Emissions Trading with Telecommuting Credits: Regulatory Background and Institutional Barriers
The 1999 National Telecommuting and Air Quality Act created pilot programs in five metropolitan areas in the United States to examine whether a particular type of economic incentive, tradable emissions credits created from telecommuting, represents a viable strategy for reducing vehicle miles traveled and improving air quality (H.R. 2094, 2000). Under the ecommute program, companies could generate emissions credits by reducing the vehicle miles traveled (VMT) of their workforce through telework programs. They would then be able to sell the credits to firms that needed the reductions to comply with air quality regulations. This paper provides some context for evaluating whether such a trading scheme represents a feasible approach to reducing mobile source emissions and promoting telecommuting and reviews the limited experience with mobile source emission trading programs. From a regulatory perspective, the most substantial drawback to such a program is its questionable environmental integrity, which is a result of difficulties in establishing sufficiently rigorous quantification protocols to measure accurately the emission reductions from telecommuting. Perhaps more importantly, such a program is not likely to be cost-effective; the emissions reductions from a single telecommuter are extremely small, meaning that any trading program will have relatively high transaction costs to environmental benefits. A comparison of estimated emission reductions from the five pilot cities with historical and projected emission credit and allowance prices indicates that the yearly revenue per participant is likely to be well under $100, substantially below what firms participating in the program said would be an adequate incentive to induce a substantial increase in telecommuting. This discussion paper is the final paper in a series of four on telecommuting published in by RFF in December 2004. In discussion paper 04-42, Walls and Nelson analyze data from five pilot cities enrolled in the “ecommute” program. In 04-43 Safirova and Walls examine the 2002 Telework survey conducted in California and, in 04-44, these authors review the empirical literature on telecommuting with a focus on trip reduction impacts. The studies by RFF are part of a larger report on the ecommute program completed by the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More information about the overall project can be found on the ecommute/GETF website: http://www.ecommute.net/program/.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Pizer, William & Kruger, Joseph, 2004. "The EU Emissions Trading Directive: Opportunities and Potential Pitfalls," Discussion Papers dp-04-24, Resources For the Future.
- Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen, 2003. "The Paparazzi Take a Look at a Living Legend: The SO2 Cap-and-Trade Program for Power Plants in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-03-15, Resources For the Future.
- Safirova, Elena & Gillingham, Kenneth & Houde, Sébastien, 2007.
"Measuring marginal congestion costs of urban transportation: Do networks matter?,"
Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice,
Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 734-749, October.
- Safirova, Elena & Gillingham, Kenneth, 2003. "Measuring Marginal Congestion Costs of Urban Transportation: Do Networks Matter?," Discussion Papers dp-03-56, Resources For the Future.
- Walls, Margaret & Nelson, Per-Kristian, 2004. "Telecommuting and Emissions Reductions: Evaluating Results from the ecommute Program," Discussion Papers dp-04-42, Resources For the Future.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-04-45. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Webmaster)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.