Blog Post

New Issue of Resources Magazine: On the Frontiers of Climate Policy

Jun 1, 2015 | Phil Sharp

For more than 60 years, experts at RFF have been analyzing the economic impacts of environmental policies. This year, in particular, we are engaged on the frontiers of several important climate-related policy decisions at the regional, national, and international levels.

One conversation under way is focused on the significant commercial developments in the US Arctic, from fishing and shipping to oil and gas exploration. Scientists find there are observable consequences of global warming in the region, so new development—particularly of oil and gas—brings both opportunities and challenges. In the new issue of Resources, articles by former deputy secretary of the Interior David J. Hayes and Carol Lloyd of the National Petroleum Council explore how we balance this development with protection of the Arctic’s pristine environmental assets, while ensuring that local communities reap the benefits.

On the national level, some of our scholars are focused on EPA’s Clean Power Plan—the first policy that will significantly reduce emissions from the existing fleet of power plants across the United States. Many of the most important policy choices will be made by state governments, which will decide how to meet the federally set goals. Most of the technology and policy options available as compliance mechanisms are not new to the states or the electric utilities. A number of these options are outlined in this issue by RFF’s Karen Palmer and Anthony Paul, who have been working extensively with various stakeholders.

Finally, RFF is engaged in the coming international climate negotiations to be held in Paris at the end of the year. A key question is how to compare nations’ pledges and efforts to ensure a fair and measurable outcome. RFF Visiting Fellow Joe Aldy of Harvard and University Fellow Billy Pizer of Duke have been tackling this question and, in this issue, suggest a series of metrics to guide a comparative analysis of the national action plans.

The international community has its 
eyes set, in particular, on the United States, where the record on climate policy over the past decade has not been considered aggressive or adequate. Indeed, critics of US policy are asking whether there is political support in the United States to back up our government’s pledges. In my view, political support is growing, as seen in public opinion polls, state actions, and changing public discussion. But the proof is in the pudding.

RFF is not in the business of advocacy or lobbying, but we have done—and will continue to do—extensive analysis of the policy options for addressing climate change.

In this issue:

Pits versus Tanks: Comparing Storage Methods for Fluids Used in Fracking
Getting Past the "Yuck Factor": Recycled Water in Florida and Other States
Yusuke Kuwuyama and Hannah Kammen
A View of the Environmental Policy Landscape from Outside the Beltway
An Interview with Paul Portney
Should We Price Carbon from Federal Coal?
Alan Krupnick, Nathan Richardson, Joel Darmstadter, and Katrina McLaughlin
The Road to Paris and Beyond: Comparing Emissions Mitigation Efforts
Joseph E. Aldy and William A. Pizer
America's Awakening as an Arctic Nation
David J. Hayes
The Promise of US Arctic Oil and Gas Potential
Carol Lloyd
Complying with EPA's Clean Power Plan: Policy Options for States
Karen Palmer and Anthony Paul
Falling Oil Prices: Implications in the United States
Stephen P.A. Brown

To view all articles from this issue of Resources, visit our website.