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Interactions Between State and Federal Climate Change Policies

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  • Goulder, Lawrence H.
  • Stavins, Robert Norman

Abstract

Federal action addressing climate change is likely to emerge either through new legislation or via the U.S. EPA’s authority under the Clean Air Act. The prospect of federal action raises important questions regarding the interconnections between federal efforts and state-level climate policy developments. In the presence of federal policies, to what extent will state efforts be cost-effective? How does the co-existence of state- and federal-level policies affect the ability of state efforts to achieve emissions reductions? This paper addresses these questions. We find that state-level policy in the presence of a federal policy can be beneficial or problematic, depending on the nature of the overlap between the two systems, the relative stringency of the efforts, and the types of policy instruments engaged. When the federal policy sets limits on aggregate emissions quantities, or allows manufacturers or facilities to average performance across states, the emission reductions accomplished by a subset of U.S. states may reduce pressure on the constraints posed by the federal policy, thereby freeing facilities or manufacturers to increase emissions in other states. This leads to serious “emissions leakage†and a loss of cost-effectiveness at the national level. In contrast, when the federal policy sets prices for emissions or does not allow manufactures to average performance across states, these difficulties are usually avoided. Even in circumstances involving problematic interactions, there may be other attractions of state-level climate policy. We evaluate a number of arguments that have been made to support state-level climate policy in the presence of federal policies, even when problematic interactions arise.

Suggested Citation

  • Goulder, Lawrence H. & Stavins, Robert Norman, 2010. "Interactions Between State and Federal Climate Change Policies," Scholarly Articles 4448886, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:4448886
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Elinor Ostrom, 2014. "A Polycentric Approach For Coping With Climate Change," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 15(1), pages 71-108, May.
    3. Stephen P. Holland & Jonathan E. Hughes & Christopher R. Knittel, 2009. "Greenhouse Gas Reductions under Low Carbon Fuel Standards?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 106-146, February.
    4. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams III, Roberton C. & Burtraw, Dallas, 1999. "The cost-effectiveness of alternative instruments for environmental protection in a second-best setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(3), pages 329-360, June.
    5. Goulder, Lawrence H. & Jacobsen, Mark R. & van Benthem, Arthur A., 2012. "Unintended consequences from nested state and federal regulations: The case of the Pavley greenhouse-gas-per-mile limits," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 187-207.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhang, Zhong Xiang, 2012. "Competitiveness and Leakage Concerns and Border Carbon Adjustments," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 6(3), pages 225-287, December.
    2. Holladay, J. Scott & Price, Michael K. & Wanamaker, Marianne, 2015. "The perverse impact of calling for energy conservation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 1-18.
    3. Arik Levinson, 2011. "Comment on "Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies"," NBER Chapters,in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, pages 122-125 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Stowe, Robert C & Stavins, Robert Norman & Chan, Gabriel Angelo & Sweeney, Richard Leonard, 2012. "The SO2 Allowance Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation," Scholarly Articles 8160721, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    5. Galarraga, Ibon & Abadie, Luis M. & Ansuategi, Alberto, 2013. "Efficiency, effectiveness and implementation feasibility of energy efficiency rebates: The “Renove” plan in Spain," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages 98-107.
    6. Lang, Corey & Okwelum, Edson, 2015. "The mitigating effect of strategic behavior on the net benefits of a direct load control program," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 141-148.
    7. Anandarajah, Gabrial & McDowall, Will, 2012. "What are the costs of Scotland's climate and renewable policies?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 773-783.
    8. Hannum, Christopher & Cutler, Harvey & Iverson, Terrence & Keyser, David, 2017. "Estimating the implied cost of carbon in future scenarios using a CGE model: The Case of Colorado," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 500-511.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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