You have JavaScript turned off! Javascript is required for the best experience on this site.

All Papers: Energy & Environment:

Policy Proposal Mar 27, 2017

The Next Generation of Transportation Policy

In this paper, Greenstone, Sunstein and Ori propose two major steps towards simplifying fuel efficiency standards and refocusing the program on achieving guaranteed emissions reductions at lower cost to automakers. First, they propose targeting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions directly, without differentiating by vehicle types and sizes, using data to project a given vehicle’s lifetime greenhouse gas emissions. Second they recommend establishing a robust cap-and-trade market to reduce compliance costs for automakers while providing considerably more certainty about the future path of carbon dioxide emissions. 

Policy Proposal Mar 27, 2017

Protecting Urban Places and Populations from Rising Climate Risk

This paper proposes three complementary policies for enhancing urban resilience to new climate risk. The first focuses on improving key urban infrastructure. The second addresses the urban poor, who are the most vulnerable in the face of climate change risks. The third proposal aims to reduce the cost of adaptation through better-functioning markets, and to allow prices of natural resources, energy, and coastal insurance to reflect true conditions.

Policy Proposal Dec 8, 2016

Federal Minerals Leasing Reform and Climate Policy

Over the past two decades Democratic and Republican administrations have taken steps to reduce U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions by reducing use of fossil fuels. Despite growing public attention to the climate consequences of fossil fuel extraction, U.S. climate policy so far has not extended to the government’s role as a major source of fossil fuels. Kenneth Gillingham and James Stock propose to incorporate climate considerations into federal coal leasing by placing a royalty adder on federal coal that is linked to the climate damages from its combustion. A royalty adder set to 20 percent of the social cost of carbon would reduce total power sector emissions, raise the price of federal coal to align it with coal mined on private land, increase coal mining employment in Appalachia and the Midwest, and provide additional government revenues to help coal communities.

Economic Facts Oct 14, 2014

In Times of Drought: Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States

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.

Policy Proposal Oct 14, 2014

The Path to Water Innovation

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.

Strategy Paper Sep 3, 2014

What’s the Catch? Challenges and Opportunities of the U.S. Fishing Industry

In this framing paper, 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.

Policy Proposal Feb 25, 2013

Eliminating Fossil Fuel Subsidies

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.

Policy Proposal May 18, 2011

A Better Approach to Environmental Regulation: Getting the Costs and Benefits Right

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.

Strategy Paper May 18, 2011

A Strategy for America’s Energy Future: Illuminating Energy’s Full Costs

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.