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Issues in Designing U.S. Climate Change Policy

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  • Aldy, Joseph E.

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Pizer, William A.

Abstract

Over the coming decades, the cost of U.S. climate change policy likely will be comparable to the total cost of all existing environmental regulation—perhaps 1–2 percent of national income. In order to avoid higher costs, policy efforts should create incentives for firms and individuals to pursue the cheapest climate change mitigation options over time, among all sectors, across national borders, and in the face of significant uncertainty. Well-designed national greenhouse gas mitigation policies can serve as the foundation for global efforts and as an example for emerging and developing countries. We present six key policy design issues that will determine the costs, cost-effectiveness, and distributional impacts of domestic climate policy: program scope, cost containment, offsets, revenues and allowance allocation, competitiveness, and R&D policy. We synthesize the literature on these design features, review the implications for the ongoing policy debate, and identify outstanding research questions that can inform policy development.

Suggested Citation

  • Aldy, Joseph E. & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Issues in Designing U.S. Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-08-20, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-20
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    2. del Río, Pablo, 2017. "Why does the combination of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme and a renewable energy target makes economic sense?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 824-834.
    3. Davidsdottir, B. & Fisher, M., 2011. "The odd couple: The relationship between state economic performance and carbon emissions economic intensity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 4551-4562, August.
    4. Michael I. Cragg & Yuyu Zhou & Kevin Gurney & Matthew E. Kahn, 2013. "Carbon Geography: The Political Economy Of Congressional Support For Legislation Intended To Mitigate Greenhouse Gas Production," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(2), pages 1640-1650, April.
    5. Meredith Fowlie & Christopher R. Knittel & Catherine Wolfram, 2012. "Sacred Cars? Cost-Effective Regulation of Stationary and Nonstationary Pollution Sources," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 98-126, February.
    6. Copenhagen Economics, 2008. "Reduced VAT for environmentally friendly products," Taxation Studies 0025, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    7. Meredith Fowlie & Christopher R. Knittel & Catherine Wolfram, 2008. "Sacred Cars? Optimal Regulation of Stationary and Non-stationary Pollution Sources," NBER Working Papers 14504, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Giménez, Eduardo L. & Rodríguez, Miguel, 2010. "Reevaluating the first and the second dividends of environmental tax reforms," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(11), pages 6654-6661, November.
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    10. Fowlie, Meredith & Knittel, Christopher R & Wolfram, Catherine D, 2008. "Sacred Cars? Optimal Regulation of Stationary and Non-stationary Pollution Sources," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4cn02883, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    11. Edmonds, James & Calvin, Katherine & Clarke, Leon & Kyle, Page & Wise, Marshall, 2012. "Energy and technology lessons since Rio," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S1), pages 7-14.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    cap-and-trade; carbon tax; cost containment; competitiveness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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