The authors explore several approaches to an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in late 2015—including through carbon pricing.
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Inadequate policy surveillance has undermined the effectiveness of multilateral climate agreements. To illustrate an alternative approach to transparency, the author evaluated policy surveillance under the 2009 G-20 fossil fuel subsidies agreement. The Leaders of the Group of 20 nations tasked their energy and finance ministers to identify and phase-out fossil fuel subsidies. The G-20 leaders agreed to submit their subsidy reform strategies to peer review and to independent expert review conducted by international organizations.
This paper posits the conceptually useful allegory of a futuristic "World Climate Assembly" that votes on global carbon emissions via the basic principle of majority rule. Two variants are considered. One is to vote on a universal price (or tax) that is internationally harmonized, but the proceeds from which are domestically retained. The other is to vote on the overall quantity of total worldwide emissions, which are then distributed for free (via a pre-decided fractional subdivision formula) as individual allowance permits that are subsequently marketed in an international cap-and-trade system.
The authors consider the role of integrated assessment models in estimating the social cost of carbon—an estimation that is important in the formulation of U.S. climate policy.
Carbon taxes, which postpone extraction of fossil fuels and reduce cumulative carbon emissions, also have economic advantages over taxes on capital.
This discussion paper examines the potential role U.S. National Parks play in curbing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions through carbon sequestration—the process of moderating global climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in long-term mineral, organic, and oceanic reservoirs.
By Calestous Juma, Professor of the Practice of International Development; Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project; Principal Investigator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa and Katherine Gordon, Project Coordinator, Agricultural Innovation in Africa
Nearly two decades of experience have shown that agricultural biotechnology has the potential to address some of the world’s pressing challenges. Its potential, however, cannot be addressed in isolation. Instead it should be part of a larger effort to expand the technological options needed to address persistent and emerging agricultural challenges.
The aim of this paper is to review the evidence on global trends in the application of agricultural biotechnology and identify some of their salient benefits. The paper is cognizant that biotechnology alone cannot solve the world’s agricultural challenges. But even though it is not a silver bullet, it should still be included in the package of technological options available to farmers. The evidence available today suggests that public policy should appeal more to pragmatism and less to ideology when seeking solutions to global agricultural challenges.
"Electricity Technology Investments under Solar RD&D Uncertainty: How Interim Learning and Adaptation Affect the Optimal Decision Strategy"
By Nidhi R. Santen, Associate, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
The authors present a new modeling framework for studying optimal generating capacity and public RD&D investments in the electricity sector under decision-dependent RD&D uncertainty and learning.
December 19, 2014
By Leonardo Maugeri, Associate, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Geopolitics of Energy Project
In 2012, when many energy experts argued that oil production had peaked, Leonardo Maugeri published “Oil: The Next Revolution,” which forecast a glut of oil and collapsing prices in the next several years. His prediction proved prescient. Now, as analysts look past today’s oil-market drama to a near future of robust liquefied natural gas exports, Maugeri is again challenging conventional wisdom. The long-hoped-for and hyped-up gas market, he concludes, will disappoint.
“Falling Short: A Reality Check for Global LNG Exports” details the new findings by Maugeri, a former oil industry executive who is now an associate with the Geopolitics of Energy project at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
By Todd D. Gerarden, Richard G. Newell, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and Robert C. Stowe, Executive Director, Harvard Environmental Economics Program; Manager, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Improving end-use energy efficiency—that is, the energy-efficiency of individuals, households, and firms as they consume energy—is often cited as an important element in efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. Arguments for improving energy efficiency usually rely on the idea that energy-efficient technologies will save end users money over time and thereby provide low-cost or no-cost options for reducing GHG emissions. However, some research suggests that energy-efficient technologies appear not to be adopted by consumers and businesses to the degree that would seem justified, even on a purely financial basis.