China and the EU took important steps forward this week.
This week has seen some big climate moves on opposite sides of the world. The EU has proposed a major new climate plan. Meanwhile, China is ready to go live with its emissions trading system. The U.S. is at risk of being left behind. The EU’s proposal is impressive. The goal is to cut net …CONTINUE READING
After much travail, the state has finally put a price on carbon.
The Washington state legislature passed a historic climate change bill on April 24. The bill requires a 95% cut in carbon emissions by 2050. After much travail, the state has finally managed to put a price on carbon by adopting a cap-and-trade system. With the decision of additional states to join the east coast RGGI …CONTINUE READING
Are the two in conflict? What should we make of the attacks on Mary Nichols?
Mary Nichols, the frontrunner to head EPA, was knocked out of contention earlier this week. She would have been a formidable choice to implement Biden’s climate policies. For that reason, it wasn’t clear whether she would have the votes to get through the narrowly divided Senate. But she was ultimately taken down by the fierce …CONTINUE READING
It’s getting harder for the U.S. to use Chinese inaction as an excuse.
China’s emissions trading program is slowly forward toward implementation. It’s by no means a perfect program, but it should result in significant emissions reductions. The Chinese program has some features that make it less cost-effective. Nonetheless, researchers at RFF concluded that the climate benefits will be three times the cost of emission reductions. They didn’t …CONTINUE READING
Pricing carbon may not work the way economists thought.
In theory, pricing carbon should incentivize emissions reductions. In reality, it is unclear to what extent that takes place unless the carbon price is very high. This is not to say that pricing carbon is useless, but the main benefits may take different forms. Basically, there are two ways of putting a price on carbon. …CONTINUE READING
How is California fighting climate change? Let me count the ways.
In his worst dreams, Scott Pruitt must find himself surrounded by solar panels and windmills, pursued by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator himself, who has returned from the future to stop him before he can doom the planet. When he awakes, he realizes to his relief that he’s safe in bed well outside the borders of …CONTINUE READING
Canada is setting a great example to its southern neighbor.
Despite our geographic proximity and close economic ties, Canada doesn’t get a lot of press attention in the U.S. But unknown to many, Canada has been taking aggressive steps forward in climate policy. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected Trump’s decision in no uncertain terms: We are deeply disappointed that the United States federal government has …CONTINUE READING
Some day the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt era will end. We need to be ready to move forward.
Fighting the Trump/Ryan/Pruitt assault on environmental protection necessarily absorbs a huge amount of our energy. But eventually, the current conservative stranglehold on the national government will come to an end. Sooner or later, the government will once again come into more environmentally friendly hands. When that happens, we need to have practical, detailed proposals ready …CONTINUE READING
Quite a lot, as it turns out. But stronger coordination is needed.
The three West Coast states have a lot in common, including strong commitments to address climate change. They are all taking action on this front, but so far coordination efforts seem weak. Given the situation in D.C., it would make sense for these states to go further in terms of making a collective effort. It …CONTINUE READING
Republicans hate conventional regulations. But they’ve given up on offering alternatives. Here’s why.
There’s one thing we all know: the Republican Party hates regulation. Republicans want to roll back some key regulations and make it a lot harder to pass new ones. But there’s a curious silence about alternatives to regulation. For decades, conservative Republicans have denounced “command and control” regulations by EPA and other agencies. So why don’t they …CONTINUE READING