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Robert Stavins
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Robert N. Stavins is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, and Director of Graduate Studies for the Doctoral Program in Public Policy and the Doctoral Program in Political Economy and Government, and Co-Chair of the Harvard Business School-Kennedy School Joint Degree Programs, and director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements. He is a University Fellow of Resources for the Future, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Editor of the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, and a Member of: the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future, the Board of Academic Advisors of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, the Board of Directors of the Robert and Renée Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, the Editorial Boards of Resource and Energy Economics, Environmental Economics Abstracts, Environmental Law and Policy Abstracts, B.E. Journals of Economic Analysis & Policy, and Economic Issues. He is also an editor of the Journal of Wine Economics. Professor Stavins' research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy, including examinations of: market-based policy instruments; regulatory impact analysis; innovation and diffusion of pollution-control technologies; environmental benefit valuation; policy instrument choice under uncertainty; competitiveness effects of regulation; depletion of forested wetlands; political economy of policy instrument choice; and costs of carbon sequestration.

Harvard Environmental Economics Program


Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements

Entries by Robert Stavins

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

(5) Comments | Posted August 8, 2014 | 6:27 PM

­On June 2, the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited proposed regulation to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing sources in the electricity-generating sector. The regulatory (rule) proposal calls for cutting CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below 2005...

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EPA's Proposed Greenhouse Gas Regulation: Why Are Conservatives Attacking Its Market-Based Options?

(1) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 5:00 PM

This week, the Obama administration's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its long-awaited proposed regulation to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing sources in the electricity-generating sector. The regulatory (rule) proposal calls for cutting CO2 emissions from the power sector by 30 percent below...

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Understanding the IPCC: An Important Follow-Up

(4) Comments | Posted May 4, 2014 | 8:37 PM

A week ago, I wrote at this blog about my recent frustrations with the government approval process of one part of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) Working Group III (WG3) report, namely...

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Is the IPCC Government Approval Process Broken?

(4) Comments | Posted April 27, 2014 | 7:52 PM

Over the past five years, I have dedicated an immense amount of time and effort to serving as the Co-Coordinating Lead Author (CLA) of Chapter 13, "International Cooperation: Agreements and Instruments," of Working Group III (Mitigation) of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)....

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Can There Be a Positive Prognosis for Climate Negotiations?

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2014 | 8:56 PM

I'm writing this brief essay on board my flight to the USA from Europe (where I participated in a workshop at the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) in Mannheim, Germany). It was an interesting event, the substance of which (the "energy-efficiency paradox") I will write about in...

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

(5) Comments | Posted January 18, 2014 | 6:09 PM

The European Union is considering scrapping the use of binding renewable energy targets as part of its global climate change policy mix that will extend action from 2020 to 2030. The Financial Times reported that this move — presumably due to concerns over high European energy costs during...

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The Warsaw Climate Negotiations, and Reason for Cautious Optimism

(0) Comments | Posted January 10, 2014 | 5:38 PM

The Nineteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-19) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came to a close in Warsaw, Poland, on Saturday, November 23rd, after what has become the norm — several all-night sessions culminating in last-minute negotiations that featured...

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

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 2:44 PM

A little more than two weeks ago, while some 195 nations prepared to meet in Doha, Qatar, for the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties (COP-18) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in an ongoing effort to hammer out a durable...

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

(6) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 8:46 PM

The recent demise of serious political consideration of an economy-wide U.S. CO2 cap-and-trade system and the even more recent resurgence in interest among policy wonks in a U.S. carbon tax should prompt reflection on where we've been, where we are, and where we may be going.

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A Challenge for Climate Negotiators, and an Opportunity for Scholars

(1) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 9:14 PM

As I have written in many previous essays at this blog, the challenges standing in the way of an effective international climate change agreement are numerous and severe. It is also true that the prospects for a truly meaningful deal may be better now than at any time in the...

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Two Notable Events Prompt Examination of an Important Property of Cap-and-Trade

(1) Comments | Posted July 24, 2012 | 1:47 PM

In December of 2010, a group of economists and legal scholars gathered at the University of Chicago to celebrate two notable events. One was the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Ronald Coase's The Problem of Social Cost (Coase 1960). The other was Professor...

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Can Market Forces Really Be Employed to Address Climate Change?

(3) Comments | Posted May 29, 2012 | 5:24 PM

Debate continues in the United States, Europe and throughout the world about whether the forces of the marketplace can be harnessed in the interest of environmental protection, in particular, to address the threat of global climate change. In an essay that appears in the Spring 2012 issue of

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

(18) Comments | Posted April 28, 2012 | 3:09 PM

Some press accounts and various advocates have labeled the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as near "the brink of failure" because of the recent trend of very low auction prices. Likewise, commentators have recently characterized the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as...

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If the Durban Platform Opened a Window, Will India and China Close It?

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2012 | 8:50 PM

In my Dec. 12 essay, following the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which adjourned Dec. 11, 2011, I offered my assessment of the Durban climate negotiations by taking note of three...

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Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation

(0) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 6:39 PM

In 2009, the U.S. Congress considered but ultimately failed to enact legislation aimed at limiting U.S. greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The bill under consideration at that time, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, was the last in a series considered over several years. Sponsored...

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Economics of the Environment

(2) Comments | Posted January 30, 2012 | 8:08 PM

The Sixth Edition of Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings has just been published by W. W. Norton & Company of New York and London. Through five previous editions, Economics of the Environment has served as a valuable supplement to environmental economics texts and...

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The Platform Opens a Window: An Unambiguous Consequence of the Durban Climate Talks

(7) Comments | Posted January 1, 2012 | 4:19 PM

In my previous essay -- following the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which adjourned on December 11, 2011 -- I offered my assessment of the Durban climate negotiations, addressing the frequently-posed question of...

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Assessing the Climate Talks -- Did Durban Succeed?

(16) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 8:21 PM

The 17th Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adjourned on Sunday, a day and a half after its scheduled close, and in the process once again pulled a rabbit out of the hat by saving the talks...

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Can the Durban Climate Negotiations Succeed?

(2) Comments | Posted November 28, 2011 | 6:06 PM

Two weeks of international climate negotiations begin today in Durban, South Africa. These are the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The key challenge at this point is to maintain the process of building...

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The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon

(12) Comments | Posted November 1, 2011 | 2:31 PM

Friday, October 21st was a significant day for climate change policy worldwide and for the use of market-based approaches to environmental protection, but it went largely unnoticed across the country and around the world, outside, that is, of the State of California. On that day, the California Air...

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