Recent News of Interest

Low-Carbon Energy and Energy Storage Are Key

“The real challenge… is to find new forms of energy supply that are both low in cost and low in carbon emissions. The better response to Paris – a failure that will be dressed up as a success- is not despair…but to focus instead on the science that could transform the economics of energy supply and consumption.  For example, … investors and companies would be foolish not to take notice of the mounting evidence that storage technology is the next big shift in the energy business.” Nick Butler, Chair of The Policy Institute at Kings College, London.

IPCC Chair Says Behavioral Changes also Needed

To stem climate change, “we will need to deploy a wide range of technological measures and behavioral changes, and only major institutional and technological change will give us a better than even change that global warming will not exceed a dangerous threshold.” Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland.

CRS Underwhelmed by RGGI’s Cap and Trade System

“Arguably negligible.”That’s the Congressional Research Service’s bleak assessment of the direct impact on CO2 emissions of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) launched in January 2009 by nine northeastern U.S. states. RGGI covers 168 electric power plants 25 MW or greater in those states. CRS says that lessons learned from this failed initiative that could be applied to the Clean Power Plan include (1) building in a substantial price floor, (2) limiting and scrutinizing offsets, and (3) carefully managing the auction revenue.

Russian Oligarch Says “World Carbon Tax or Die”

Oleg Deripaska, the Russian oligarch and president of Rusal, the world’s largest aluminium producer, told the Financial Times that the only meaningful way to cut emissions was to instigate a global carbon tax, starting at about $15 a ton. “There is no other solution,” Mr Deripaska said on the sidelines of the Paris conference. “For us engineers and managers who run companies, for the financial community … the only way [to reduce emissions] is to put in a global carbon tax.”

In Depth Review of British Colombia’s Carbon Tax – the “Grand Experiment”

A new study published this October details the impact of British Columbia’s carbon tax, which is currently C$30/t CO2. Emissions in the province are down by 5 – 15 percent. The tax has had negligible effects on the aggregate economy. The effects on income distribution have also been relatively small. Support for the carbon tax, which aims to be revenue neutral to the government, has grown over time.

Note that British Colombia’s electricity sector is mostly hydro-powered and carbon-free, so this tax largely falls on liquid fuels such as gasoline and diesel.

Authors: Brian C. Murray and Nicholas Rivers. Duke University version available here (Oct 2015 published version is paywalled).

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