Federal Climate Policy

Equity Weighting: A Brief Introduction

An unfamiliar concept for most that just might make cost-benefit analysis more progressive.

A technique called equity weighting could make regulation more progressive. Implementing this technique may be harder than it sounds, however, for a variety of practical, legal, and political reasons. Agencies might do best to use equity weighting as a way to check their regulatory decisions rather than as their main decision tool.

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Whose Interests Count? And How Much?

Whether to consider harms to foreign countries and future generations is controversial. So is how much weight to give harm to the poor.

Should regulators take into account harm to people in other countries? What about harm to future generations? Should we give special attention when the disadvantaged are harmed? These questions are central to climate policy and some other important environmental issues. I’ll use cost-benefit analysis as a framework for discussing these issues. You probably don’t need …

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An Abundance Research Agenda

If we need to build lots of things fast to address climate and housing crises, how will we do that?

There’s been a lot of buzz about this column by Ezra Klein in the New York Times.  Klein’s basic argument: We need to do a lot of infrastructure and other development projects to make the world a better place.  For example, we’ll need to build power lines and renewable projects to address climate change.  But …

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Will public power advance decarbonization?

Increasing public control of energy systems may not facilitate decarbonization

Over the past few years, there has been a push in both Europe and the United States for a “Green New Deal” in which decarbonization efforts would be pushed by aggressive, direct government investments in clean energy technology and infrastructure.  But in much of the United States and in Europe, large portions of the electricity …

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After the Court Rules: Gaming out Responses to a Cutback in EPA Authority

The Supreme Court is almost certain to cut back on EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. What then?

In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court is reviewing Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) itself no longer has any practical relevance, but there’s every reason to predict the Court will strike it down anyway. The ruling will also restrict EPA’s future options. The big question is what the Biden Administration …

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Taking the Court’s Temperature on Global Warming

A case on the shadow docket may shed light on the Court’s direction.

Court watchers and environmentalists are waiting with bated breath for the Supreme Court to rule on West Virginia v. EPA, the Court’s most important climate change case in a generation. The issue in that case is what, if anything, EPA can do to regulate carbon emissions from power plants and factories. Yesterday, conservative states asked …

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Regan Hits His Stride

Under Administrator Michael Regan, the Biden EPA is beginning to churn out important new regulatory proposals.

The Trump Administration left a trail of regulatory destruction behind it. Cleaning up the mess and issuing new regulations is Priority #1 for the Biden Administration. Under EPA head Michael Regan, the effort is beginning to pick up steam. EPA has begun the year with several major new regulatory efforts.  No one of them is …

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Pollution Control as Climate Policy

Tightening air quality standards will also reduce carbon emissions.

The Biden Administration is slowly grinding away at an important regulatory task: reconsidering the air quality standards for particulates and ozone.  Setting those standards is an arduous and time-consuming process, requiring consideration of reams of technical data. For instance, a preliminary staff report on fine particulates (PM2.5) is over 600 pages long. When the process …

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Future Shock

The latest IPCC report contains crucial new information about how soon and how bad climate impacts will be.

When the IPCC released its latest climate science report a few weeks ago, many commentators observed that the report should heighten our sense of urgency about climate action. Most of that discussion was at a very general level. It’s worth taking a closer look at some key findings and their policy implications. Here, I want …

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Major Questions About Today’s Big Climate Case

Here’s what you need to know about today’s oral argument in W. Va. v. EPA

The Supreme Court is hearing oral argument this morning in West Virginia v. EPA. The case is a challenge by the coal industry and coal states to EPA’s power to limit carbon emissions by power plants. Here’s what to look for today. Q: What is the case about? A: In practical terms, the question is what EPA …

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