IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/rff/dpaper/dp-08-13-rev.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Evaluating Voluntary Climate Programs in the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Pizer, William A.
  • Morgenstern, Richard

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Shih, Jhih-Shyang

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

Despite serving as the principal basis of U.S. climate policy over the past two decades, corporate voluntary environmental programs have been subject to quite limited evaluation. The self-selection of participants—an essential element of such initiatives—poses particular challenges to researchers because the decision to participate may not be random and, in fact, may be correlated with the outcomes. The present study is designed to overcome these problems by gauging the environmental effectiveness of two early voluntary climate change programs with established track records, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Wise program and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program, or 1605(b). Both programs provide quite flexible criteria for firms to participate. Particular attention is paid to the participation decision and how various assumptions affect estimates of program outcomes using propensity score matching methods applied to plant-level Census data. Overall, we find quite modest effects: the reductions in fuel and electricity expenditures from Climate Wise and 1605(b) are no more than 10 percent and probably less than 5 percent. Virtually no evidence suggests a statistically significant effect of either Climate Wise or 1605(b) on fuel costs. Some evidence indicates that participation in Climate Wise led to a slight (3–5 percent) increase in electricity costs that vanished after two years. Stronger evidence suggests that participation in 1605(b) led to a slight (4–8 percent) decrease in electricity costs that persisted for at least three years.

Suggested Citation

  • Pizer, William A. & Morgenstern, Richard & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2010. "Evaluating Voluntary Climate Programs in the United States," Discussion Papers dp-08-13-rev, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-13-rev
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/Documents/RFF-DP-08-13-REV.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Eric W. Welch & Allan Mazur & Stuart Bretschneider, 2000. "Voluntary behavior by electric utilities: Levels of adoption and contribution of the climate challenge program to the reduction of carbon dioxide," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 407-425.
    2. Stephen J. Decanio & William E. Watkins, 1998. "Investment In Energy Efficiency: Do The Characteristics Of Firms Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(1), pages 95-107, February.
    3. John A. List & Daniel L. Millimet & Per G. Fredriksson & W. Warren McHone, 2003. "Effects of Environmental Regulations on Manufacturing Plant Births: Evidence from a Propensity Score Matching Estimator," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 944-952, November.
    4. B. Howarth, Richard & Haddad, Brent M. & Paton, Bruce, 2000. "The economics of energy efficiency: insights from voluntary participation programs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 477-486, June.
    5. Khanna, Madhu & Damon, Lisa A., 1999. "EPA's Voluntary 33/50 Program: Impact on Toxic Releases and Economic Performance of Firms," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 1-25, January.
    6. DeCanio, Stephen J, 1998. "The efficiency paradox: bureaucratic and organizational barriers to profitable energy-saving investments," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 441-454, April.
    7. Gamper-Rabindran, Shanti, 2006. "Did the EPA's voluntary industrial toxics program reduce emissions? A GIS analysis of distributional impacts and by-media analysis of substitution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 391-410, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. von Engelhardt, Sebastian & Maurer, Stephen, 2012. "Industry Self-Governance and National Security: On the Private Control of Dual Use Technologies," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 66052, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    2. Allen Blackman, 2012. "Does eco-certification boost regulatory compliance in developing countries? ISO 14001 in Mexico," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 242-263, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    voluntary; regulation; energy; climate change;

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-13-rev. 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). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/degraus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.