Conservatives Push Carbon Tax to Address Climate Crisis

February 8, 2017

[Standard Examiner ]...“I would personally be delighted if a carbon tax were politically feasible in the United States, or were to become politically feasible in the future,” said Harvard economics professor Robert Stavins. “At some point, the politics will change, and it’s important to be ready.”

An Explanation and Apology

February 5, 2017

[Robert Stavins' blog] I have been writing essays at this blog for more than seven years, and until recently, through 100 essays, I tried very hard to keep politics at bay, and to view each and every issue I discussed from a politically neutral, yet analytical economic perspective.

What Trump Misses About Regulations: They Produce Benefits as Well as Costs

February 5, 2017

[The Conversation ] Joseph Aldy: President Trump jettisoned more than 30 years of bipartisan regulatory policy on January 30 when he issued an executive order on “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.” The order requires that whenever a new regulation is enacted by any federal agency, regulators must eliminate two rules, so that the cost of complying with the new rule is offset by the costs associated with the two existing rules.

Tillerson Renews Old Debate: When is a Subsidy a Subsidy?

January 13, 2017

[ClimateWire ]...To Joe Aldy, a public policy professor at the Harvard University and climate change policy expert, there's no doubt fossil fuel extractors get tax breaks.

"Most of the subsidies in the tax code for oil and gas production are not general business tax expenditures, as [Tillerson] suggested in the testimony, but specific to hydrocarbons," Aldy said in an email.

Trying to Remain Positive

January 3, 2017

[Robert Stavins' blog] With inauguration day in the United States just two weeks away, it is difficult to harbor optimism about what the Trump presidency will mean for this country and for the world in realms ranging from economic progress to national security to personal liberty (as I wrote in this space one month before the November election – This is Not a Time for Political Neutrality, October 9, 2016).  In the wake of the election, expectations are no better, …

Donald Trump Should Know: This Is What Climate Change Costs Us

December 15, 2016

[The New York Times ] Michael Greenstone and Cass Sunstein: Last week, Donald J. Trump’s transition team sent a startling questionnaire to the Department of Energy. Among other things, the questionnaire asked for the names of all employees and contractors who attended meetings of the Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon, as well as all emails associated with those meetings, and the department’s “opinion” on the underlying issues — a request it essentially refused.

Clean Energy ‘Moving Forward’ Despite Trump’s E.P.A. Pick, Experts Say

December 8, 2016

[The New York Times ]...“The good news is that on its own, the U.S. economy has become less carbon intensive, and that trend will continue overall,” said Robert N. Stavins, the director of the environmental economics program at Harvard University. The bad news, he said, is that markets alone will not lower emissions enough to offset the worst impacts of global warming.