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John Graham

Former OIRA Administrator John Graham Analyzes Federal Climate Energy Policy and the Future of Electric Vehicles in Latest Episode of "Environmental Insights"

May 7, 2021

Author: Doug Gavel

CAMBRIDGE MA. – John Graham, dean emeritus and professor at the Paul O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and former administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) in the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB), offered his thoughts on...

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Research Conducted by HEEP Associate Scholar, Steve Cicala, Helps Shape Public Policy Decision in Illinois

May 6, 2021

A recently written paper by Steve Cicala, Tufts University, former HEEP Pre-Doctoral Fellow and current HEEP Associate Scholar, highlights the inequities in utility disconnections occurring in Illinois, resulting in executive orders signed by the governor designed to help those most affected by the disconnections. The paper, “The Incidence of Extreme Economic Stress: Evidence from Utility Disconnections”...

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Nat Keohane

Environmental Defense Fund SVP Nat Keohane Shares Insights on Climate Policy and Thoughts on COP-26

April 30, 2021

Author: Doug Gavel

The Biden Administration is showing a renewed commitment to addressing climate change, but there is still a long road ahead for the development of substantive domestic policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). That was one of the messages delivered on Friday (April 30) during a Virtual Forum hosted by the Harvard Project on...

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Learn about HEEP

HEEP is a university-wide initiative addressing today's complex environmental challenges and is based in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government. Learn more by reading director Robert Stavins' welcome message.

Environmental Insights Podcast

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Recent Publications

Aldy, Joseph E., Giles Atkinson, and Matthew Kotchen. “Environmental Benefit-Cost Analysis: A Comparative Analysis Between the United States and the United Kingdom.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Environmental Economics Program, 2021.Abstract
The United States and United Kingdom have longstanding traditions in use of environmental benefit-cost analysis (E-BCA). While there are similarities between how E-BCA is utilized, there are significant differences too, many of which mirror ongoing debates and recent developments in the literature on environmental and natural resource economics. We review the use of E-BCA in both countries across three themes: (a) the role of long-term discounting; (b) the estimation and use of carbon valuation; and, (c) the estimation and use of the value of a statistical life. In each case, we discuss how academic developments are (and are not) translated into use and draw comparative lessons. We find that, in some cases, practical differences in E-BCA can be overstated, although in others these seem more substantive. Advances in the academic frontier also raise the question of when and how to update practical E-BCA, with very different answers across our themes.
Aldy, Joseph, Matthew Kotchen, Mary Evans, Meredith Fowlie, Arik Levinson, and Karen Palmer. “Co-Benefits and Regulatory Impact Analysis: Theory and Evidence from Federal Air Quality Regulations.” Discussion Paper (2021): 45.Abstract
This paper considers the treatment of co-benefits in benefit-cost analysis of federal air quality regulations. Using a comprehensive data set on all major Clean Air Act rules issued by the Environmental Protection Agency over the period 1997-2019, we show that (1) co-benefits make up a significant share of the monetized benefits; (2) among the categories of co-benefits, those associated with reductions in fine particulate matter are the most significant; and (3) co-benefits have been pivotal to the quantified net benefit calculation in nearly half of cases. Motivated by these trends, we develop a simple conceptual framework that illustrates a critical point: co-benefits are simply a semantic category of benefits that should be included in benefit-cost analyses. We also address common concerns about whether the inclusion of co-benefits is problematic because of alternative regulatory approaches that may be more cost-effective and the possibility for double counting.
Evans, Mary, Karen Palmer, Joseph Aldy, Meredith Fowlie, Matthew Kotchen, and Arik Levinson. “The Role of Retrospective Analysis in an Era of Deregulation: Lessons from the U.S. Mercury Air Toxic Standards.” Harvard Environmental Economics Program, 2021.Abstract
As of late 2020, the Trump administration had initiated almost one hundred rollbacks of U.S. environmental regulations. A careful assessment of the benefits and costs of rolling back an existing regulation can and should inform such decisions. When assessing the potential rollback of an existing regulation, analysts can often learn from the regulation’s implementation through retrospective analysis as well as from advances in scientific knowledge. We discuss recent actions concerning the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) to illustrate the potential lessons from doing so. In the case of MATS, advances in science have shed light on broader exposure pathways and previously unquantified health effects, suggesting that the benefits of reducing mercury emissions may exceed previous estimates. At the same time, changes in the energy sector have altered the mix of fuels used to produce electricity, which impacts both the benefits and costs of the regulation.
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News from the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements

Upcoming Events

HPCA Conversations on Climate Change and Energy Policy

The Harvard Project on Climate Agreements is conducting a series of virtual forums addressing key issues in climate-change and related energy policy. Each forum will feature an expert guest and will be moderated by Robert Stavins, Director of the Harvard Project. 

We hope you can join us!

Next Scheduled Event: 

TBD

To access recordings and transcripts of past events, please go to the HPCA Conversations Series webpage.

 

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