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Technology Flexibility and Stringency for Greenhouse Gas Regulations

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  • Burtraw, Dallas

    () (Resources for the Future)

  • Woerman, Matt

Abstract

The Clean Air Act provides the primary regulatory framework for climate policy in the United States. Tradable performance standards (averaging) emerge as the likely tool to achieve flexibility in the regulation of existing stationary sources. This paper examines the relationship between flexibility and stringency. The metric to compare the stringency of policies is ambiguous. The relevant section of the act is traditionally technology based, suggesting an emissions rate focus. However, a specific emissions rate improvement averaged over a larger set of generators reduces the actual emissions change. A marginal abatement cost criterion to compare policy designs suggests cost-effectiveness across sources. This criterion can quadruple the emissions reductions that are achieved, with net social benefits exceeding $25 billion in 2020, with a 1.3 percent electricity price increase. Under the act, multiple stringency criteria are relevant. EPA should evaluate state implementation plans according to a portfolio of attributes, including effectiveness and cost.

Suggested Citation

  • Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2013. "Technology Flexibility and Stringency for Greenhouse Gas Regulations," Discussion Papers dp-13-24, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-13-24
    as

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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-13-24.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Laurie Johnson & Chris Hope, 2012. "The social cost of carbon in U.S. regulatory impact analyses: an introduction and critique," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 2(3), pages 205-221, September.
    2. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt & Paul, Anthony, 2012. "Retail electricity price savings from compliance flexibility in GHG standards for stationary sources," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 67-77.
    3. Burtraw, Dallas & Fraas, Arthur G. & Richardson, Nathan, 2012. "Tradable Standards for Clean Air Act Carbon Policy," Discussion Papers dp-12-05, Resources For the Future.
    4. Linn, Joshua & Mastrangelo, Erin & Burtraw, Dallas, 2013. "Regulating Greenhouse Gases from Coal Power Plants under the Clean Air Act," Discussion Papers dp-13-05, Resources For the Future.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhou, Yishu & Huang, Ling, 2016. "Have U.S. power plants become less technically efficient? The impact of carbon emission regulation," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 105-115.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate policy; efficiency; EPA; Clean Air Act; coal; compliance flexibility; regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • 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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