Blog Post

New Book by Marc Hafstead and Lawrence Goulder Offers an In-Depth Look at US Climate Policy Options

Jan 29, 2018 | Peter Nelson

RFF Fellow Marc Hafstead and RFF University Fellow Lawrence Goulder have released a new book analyzing the major climate policy options in the United States. Confronting the Climate Challenge: US Policy Options, published by Columbia University Press, focuses on four alternative approaches for reducing carbon dioxide emissions: a revenue-neutral carbon tax, a cap-and-trade program, a clean energy standard, and an increase in the federal gasoline tax. Their bottom line is that smart policy choices can reduce emissions at low cost and avoid imposing undesirable burdens on low-income households and vulnerable industries. The book also indicates that, when designed well, the environmental benefits from these policies substantially exceed the economic sacrifices.

The book has garnered very positive reviews from an impressive group of individuals, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who notes, “Climate change policy options need to be identified and analyzed with care and a sense of the future, just as Larry Goulder and Marc Hafstead have done in this important book.”

More information, including how to purchase the book, can be found here.

Praise for Confronting the Climate Challenge

“This book shows brilliantly how the United States can tackle the climate challenge effectively, using the fiscal system to slow climate change while protecting those who are most vulnerable to the costs of a rapid transformation of the energy system.”

—William Nordhaus, Yale University

“Lawrence Goulder and Marc Hafstead’s thorough and thoughtful examination of some of our most promising climate policy options shows that how we implement change matters as much as the changes we make. This book will be a useful roadmap as we work to reduce the emissions driving the disruption of our climate.”

—Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senator from Rhode Island

“Curbing greenhouse gases is one of the most challenging issues we face. While the benefits are potentially huge, developing policies to keep costs down is urgent. Goulder and Hafstead’s well-written and accessible book carefully explains the issue and evaluates the main policy proposals. It is a must read for anyone interested in the details of climate mitigation. I strongly recommend it.”

—Robert Mendelsohn, Yale University

“This important book by two leading authorities on the economics of climate change policy provides a rigorous assessment of the benefits and costs of alternative US climate change policies, including a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade program, a clean energy standard, and an increase in federal gasoline taxes. This dispassionate analysis is particularly valuable and important—for scholars, policymakers, and the general public.”

—Robert N. Stavins, Harvard University

“How costly will it be for the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Economists Goulder and Hafstead—two of the top practitioners in the field—walk us knowledgeably through the various options and show how climate action can produce net benefits to society without jeopardizing the economy. Must reading for politicians, policy analysts, and climate activists.”

—Jerry Taylor, Niskanen Center

Confronting the Climate Challenge is a rigorous and insightful analysis of policies to reduce CO2 emissions in the United States, written by the top experts in the field. It should be read by anyone who is interested in taking action to reduce the threat of climate change.”

—Maureen Cropper, University of Maryland and Resources for the Future

The views expressed in RFF blog posts are those of the authors and should not be attributed to Resources for the Future.