Climate News

A Global Carbon Tax or Cap-and-Trade? Part 1: The Economic Arguments

If you could choose how to curb greenhouse gas emissions, would you choose a carbon tax or cap-and-trade? Environmental economists have long debated this question, and it will be on many people’s minds in the run up to the climate meetings at which world leaders will attempt to reach agreement on how to limit global warming to 2°C in Lima (December 2014) and Paris (November–December 2015). This article by the Center for Global Development cites research by the Nicholas Institute's Billy Pizer.

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EPA Struggles to Account for Cross-State Emissions Reductions in Power Plant Rule

States that import their electricity from neighbors are giving the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency headaches when it comes to crediting them for emissions reductions under the agency's proposed power plant rules. As it stands, the proposed EPA rule would not give a state credit for instituting an energy efficiency program if the emissions reductions occur at a power plant in another state. Instead, the state hosting that power plant would receive the benefit, even though it did nothing. Jeremy Tarr, policy associate at the Nicholas Institute, comments in this Washington Examiner article.

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Murray Earns Prestigious Fulbright Award

Brian Murray, director of the Environmental Economics Program at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, has been awarded a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair Award in Environment and Economy. Through Fulbright Canada, he will spend the spring 2015 semester conducting research on carbon pricing systems abroad at the University of Ottawa.

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Terminating the Links Between Emissions Trading Programs

In an RFF blog post, the Nicholas Institute’s Billy Pizer and his co-author Andrew Yates discuss their new paper, which explores whether key choices about delinking and the handling of banked permits can improve market outcomes when links between carbon programs are-or are at risk of being-severed. In general, the analysis found that costs will rise when markets are delinked and prices can diverge even before delinking occurs.

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Rockingham, Stokes Residents Fight Back Against Fracking

Amy Pickle, State Policy Program director at the Nicholas Institute and vice chair of the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission, discusses a public meeting in Wentworth where Piedmont residents voiced their opinion about hydraulic fracturing in the state.

 

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Duke, Always Hungry to Build, Says Existing Plants Aren't Viable

This story in Tampa Bay Times focuses on Duke Energy and its interest in building new power plants over used ones. The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions Etan Gumerman comments.

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By Weight or by Rate? EPA Offers States Little Direction for Converting CO2 Metric

The U.S. EPA's proposed rule to reduce carbon dioxide allows states to convert their goals from a carbon intensity rate to mass of carbon, but it neglects to tell them how. This weight-or-rate question is one of the earliest a state must answer before it can design policies that lower greenhouse reductions. Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute, comments in the SNL Electric Utility Report.

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Debating the Costs of Carbon Regulations

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's newly proposed carbon-reduction regulations are spurring heated debate nationwide and in New Mexico. But so far it appears the rules will have less impact here than in other states, where utilities rely more heavily on coal-fired generation and where fewer renewable resources have been installed. Tim Profeta, director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, comments in this Albuquerque Journal article.

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The Carbon Cost of Upsetting the Shore

Climate scientists know with impressive accuracy how fast carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere. A decade ago, there were about 370 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas floating around; today, the number is up to 393 or so. Much of that increase comes from the burning of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil – but not all, and putting numbers on other sources is crucial to figuring out how to keep carbon emissions under control. This Business Spectator article discusses work by researchers at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions in the journal PLOS ONE.

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A Rush Before the Proof of Shale Gold ($)

In the classic film "Field of Dreams," a farmer builds a baseball diamond after hearing a premonition that "If you build it, he will come." In North Carolina, the same spirit has inspired two laws and more than 100 pages of regulations clearing the way for shale gas rigs that may never arrive. Amy Pickle, State Policy Program director, comments in this Energy & Environment Daily article.

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