Estimates of damages from climate change are dependent on estimates of global-average-temperature increase, which in turn depend on how marginal increases in greenhouse-gas concentrations affect temperature. The "likely" range of temperature increase from a doubling of concentrations has stalled for 35 years at 1.5–4.5° C—making estimates of damages difficult and unreliable.
"Federal Coal Program Reform, the Clean Power Plan, and the Interaction of Upstream and Downstream Climate Policies"
Can supply-side environmental policies that limit the extraction of fossil fuels reduce CO2 emissions? We study interactions between a specific supply-side policy — an environmental charge on federal coal — and demand-side emissions regulation under the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Using a detailed dynamic model of the power sector, we estimate that, absent the CPP, an environmental charge equal to the social cost of carbon would generate three-quarters of the projected CPP emissions reductions. With the CPP in place, the charge reduces emissions by reducing leakage and causing the CPP to be non-binding in some scenarios.
"Bilateral Cooperation between China and the United States: Facilitating Progress on Climate-Change Policy"
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Thomas Brewer, Ji Chen, Sha Fu, Yue Qi, Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, Robert C. Stowe, Pu Wang, Giorgio Ruffolo Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Sustainability Science, Energy Technology Innovation Policy research group, Xiaohua Zhang, Shuang Zheng and Ji Zou
The Harvard Project has released a paper on China-U.S. cooperation on climate-change policy—jointly authored with researchers at China's National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation.
"Will We Adapt? Temperature Shocks, Labor Productivity, and Adaptation to Climate Change in the United States (1986–2012)"
By Jisung Park
Jisung Park studies the impact of extreme heat on labor productivity. He argues that regions accustomed to higher temperatures may handle extreme heat differently than regions less accustomed.
The authors summarize the past thirty years of cap-and-trade programs throughout the world and explore future applications of market-based approaches to reducing emissions.
"Evaluating Mitigation Effort: Tools and Institutions for Assessing Nationally Determined Contributions"
By Joseph E. Aldy, Faculty Affiliate, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements
The emerging pledge and review approach to international climate policy provides countries with substantial discretion in how they craft their intended emission mitigation contributions. The resulting heterogeneity in mitigation pledges places significant demands for a well-functioning transparency and review mechanism. In particular, the specific forms of intended contributions necessitate economic analysis in order to estimate the aggregate effects of these contributions as well as to permit "apples-to-apples" comparisons of mitigation efforts. This paper discusses the tools that can inform such analyses as well as the institutional needs of climate transparency.
By William Hogan, Raymond Plank Professor of Global Energy Policy
U.S. states would implement the federal Clean Power Plan using a variety of policies that could either undermine or support the operation of electricity markets.
Carbon budgets have emerged as a robust metric of warming, but their application to climate policy has been limited to global assessments. This Discussion Paper explores the potential of regional carbon budgets to inform climate policy.
This paper calculates, for the top twenty emitting countries, how much pricing of CO2 emissions is in their own national interests due to domestic co-benefits alone. The answer: a significant (though varying) portion of the price that would also include climate benefits.
Uncertainty about "climate sensitivity"—the impact on temperature of increased concentrations of greenhouse gases—grew from the IPCC's 4th to 5th Assessment Reports. The authors conclude that this "bad news" outweighs the "good news": a lower value for the bottom end of the range for temperature rise.