By C. Edward Huang, Former Research Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2010
One question about the 2009 U.S. "Cash for Clunkers" program is whether it induced consumers to purchase greener vehicles than they would otherwise have purchased. This paper views the program as a natural experiment, which offered higher rebates to consumers buying more fuel-efficient vehicles, and shows that awarding an extra $1,000 on a vehicle made 7.2% of consumers switch. Hence the program - giving away nearly $3 billion - should have drawn many consumers to the subsidized greener vehicles, producing substantial environmental gains. This finding should interest policymakers evaluating similar programs to stimulate the economy while benefiting the environment.
"Governmental Energy Innovation Investments, Policies and Institutions in the Major Emerging Economies: Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa"
By Ruud Kempener, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2011, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Jose Condor Tarco, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2009
Over the past decade, countries with emerging economies like Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa have become important global players in political and economic domains. In 2007, these six countries consumed and produced more than a third of the world's energy and emitted about 35 percent of total greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. The changing global energy landscape has important implications for energy technology innovation (ETI) nationally and internationally. However, there is limited information available about the investments and initiatives that are taking place by the national governments within these countries. This paper presents the information available on energy RD&D investments in the emerging economies.
An increasing amount of development aid is targeted to areas affected by civil conflict; some of it in the hope that aid will reduce conflict by weakening popular support for insurgent movements. But if insurgents know that development projects will weaken their position, they have an incentive to derail them, which may exacerbate conflict.
By Erik Mielke, Former Research Fellow, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2010–2011, Laura Diaz Anadon, Assistant Professor of Public Policy; Associate Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-PI, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group and Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti, Benjamin Peirce Professor of Technology and Public Policy; Professor of Physics, Harvard; Director, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program; Co-Principal Investigator, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group
This paper provides an overview of water consumption for different sources of energy, including extraction, processing, and conversion of resources, fuels, and technologies. The primary focus of this paper is to summarize the consumptive use of water for different sources of energy. Where appropriate, levels of water withdrawals are also discussed, especially in the context of cooling of thermoelectric power plants.
By Mohammed Al-Juaied, Former Visiting Scholar, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2008–2009
This paper looks at ten different forms of public support for carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies including investment tax credits, accelerated depreciation, production tax credits, loan guarantees, capital grants, allowance allocations, and storage tax credits. The paper compares the cost reduction potential of each option against a conventional coal-to-electricity facility without CCS.
"Beyond Copenhagen: Reconciling International Fairness, Economic Development, and Climate Protection"
By Jing Cao, Former Research Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program, 2002-2003
This paper proposes a new architecture for international climate policy that might usefully be considered by delegates at COP 17 in Durban. It highlights a top-down approach that is designed to produce a fair distribution of burdens across countries, while achieving objectives of: (a) economic development; (b) decreasing wealth inequality; and (c) emission reductions consistent with holding the expected increase in global average temperature to 2 degrees Celsius. In addition, this discussion paper discusses several key design elements that will be important, especially from the perspective of developing countries, to the success of COP 17 and subsequent international climate negotiations. These design elements include agreements on burden sharing, choice of policy instruments, financial mechanisms and technology transfer, penalties for noncompliance, and linkages between trade and climate change.
By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
Harvard Project Director Robert N. Stavins reviews economics research on open-access resources over the last century; the development of market-based policies to respond to commons problems; and the application of policy-relevant scholarship in economics to the "ultimate commons problem"—global climate change.
By Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program, Jose Gomez-Ibanez, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning; Faculty Affiliate, Environment and Natural Resources Program, C. Edward Huang, Former Research Fellow, Environment and Natural Resources Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2010 and Grant Lovellette
The report is a summary of the discussions from a workshop on "Transportation Revenue Options" convened by the Belfer Center in May 2010. The workshop brought together 27 transportation experts for a two-day workshop to discuss three broad revenue-generating options: higher fuel taxes — perhaps supplemented by a carbon tax; fees collected based on vehicle miles traveled (VMT); and congestion fees on major roadways.
By Balachandra Patil, Former Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program/Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, 2009–2010
India's energy crisis is defined by the fact that the major share of its rural population is energy poor. Energy poverty, indicated by the lack of access to modern energy services, is a direct outcome of income poverty. The poor cannot afford to pay for the services of the modern energy carriers and they live in sub-standard buildings/houses, which are unfit to be connected to the modern energy systems. Similarly, any poor nation will be constrained by inadequate access to both energy and financial resources, and therefore will be unable to build an adequate infrastructure that would facilitate connectivity to modern energy carriers.
This paper is mostly about conceptualizing the problem of high-temperature catastrophic damages and giving some rough sense of the magnitudes involved via particular numerical examples. It is less about giving decisive numerical values for actual practical policy advice, although some policy implications will become apparent.