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Energy Conservation in the United States: Understanding its Role in Climate Policy

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  • Gilbert E. Metcalf

Abstract

Efforts to reduce carbon emissions significantly will require considerable improvements in energy intensity, the ratio of energy consumption to economic activity. Improvements in energy intensity over the past thirty years suggest great possibilities for energy conservation: current annual energy consumption avoided due to declines in energy intensity since 1970 substantially exceed current annual domestic energy supply. While historic improvements in energy intensity suggest great scope for energy conservation in the future, I argue that optimistic estimates of avoided energy costs due to energy conservation are likely biased downward. I then analyze a data set on energy intensity in the United States at the state level between 1970 and 2001 to disentangle the key elements of energy efficiency and economic activity that drive changes in energy intensity.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12272.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12272

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Cited by:
  1. Chintrakarn, Pandej & Millimet, Daniel, 2006. "Subnational Trade Flows and State-Level Energy Intensity," Departmental Working Papers 0601, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
  2. Transue, Morghan & Felder, Frank A., 2010. "Comparison of energy efficiency incentive programs: Rebates and white certificates," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 103-111, June.
  3. Okajima, Shigeharu & Okajima, Hiroko, 2013. "Analysis of energy intensity in Japan," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 574-586.
  4. Gilbert E. Meltcalf, 2007. "Federal Tax Policy towards Energy," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 21, pages 145-184 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Arik Levinson, 2007. "Technology, International Trade, and Pollution from U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers gueconwpa~07-07-05, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2008. "Using Tax Expenditures to Achieve Energy Policy Goals," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 90-94, May.
  7. Shahiduzzaman, Md. & Alam, Khorshed, 2013. "Changes in energy efficiency in Australia: A decomposition of aggregate energy intensity using logarithmic mean Divisia approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 341-351.

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