important Follow-Up

Robert Stavins | Posted 07.04.2014 | Green
Robert Stavins

My serious concerns about the effects of the government approval process on one section of the SPM should be considered in the much larger context of what is an exceptionally valuable scientific resource for those concerned with climate change.

Is the IPCC Government Approval Process Broken?

Robert Stavins | Posted 06.27.2014 | Green
Robert Stavins

Several of the CLAs present with me in Berlin commented that given the nature and outcome of the week, the resulting document should probably be called the 'summary by policymakers,' rather than the 'summary for policymakers.'

Can There Be a Positive Prognosis for Climate Negotiations?

Robert Stavins | Posted 05.30.2014 | Green
Robert Stavins

International negotiations continued under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The two most important countries in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions -- China and the U.S. -- engaged in a war of words.

The Warsaw Climate Negotiations, and Reason for Cautious Optimism

Robert Stavins | Posted 03.12.2014 | Green
Robert Stavins

The Warsaw meetings must be judged to be at least a modest success -- the baton was not dropped, rather it was passed successfully in this long relay race of negotiations.

While International Climate Negotiations Continue, the World's Ninth Largest Economy Takes an Important Step Forward

Robert Stavins | Posted 02.04.2013 | Green
Robert Stavins

I'm referring to the CO2 cap-and-trade allowance auction held by the State of California. The fact that the auction ran smoothly and compliance entities and others put their money down is one important step in establishing the program's credibility.

Cap-and-Trade, Carbon Taxes, and My Neighbor's Lovely Lawn

Robert Stavins | Posted 05.15.2013 | Green
Robert Stavins

In 1998 and for the subsequent eight years or so, I remained agnostic regarding what I viewed as the trade-offs between cap-and-trade and carbon taxes. What happened to change that? Three words: The Hamilton Project.

Low Prices a Problem? Making Sense of Misleading Talk About Cap-and-Trade in Europe and the USA

Robert Stavins | Posted 04.28.2012 | Green
Robert Stavins

Since when are low prices considered to be a problem? To understand what's going on, we need to remind ourselves of the purpose (and promise) of a cap-and-trade regime, and then look at what's been happening in the respective markets.

Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation

Robert Stavins | Posted 04.08.2012 | Green
Robert Stavins

In 2009, the U.S. Congress considered but ultimately failed to enact legislation aimed at limiting U.S. greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The bill unde...

Economics of the Environment

Robert Stavins | Posted 03.31.2012 | Green
Robert Stavins

The Sixth Edition of Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings has just been published by W. W. Norton & Company of New York and London. Throug...

Can the Durban Climate Negotiations Succeed?

Robert Stavins | Posted 01.28.2012 | Green
Robert Stavins

Two weeks of international climate negotiations begin today in Durban, South Africa. These are the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of ...

The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon

Robert Stavins | Posted 01.01.2012 | Green
Robert Stavins

In the U.S., political polarization has decimated what had long been the key political constituency in the Congress for environmental action, namely, the middle, including both moderate Republicans and moderate Democrats.

A Golden Opportunity to Please Conservatives and Liberals Alike

Robert Stavins | Posted 09.26.2011 | Green
Robert Stavins

Market-based approaches to environmental protection should be lauded, not condemned, by political leaders, no matter what their party affiliation. Otherwise, there will be severe and perverse long-term consequences for the economy.

States Wrestle With Diversifying Energy Portfolios

Green Inc. | Kate Galbraith | Posted 05.25.2011 | Green

State renewable energy targets have an extraordinary number of variations - and sometimes loopholes. Take the example of California, which is workin...

Bjork Battles Icelandic Aluminum Industry

Green Inc. | James Kanter | Posted 05.25.2011 | Green

The hugely popular Icelandic singer Björk has gone into battle with another of the island's big exports - aluminum. Björk says the aluminum product...

Alternative Energy Faces New Challenges

Green Inc. | Clifford Krauss | Posted 05.25.2011 | Green

For all the support that the presidential candidates are expressing for renewable energy, alternative energies like wind and solar are facing big new ...