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  • Author: Kevin Ummel
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: This paper describes the creation of a database providing estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) footprints for 6 million US households over the period 2008-2012. The database allows analysis of footprints for 52 types of consumption (e.g. electricity, gasoline, apparel, beef, air travel, etc.) within and across geographic regions as small as individual census tracts. Potential research applications with respect to carbon pricing and tax policy are discussed. Preliminary analysis reveals:
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Jesse Lueders, Cara Horowitz, Ann Carlson, Sean B. Hecht, Edward A. Parson
  • Publication Date: 11-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: For the last several years, California has considered the idea of recognizing, within its greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program, offsets generated by foreign states and provinces through reduced tropical forest destruction and degradation and related conservation and sustainability efforts, known as REDD+. During their deliberations on the issue, state policymakers have heard arguments from stakeholders in favor of crediting REDD+ offsets, and those against. After years of planning and cooperative efforts undertaken with states in Brazil, Mexico, and elsewhere, California is still determining whether to embrace REDD+ offsets. The most salient and potentially persuasive arguments in favor stem from the opportunity to influence and reduce international forest-related emissions contributing to climate change, while simultaneously reducing the costs imposed by the state's climate change law. The state is still grappling, however, with serious questions about the effectiveness of REDD+ in addressing climate change, as well as the impacts of REDD+ on other social and environmental objectives. The suitability of the state's cap-and-trade program as a tool for reducing emissions outside the state, given the co-benefits that accrue to local communities from in-state reductions, remains another key area of debate. The outcome of this policy discussion will depend on interrelated questions of program design, future offset supply and demand, and the weight given to the importance of prioritizing in-state emissions reductions and co-benefits.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Natural Resources
  • Political Geography: United States, Brazil, California, Mexico
  • Author: Nigel Purvis, Abigail Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Worldwide, about 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity (one in five people), while unreliable electricity networks serve another 1 billion people. Roughly 2.7 billion—about 40 percent of the global population—lack access to clean cooking fuels. Instead, dirty, sometimes scarce and expensive fuels such as kerosene, candles, wood, animal waste, and crop residues power the lives of the energy poor, who pay disproportionately high costs and receive very poor quality in return. More than 95 percent of the energy poor are either in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, while 84 percent are in rural areas—the same regions that are the most vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Development, Economics, Energy Policy, Environment, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Asia
  • Author: David Wheelter, Saurabh Shome
  • Publication Date: 03-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: Until recently, India's intransigent negotiating posture has conveyed the impression that it will not accept any carbon emissions limits without full compensation and more stringent carbon limitation from rich countries. However, our assessment of India's proposed renewable energy standard (RES) indicates that this impression is simply wrong. India is seriously considering a goal of 15 percent renewable energy in its power mix by 2020, despite the absence of any meaningful international pressure to cut emissions, no guarantees of compensatory financing, and a continuing American failure to adopt stringent emissions limits. If India moves ahead with this plan, it will promote a massive shift of new power capacity toward renewables within a decade. We estimate the incremental cost of this change from coal-fired to renewable power to be about $50 billion-an enormous sum for a society that must still cope with widespread extreme poverty. If India moves ahead with its current plan, it should give serious pause to those who have resisted U.S. carbon regulation on the grounds on that it will confer a cost advantage on "intransigent" countries such as India.
  • Topic: Energy Policy, Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, America, India
  • Author: David Wheeler
  • Publication Date: 12-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Global Development
  • Abstract: The failure of carbon regulation in the U.S. Congress has undermined international negotiations to reduce carbon emissions. The global stalemate has, in turn, increased the likelihood that vulnerable developing countries will be severely damaged by climate change. This paper asks why the tragic American impasse has occurred, while the EU has succeeded in implementing carbon regulation. Both cases have involved negotiations between relatively rich “Green” regions and relatively poor “Brown” (carbon-intensive) regions, with success contingent on two factors: the interregional disparity in carbon intensity, which proxies the extra mitigation cost burden for the Brown region, and the compensating incentives provided by the Green region. The European negotiation has succeeded because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is relatively small, and the compensating incentive (EU membership for the Brown region) has been huge. In contrast, the U.S. negotiation has repeatedly failed because the interregional disparity in carbon intensity is huge, and the compensating incentives have been modest at best. The unsettling implication is that an EU-style arrangement is infeasible in the United States, so the Green states will have to find another path to serious carbon mitigation. One option is mitigation within their own boundaries, through clean technology subsidies or emissions regulation. The Green states have undertaken such measures, but potential free-riding by the Brown states and international competitors seems likely to limit this approach, and it would address only the modest Green-state portion of U.S. carbon emissions in any case. The second option is mobilization of the Green states' enormous market power through a carbon added tax (CAT). Rather than taxing carbon emissions at their points of production, a CAT taxes the carbon embodied in products at their points of consumption. For Green states, a CAT has four major advantages: It can be implemented unilaterally, state-by-state; it encourages clean production everywhere, by taxing carbon from all sources equally; it creates a market advantage for local producers, by taxing transport-related carbon emissions; and it offers fiscal flexibility, since it can either offset existing taxes or raise additional revenue.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Energy Policy, Environment, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe