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It’s Time to Refocus California's Climate Strategy

You know this already, but let’s review:Climate change is a global emissions problem.California produces about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.Over the next few decades, the majority of emissions will come from developing countries.If we...

Posted April 8, 2014    

In Defense of Picking Winners

Virtually all economists working on climate change agree that we should price GHG emissions.  Doing so creates an incentive to reduce emissions without the government directing specific technology adoptions or activity changes, that is, without...

Posted March 4, 2014    

What Wood Smoke has Taught Me About Fighting Climate Change

While much of the U.S. has been dealing with severe winter weather, California is experiencing a record dry spell.  The clear skies have also brought some cold nights and, with them, wood smoke.  What I’ve noticed in my neighborhood is...

Posted February 4, 2014    

Understanding Energy Usage Starts at Home

Since Catherine and Max have written blog posts about their home heating, I thought I’d start the year with my own, equally geeky, piece on electricity use at home.Electricity is probably the least salient thing we consume. When we are buying...

Posted January 6, 2014    

Is Demonizing "Big Carbon" a Strategy or a Copout?

Are we really being tricked, bullied or seduced into burning fossil fuels?  That seems to be the message behind two arguments made recently by prominent advocates for climate action: we should blame the producers of fossil fuels for the failure...

Posted December 17, 2013    

Rate Design Wars: The Sound of Utilities Taking Residential PV Seriously

Imagine walking into your supermarket with a bag of zucchini from your garden and saying that you’d like to trade them straight up for an equal quantity of zucchini next month.The store manager would explain that they aren’t in the business of...

Posted November 14, 2013    

California's Cap-and-Trade Market Still Needs a Price Ceiling

Back in May, I blogged about the problem of low GHG allowance prices in the EU-ETS.  I explained the sound reasons for having both a price floor and a price ceiling in any allowance market where science doesn’t dictate a single do-or-die target...

Posted October 1, 2013    

Learning and Forgetting the Wisdom of Coase

I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 1985 when our downsizing department library put a stack of old journals in the hallway for disposal.  Walking by the pile, I spotted the 1960 Journal of Law and Economics in which...

Posted September 10, 2013    

Cleantech: Bad Incentives For Green Choices

Sure, I’d like to see a tax on gasoline that reflects its greenhouse gases emissions.  If we can’t or won’t do that, then maybe subsidies for electric vehicles can imperfectly address some of the same goals.  If not that, how about free EV...

Posted July 9, 2013    

Pandora's Promises - Kept and Unkept: Examining the Nuclear Documentary

On Saturday, I saw Pandora’s Promise – the new film promoting nuclear power largely through interviews with environmentalists who have embraced it — and I participated in a post-screening discussion with Michael Shellenberger of The Breakthrough...

Posted June 21, 2013    

California Solar Energy Initiative Is Ending: What Has It Left Behind?

Nearly all the money has been spent, and the California Solar Initiative is winding down.  The direct CSI subsidy for installing PV panels on your house, which started at $2.50 per watt (of installed peak capacity) is now just $0.20 per watt....

Posted June 18, 2013