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Policy Monitor--Greenhouse Gas Regulation under the Clean Air Act: A Guide for Economists

  • Dallas Burtraw
  • Art Fraas
  • Nathan Richardson
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    Until recently, most attention to U.S. climate policy has focused on legislative efforts to introduce a price on carbon through cap and trade. In the absence of such legislation, the Clean Air Act is a potentially effective vehicle for achieving reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Decisions regarding existing stationary sources will have the greatest effect on emissions reductions. Although the magnitude of reductions is uncertain, it is plausible that a 10 percent reduction in GHG emissions from 2005 levels could be achieved at moderate costs by 2020. This is comparable to domestic emissions reductions that would have been achieved under the Waxman--Markey legislation. These measures do not include the switching of fuels, which could yield further reductions. The ultimate cost of regulation under the Act hinges on the stringency of standards and the flexibility allowed. A broad-based tradable performance standard is legally plausible and would provide incentives comparable to the proposed legislation, at least in the near term. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/reep/rer009
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    Article provided by Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

    Volume (Year): 5 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
    Pages: 293-313

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:5:y:2011:i:2:p:293-313
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    1. Dallas Burtraw & William Shobe, 2008. "State and Local Climate Policy under a National Emissions Floor," Working Papers 2008-05, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
    2. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
    3. Carolyn Fischer & Alan K. Fox, 2007. "Output-Based Allocation of Emissions Permits for Mitigating Tax and Trade Interactions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 83(4), pages 575-599.
    4. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C., 1999. "A second-best evaluation of eight policy instruments to reduce carbon emissions," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 347-373, August.
    5. Burtraw, Dallas & Kahn, Danny & Palmer, Karen, 2006. "CO2 Allowance Allocation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Effect on Electricity Investors," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 79-90, March.
    6. Fischer, Carolyn, 2003. "Combining Rate-Based and Cap-and-Trade Emissions Policies," Discussion Papers dp-03-32, Resources For the Future.
    7. Spulber, Daniel F., 1985. "Effluent regulation and long-run optimality," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 103-116, June.
    8. Burtraw, Dallas & Sweeney, Richard & Walls, Margaret, 2009. "The Incidence of U.S. Climate Policy: Alternative Uses of Revenues from a Cap-and-Trade Auction," Discussion Papers dp-09-17-rev, Resources For the Future.
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