In his 2015 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama emphasized the need to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American: especially low- and middle-income citizens. The Hamilton Project highlights policy proposals that are most relevant to the goals and ideas explicitly promoted in the speech and reflective of the current policy context. These proposals offer smart, actionable ways forward on each of the particular policy goals.
Papers: Energy & Environment
Order by: Date, Title
Using newly released data, The Hamilton Project presents an economic analysis and a new interactive feature to illustrate the great variation in the level and nature of water use across the country.
The water crisis is as much an economic issue as it is an environmental one, and it demands focused national attention. This Hamilton Project policy memo presents nine economic facts about water in the United States, focusing on relevant background context to the water crisis as well as on supply and demand issues. This memo underscores three topics: the occurrence of drought in the United States, the importance of water to the U.S. economy, and barriers to efficient uses of water.
In the face of a severe drought in the West, new approaches are required to mitigate the risk of water shortages. In this Hamilton Project paper, Peter Culp, Robert Glennon and Gary Libecap present five proposals to encourage the use of market mechanisms to increase flexibility and resiliency in water management.
The United States’ aging water infrastructure will be increasingly strained by population growth, economic expansion, and the effects of climate change. In this Hamilton Project paper, Newsha K. Ajami, Barton H. Thompson, Jr., and David G. Victor suggest that solutions to the country’s growing water challenges lie, in part, with the development and adoption of new innovative technologies. The authors present three policy and regulation recommendations to facilitate greater innovation in the water sector.
In this Hamilton Project discussion paper, Christopher Costello of the University of California, Santa Barbara proposes that certain fisheries conduct an analysis of alternative fishery management structures, including different forms of catch shares, to improve the economic value of U.S. fisheries.
In this policy memo, The Hamilton Project highlights the economic significance of U.S. fisheries, describes the current landscape of the industry and typical management practices, and explains the “tragedy of the commons” challenge facing this natural resource. The Project also explores possible approaches for improving the economic and ecological sustainability of U.S. fisheries by establishing better-defined property rights as an alternative to traditional management systems.
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama spoke of a “breakthrough year for America” and foreshadowed a “year of action.” He focused on ways to expand opportunities for Americans by enhancing employment and education options for low-and middle-income citizens, developing more robust worker training programs, investing in America through infrastructure investments and energy innovation, the importance of making progress on immigration reform, and more. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to addressing many of the policy priorities set forth in the Presidents address.
David Conrad and Ed Thomas explore how the National Flood Insurance Program and other federal disaster relief programs could be reformed to better align the costs and benefits of living in disaster-prone areas and help put the budget on more sound footing. This proposal aims to reduce budget costs of natural disasters and reduce risk to life and property of Americans living in disaster-prone areas.
Adele Morris proposes a carbon tax as a new source of revenue that could also help address climate change. She suggests that a carbon tax would reduce the buildup of greenhouse gasses, replace command-and-control regulations and expensive subsidies with transparent and powerful market-based incentives, and promote economic activity through reduced regulatory burden and lower marginal tax rates.
Limiting subsidies for fossil fuels could raise revenue for the federal government while also benefiting the environment. Joseph Aldy proposes eliminating twelve subsidies to help level the playing field among fossil fuel producers relative to other businesses, and lead to potentially lower global fuel prices by providing the United States with increased leverage in negotiations over eliminating fossil fuel subsides in the developing world.
In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama outlined an ambitious second-term agenda focusing on policies to help strengthen America’s middle class through broad-based economic growth. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has released a range of targeted policy proposals that provide innovative, evidence-based approaches to address many of the priorities set forth in this year’s address, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President this week.
To ensure funds are available for clean-up when natural gas accidents occur, Lucas Davis of UC Berkeley explores new approaches to bonding requirements for producers, including increasing federal minimum bond amounts and encouraging states to adopt similar minimum bond amounts for drilling on non-federal land.
Domestic natural gas is both cleaner and more affordable than oil, making it an attractive and practical alternative. In a new Hamilton Project paper, Christopher R. Knittel of MIT proposes a series of steps to promote natural gas in transportation.
Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations poses a framework for regulators to determine if exporting natural gas is in the public interest, arguing the upsides of exports outweigh the costs as long as the government acts to mitigate risk.
Energy Policy Opportunities and Continuing Challenges in the Presence of Increased Supplies of Natural Gas and Petroleum
A new Hamilton Project framing memo summarizes recent changes in the energy sector, and lays out five principles for shaping energy and environmental policy.
The Hamilton Project explores what increased domestic natural gas and oil production means for the American energy sector, the environment, and employment.
In the Spring issue of Daedalus, Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney draw from previous Hamilton Project research to examine the “true social cost” of current energy consumption - nearly three times the amount that appears on utility bills.
Last night, President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, putting forth his policy agenda to the 112th Congress on issues. Since its launch in 2006, The Hamilton Project has developed targeted policy proposals that touch on many of these areas, which we offer as a resource to policymakers in response to specific ideas mentioned by the President last evening.
Ted Gayer proposes three reforms addressing several problems that undermine the role played by cost-benefit analysis in environmental regulation: 1) agencies should use a check list of good empirical practices for using cost-benefit analysis; 2) regulators should presume that consumers can make their own energy-saving decisions and focus on regulations addressing harm people impose on others; and 3) a six-month, early regulatory review process should be established for particularly important regulations.
An Energy Technology Corporation Will Improve the Federal Government’s Efforts to Accelerate Energy Innovation
John M. Deutch proposes a series of best practices for government support of U.S. technology demonstration and a new institution, the Energy Technology Corporation, that would be responsible for managing and selecting technology demonstration projects.
Joseph E. Aldy proposes a national clean energy standard that would lower carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 60 percent relative to 2005 levels over twenty years, streamline the fragmented regulatory system that is currently in place, generate fiscal benefits, and help fund energy innovation.
America’s energy choices are built on the prices we see at the pump and our utility bills. Yet these prices mask the social costs arising from those energy choices, including shorter lives, higher health care expenses, a changing climate, and weakened national security. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney provide four principles for reforming America’s energy policies to help level the playing field for all energy sources — moving away from a system that favors energy sources with lower prices at the pump but higher costs to society through health impacts and our ongoing reliance on foreign oil.
Despite modest improvement in April jobs numbers, the job gap — the number of U.S. jobs that must be created to return to pre-recession levels — is just under 12 million. Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney also explore the impact of air pollution on long-term employment and the productivity of American workers.
Two market problems in addressing climate change are lack of private incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and underinvestment by industry in R&D. This proposal addresses these issues through permanent R&D tax credits and support for research institutions.
This paper lays out the arguments for using cap-and-trade to address climate change and proposes a system that includes an upstream cap on CO2, a gradual downward trajectory of emissions ceilings over time, and mechanisms to reduce cost uncertainty.
This paper describes a carbon tax swap that is revenue and distributionally neutral. The tax swap levies a tax on greenhouse gas emissions with revenue being used to fund a reduction in the income tax, tied to earned income.
This paper presents a strategy for addressing climate change and promoting energy security that includes pricing carbon and oil, investing in basic research on energy technologies, and engaging with other major emitting nations.
Browse Our Papers
Hamilton Project Updates
A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.