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Too Good to Be True? An Examination of Three Economic Assessments of California Climate Change Policy

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  • Stavins, Robert

    (Harvard U and Resources for the Future)

  • Jaffe, Judson

    (Analysis Group, Inc)

  • Schatski, Todd

Abstract

California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 limits California’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2020 to their 1990 level. In 2006, three studies were released indicating that California can meet its 2020 target at no net economic cost — raising questions about whether opportunities truly exist to substantially reduce emissions at no cost, or whether studies reaching such conclusions may simply severely underestimate costs. This paper provides an evaluation of these three California studies. We find that although opportunities may exist for some no-cost emission reductions, these studies substantially underestimate the cost of meeting California’s 2020 target by omitting important components of the costs of emission reduction efforts and by overestimating offsetting savings that some of those efforts yield through improved energy efficiency. In some cases, the studies focus on the costs of particular actions to reduce emissions, but fail to consider the effectiveness and costs of policies that would be necessary to bring about such actions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp07-016.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp07-016

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  1. David S. Loughran and Jonathan Kulick, 2004. "Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency in the United States," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 19-44.
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  3. Stavins, Robert & Jaffe, Adam & Newell, Richard, 2004. "A Tale of Two Market Failures: Technology and Environmental Policy," Discussion Papers dp-04-38, Resources For the Future.
  4. Lubowski, Ruben N. & Plantinga, Andrew J. & Stavins, Robert N., 2006. "Land-use change and carbon sinks: Econometric estimation of the carbon sequestration supply function," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 135-152, March.
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  9. Adam B. Jaffe & Richard G. Newell & Robert N. Stavins, 2000. "Technological Change and the Environment," NBER Working Papers 7970, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Anderson, Soren T. & Newell, Richard G., 2004. "Information programs for technology adoption: the case of energy-efficiency audits," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 27-50, March.
  11. Jaffe, Judson & Stavins, Robert N., 2004. "The Value of Formal Quantitative Assessment of Uncertainty in Regulatory Analysis," Working paper 137, Regulation2point0.
  12. Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1995. "Energy tax credits and residential conservation investment: Evidence from panel data," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 201-217, June.
  13. repec:reg:rpubli:137 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Brown, Marilyn A., 2001. "Market failures and barriers as a basis for clean energy policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(14), pages 1197-1207, November.
  15. Paul L. Joskow, 2001. "California's Electricity Crisis," NBER Working Papers 8442, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Gilbert E. Metcalf & Donald Rosenthal, 1995. "The “new” view of investment decisions and public policy analysis: An application to green lights and cold refrigerators," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 517-531.
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Cited by:
  1. Dieter Schmidtchen & Christian Koboldt & Jenny Monheim & Birgit Will & Georg Haas, . "The Internalisation of External Costs in Transport: From the Polluter Pays to the Cheapest Cost Avoider Principle," German Working Papers in Law and Economics 2008-1-1214, Berkeley Electronic Press.

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