Addressing the Urgency of More Stringent Climate Change Policy
This paper highlights scientific findings and features of the climate system that, together, suggest that the need for stronger policy action to mitigate emissions of carbon dioxide is urgent. It identifies four ways that economists can address this urgency—and the associated costs of delay—in assessing climate policy alternatives.
- Characteristics of the climate system and recent scientific findings imply that stronger action to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is urgent.
- The urgency of stronger action makes consideration of political feasibility especially important in policy assessments.
- Economists can closely consider political feasibility in their assessments without departing from their roles as economists.
- Attention to political feasibility can affect the cost-rankings of policy alternatives.
- A broader notion of cost-effectiveness recognizes the potential savings from policies that have greater prospects for near-term implementation and for avoiding the costs of delay.
- Under this broader notion of cost-effectiveness, policy “add-ons” (such as compensation to particular stakeholder groups) that increase the likelihood of near-term implementation can pay for themselves by helping avoid costs of delay; under the broader notion, “add-ons” sometimes lower, rather than raise, expected policy costs.
In Focus — Nov 30, 2023
In Focus: Carbon Markets and Carbon Dioxide Removal
This video shares insights about the risks of integrating carbon dioxide removal into carbon markets, with Massimo Tavoni, director of the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment.
On the Issues — Nov 10, 2023
On the Issues: Renewable Energy Headwinds, Electric Grid Upgrades, and More
A biweekly newsletter connecting global current events, pressing climate and energy policy news, and economics research from RFF scholars. This week: Renewable Energy Headwinds, Electric Grid Upgrades, and More.
Common Resources — Nov 9, 2023
Adding an Emissions Cap to the Inflation Reduction Act Would Help Meet US Climate Goals
Implementing a federal cap-and-trade policy would complement the Inflation Reduction Act. Together, these two policies could reduce air pollution and retail electricity prices and ensure that the United States meets its national climate goals for 2030.