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On the Meaning of Existence (and Power Plant Emissions)

Here at the EI blog, we don’t shy away from addressing the deep questions in energy and environmental economics. With this week’s blog, we tackle the very meaning of existence (with respect to power plants regulated under proposed greenhouse gas...

Posted December 17, 2014    

Cross-State Power Flows Complicate the Clean Power Plan

The release of the IPCC Synthesis Report earlier this month underscores the need for swift and aggressive action to combat climate change.  With the shifting control of Congress, answering that call becomes more of an uphill battle.Image...

Posted November 12, 2014    

The Multibillion Dollar Question: How to Spend Carbon Revenues?

Debates over carbon pricing policies tend to focus on the costs imposed on firms and households. When a carbon tax or cap and trade program is introduced, firms see energy-related operating costs rise, drivers pay (cents) more at the pump,...

Posted October 14, 2014    

Renewable Integration Challenges Create Demand Response Opportunities

The power grid is getting greener. The graph below summarizes EIA projections of U.S. non-hydro electricity generation under different assumptions about greenhouse gas regulations, fuel prices, and technology costs:  Source: http://www.eia...

Posted September 4, 2014    

Will Coal Exports Abroad Offset Hard-Won Carbon Reductions at Home?

When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, he set a goal of cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent of 2005 levels by 2020.  The graph below shows that we appear to be making progress towards meeting this target.  The...

Posted July 29, 2014    

Swapping Negawatts for Megawatts Under the EPA's Proposed Clean Power Plan

If you are embarking on a new weight loss plan, it typically makes sense to pursue a mixed strategy of diet and exercise. If you are working to get your finances under control, you should look for ways to increase your household earnings and reduce...

Posted June 25, 2014    

Chumps or Champs? California Leads on Climate

Governor Jerry Brown, speaking at a Giannini Foundation event last week, summarized California's dilemma with respect to climate change:“We're one percent of the (climate change) problem. We have to get other states and other nations on a similar...

Posted May 28, 2014    

Shipping Oil by Rail: A Modern-Day Problem of Social Cost

While environmental groups and other stakeholders have been working hard to delay – if not derail- major pipeline projects like Keystone, oil companies have been working hard to find alternative ways to get their crude oil to market:A single unit...

Posted April 15, 2014    

On the Inefficiency of Fuel Efficiency Standards

Imagine you have just been pulled over for exceeding the speed limit. The officer explains that the penalty for speeding decreases with engine size. Why? Because it is relatively more difficult for drivers of high performance cars to exercise...

Posted February 11, 2014    

Cap-and-Trade Throws a Wrench Into the Gears of Green Consumerism

Last week, Severin posted a great piece on household electricity consumption. Armed with a simple metering device and your energy bill, you can easily measure how your various household appliances affect your energy consumption and your pocketbook....

Posted January 8, 2014    

Natural Gas: Not All It's Fracked Up to Be?

Natural gas is being touted as a “game changer” and a “bridge to a low carbon economy.” It is an abundant, made-in-America energy source.  It is about half as carbon intensive as coal when burned.The figure below suggests that a natural gas...

Posted December 10, 2013    

Power Plant Regulations: Much Ado About Nothing?

“Cutting carbon pollution from power plants” is the first item on President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan.  The first milestone in this effort involves setting carbon dioxide emissions standards for new power plants. Last week, EPA...

Posted October 9, 2013