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Environmental Economics

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 06.03.2015 | 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 06.03.2015 | 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 06.02.2015 | 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 06.03.2015 | 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 05.18.2015 | 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.

The UN Climate Summit and a Key Issue for the 2015 Paris Agreement

Robert Stavins | Posted 05.04.2015 | Green
Robert Stavins

The following post was originally published on Sept. 27, 2014, on Robert Stavins' personal blog. World leaders converged at the United Nations in New...

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.

You Are Already Paying a Price On Carbon

Keith Gaby | Posted 07.13.2014 | Green
Keith Gaby

When something is "free", we end up paying the cost somewhere else in the system.

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.

Will Europe Scrap Its Renewables Target? That Would Be Good News for the Economy and for the Environment

Robert Stavins | Posted 03.20.2014 | Green
Robert Stavins

Without the renewables mandate, the cap being planned for the EU ETS will be achieved at lower cost and will foster greater incentives for climate-friendly technological change.

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.

Solar Diamond in the Rough

Edward Flattau | Posted 01.25.2014 | Green
Edward Flattau

My family had a fleeting chance to join the ranks of the super-rich. The year was 1933 in the midst of the Depression and my father was a young lawyer...

The Hidden Costs Of Environmentally-Damaging Businesses

Reuters | Posted 06.15.2013 | Green

OSLO, April 15 (Reuters) - Coal-fired power generation in Asia and cattle ranching in South America are the most damaging businesses for nature with...

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.

A Challenge for Climate Negotiators, and an Opportunity for Scholars

Robert Stavins | Posted 11.04.2012 | Green
Robert Stavins

The negotiating teams are now tasked under the Durban Platform with identifying a new comprehensive policy architecture. The negotiators are therefore hungry for new ideas, in particular for outside-the-box thinking.

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.

Carbon Canopy: A Model for Solving Problems by Protecting Rather Than Destroying Our Natural Resources

Robert J. Cabin | Posted 05.01.2012 | Green
Robert J. Cabin

The Carbon Canopy is developing markets that advance forest preservation and sustainable management by compensating landowners for the environmental benefits created by healthy forests.

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.