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Robert N. Stavins

Robert N. Stavins

Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program

Chair, Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group

Chairman, Ph.D. Programs in Public Policy and Political Economy & Government

Co-Chair, Kennedy School-Harvard Business School Joint Degree Programs

Member of the Board, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Contact:
Telephone: (617) 495-1820
Fax: (617) 496-3783
Email: robert_stavins@hks.harvard.edu
Website: http://www.stavins.com
Publications: http://ksghome.harvard.edu/~rstavins/cvweb.html

 

 

By Region

 

North America (continued)

August 2012

"The SO2 Allowance Trading System: The Ironic History of a Grand Policy Experiment"

Discussion Paper

By Richard Schmalensee and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

In a new discussion paper, authors Richard Schmalensee, professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Robert N. Stavins, director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, explore four ironic outcomes associated with the otherwise very successful sulfur-dioxide cap-and-trade system created by the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

 

 

AP Photo

June 26, 2012

"Don't Write Off Cap and Trade"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, China Dialogue

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Various journalists and advocates have, of late, described America's Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) as being near "the brink of failure" thanks to the trend of very low prices of permits to emit carbon dioxide. Likewise, commentators have claimed that Europe's carbon market, the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS), may be "sinking into oblivion" because its emissions allowances too have become very cheap. 

 

 

AP Photo

January 2012

The SO2 Allowance Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation

Report

By Gabe Chan, Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Richard Sweeney

The introduction of the U.S. SO2 allowance-trading program to address the threat of acid rain as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 is a landmark event in the history of environmental regulation. The program was a great success by almost all measures. Ironically, cap and trade seems especially well suited to addressing the problem of climate change, in that emitted greenhouse gases are evenly distributed throughout the world's atmosphere. Recent hostility toward cap and trade in debates about U.S. climate legislation may reflect the broader political environment of the climate debate more than the substantive merits of market-based regulation.

 

 

December 5, 2011

"A Wave of the Future: International Linkage of Carbon Markets"

Op-Ed, Outreach

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"...[I]t remains true that cap-and-trade is still the most likely domestic policy approach for CO2 emissions reductions throughout the industrialised world, given the rather unattractive set of available alternative approaches.  This makes it important to think about the possibility of linking these national and regional cap-and-trade systems in the future.  Such linking occurs when the government that maintains one system allows regulated entities to use allowances or credits from other systems to meet compliance obligations."

 

 

AP Photo

November 2011

"The National Context of U.S. State Policies for a Global Commons Problem"

Policy Brief

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

In this policy brief, Harvard Project Director Robert Stavins focuses on how subnational policies will interact with a federal climate policy. It turns out that some of the interactions will be problematic, others will be benign, and still others could be positive. He also examines the role that could be played by subnational policies in the absence of a meaningful federal policy, with the conclusion that—like it or not—we may find that Sacramento, California comes to take the place of Washington as the center of national climate policy. This case study might provide insight for COP 17 delegates in designing the next steps toward a flexible international agreement.

 

 

October 2011

"The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon: Theory and Experience"

Discussion Paper

By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Market-approaches to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases lie at the heart of any cost-effective set of policies put forward in an international agreement—and will be considered at COP 17 in Durban in both the Kyoto and Long-term Cooperative Action discussions. Joseph Aldy and Robert Stavins "examine the opportunities and challenges associated with the major options for carbon pricing: carbon taxes, cap‐and‐trade, emission reduction credits, clean energy standards, and fossil fuel subsidy reductions."

 

 

September 16, 2011

"Beyond Kyoto: An Economic Perspective on International Climate Policy"

Presentation

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Harvard Project on Climate Agreements Director Robert N. Stavins delivered a featured address at the Institute of International and European Affairs, Ireland's leading think tank on international affairs, on September 16, 2011, in Dublin. As preparations for the next round of crucial climate negotiations in Durban, South Africa, commence, Stavins discussed the prospects for the negotiations; the future of climate action beyond the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012; and the economics of climate change policy.

 

 

April 25, 2011

"An Opportunity for Timely Action: EPA's Transport Rule Passes the Test"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Richard Schmalensee

"Along with these health benefits, the largest shares of short-term improvements in employment and regional economies are likely to accrue to the regions that are most dependent on coal-fired power, as they invest in new pollution control equipment. Thus, while designed to help regions downwind of coal-fired power plants, the Transport Rule also offers substantial benefits to upwind states."

 

 

AP Photo

March/April 2011

"Curbing Carbon"

Op-Ed, Technology Review

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"Throughout the U.S. economy, millions of decentralized decisions are made every day that contribute to the problem of climate change. A national carbon-pricing system—in the form of either carbon taxes or cap-and-trade—is the only policy that can significantly tilt them all in a climate-friendly direction. Given the ubiquity and diversity of energy use in a modern economy, conventional regulatory approaches simply cannot do the job."

 

 

AP Photo

February 14, 2011

"Argus Q&A: Robert Stavins"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Argus US Carbon

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

"...[T]he credits a utility earns for a given source of generated electricity should be inversely proportional to the CO2 emissions associated with that source. Renewables and nuclear would earn full credit whereas natural gas and fuel oil sources would earn less, and conventional coal less than that. If properly structured, this can provide the right incentives for investment and retirement of electricity-generating capacity and the right incentives for dispatch from existing capacity."

 

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Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev.