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The demand for environmental quality in driving transitions to low-polluting energy sources

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  • Fouquet, Roger

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to understand the long run demand for energy-related environmental quality, its influence on legislation and on transitions to low polluting energy sources. It presents a series of episodes in British history where a demand for improvements in energy-related environmental quality existed. These episodes helped to identify a few cases where markets partially drove transitions to low polluting energy sources, in specific economic conditions. More generally, they showed that, when pushed, governments will introduce environmental legislation, although it tends to be weak and poorly enforced. In the case of air pollution, strong and binding legislation occurred roughly one hundred years later than was socially optimal. Based on this evidence, for a transition to a low carbon economy, governments will probably need to introduce focussed and binding legislation, and this cannot be expected without strong and sustained demand for climate stability. This demand will need to be spearheaded by pressure groups to introduce legislation, to enforce it and to avoid it being over-turned by future governments.

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  • Fouquet, Roger, 2012. "The demand for environmental quality in driving transitions to low-polluting energy sources," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 138-149.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:50:y:2012:i:c:p:138-149
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2012.04.068
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    Cited by:

    1. Fouquet, Roger, 2016. "Lessons from energy history for climate policy: technological change, demand and economic development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67785, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. W. Walker Hanlon, 2016. "Coal Smoke and the Costs of the Industrial Revolution," NBER Working Papers 22921, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. W. Walker Hanlon, 2015. "Pollution and Mortality in the 19th Century," NBER Working Papers 21647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Csereklyei, Zsuzsanna & Thurner, Paul W. & Langer, Johannes & Küchenhoff, Helmut, 2017. "Energy paths in the European Union: A model-based clustering approach," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 442-457.
    5. Marchiori, Carmen & Dietz, Simon & Tavoni, Alessandro, 2017. "Domestic politics and the formation of international environmental agreements," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 115-131.
    6. Marchiori, Carmen & Dietz, Simon & Tavoni, Alessandro, 2017. "Domestic politics and the formation of international environmental agreements," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 67923, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Roger Fouquet, 2015. "Lessons from energy history for climate policy," GRI Working Papers 209, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

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