The Fix in Fossil Fuels

December 31, 2013

[Harvard Magazine ] The United States is wasting more than $4 billion a year by giving oil and gas companies tax breaks that do not benefit consumers or the economy, says Joseph Aldy, assistant professor of public policy at the Kennedy School of Government and a former special assistant to the president for energy and environment. This special treatment for the fossil-fuel industry, he points out, adds to the national debt and maintains the country’s dependence on a finite natural resource that produces greenhouse...

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Clearing the Air in China

December 16, 2013

Chris P. Nielsen and Mun S. Ho, members of HEEP Faculty Fellow Dale Jorgenson's research team, have authored a new book titled Clearer Skies Over China: Reconciling Air Quality, Climate, and Economic Goals. They declare that countries with severe air quality issues, like China, are taking major steps in pollution reduction, simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The authors of the book also recently wrote an op-ed in The New York...

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HEEP Faculty Fellows Lay Foundation for Improved Environmental Regulation in India

December 12, 2013

Rohini Pande, Mohammed Kamal Professor of Public Policy and HEEP Faculty Fellow, Michael Greenstone, 3M Professor of Environmental Economics at MIT and HEEP Associate Scholar, and their colleagues recently published a paper presenting the results of a two-year study, the goal of which was to improve the effectiveness of environmental regulation in India. HEEP provided partial support for the study.

The paper is...

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Energy Efficiency Workshop Participants

Energy Efficiency Gap Workshop

December 9, 2013

The Harvard Environmental Economics Program, along with the Duke University Energy Initiative, hosted a two-day workshop on October 24-25, 2013 at the Harvard Kennedy School titled, "Evaluating the Energy Efficiency Gap." The energy-efficiency gap refers to some energy-efficiency technologies that would apparently be justified based on their private financial net benefits not being adopted at the expected rate. The workshop's goal was to identify potential explanations for this apparent phenomenon. Participants included approximately twenty economists and psychologists conducting research...

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Inconvenient Uncertainties

December 4, 2013

Authors and HEEP associates Gernot Wagner and Martin Weitzman question a new study from the journal Nature that claims, "By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say." Wagner and Weitzman warn that there are uncertainties around climate impacts that we cannot currently resolve and that these uncertainties may warrant more, rather than less, action to reduce emissions. Read The New York Times...

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Did Warsaw conference put world on track towards 'new global climate regime'?

November 27, 2013

[PBS NewsHour ]...ROBERT STAVINS, Harvard University: The basic question that needed to be resolved in Warsaw — and I think it was accomplished — was whether or not the countries of the world could remain on the track that was started two years ago at a similar conference in Durban to build up to Paris two years from now, where a final agreement needs to be reached, which is essentially the post-Kyoto international climate change agreement.

If that sounds like the goal was mainly procedural, you’re...

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U.S. and China Find Convergence on Climate Issue

November 21, 2013

[The New York Times ]...Robert N. Stavins, the director of the Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, said that a more cooperative approach by China would be a major lift to prospects for a new treaty, especially if it helped persuade other emerging economies like Brazil, India and South Africa to join.

“If the 20th century was the American century, a lot of people expect the 21st century to be the Chinese century,” Mr. Stavins said. “And if it’s your century, you don’t obstruct, you lead.”

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At This Month's Climate Change Conference, There's a New Tactic for Reining in Greenhouse Gases

November 13, 2013

[Public Radio International ]...A new report from the Overseas Development Institute in London pegs these subsidies worldwide each year at more than half a trillion dollars. The argument is there's little chance of reducing global warming emissions, unless fossil fuel subsidies are eliminated.

Joe Aldy, a former White House staffer who now teaches at Harvard’s Kennedy School, says these subsidies come in many forms. For example, when governments give credits or tax breaks for oil and gas extraction, that...

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Climate Convergence

November 12, 2013

[Harvard Gazette ] GAZETTE: Can you tell me who is attending the conference and describe its purpose?

STAVINS: This is the 19th annual Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC]. There will be delegations from the approximately 195 countries who participate in that convention and who originally negotiated the Kyoto Protocol and who are now in the process of negotiating what will be a successor to it.

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