Energy & Environment

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Access to affordable energy is a key driver of economic growth and quality of life for American businesses and families. However, our current energy sources impose concealed costs on society from adverse health impacts, constrained foreign policy objectives, and environmental damages that reduce our quality of life. Indeed, the environmental and health costs alone amount to over $240 billion a year. The Hamilton Project explores innovative policies to more appropriately price the use of energy to compete on a transparent and level playing field, advance research, develop new energy technologies, and improve long-run well-being.


Related to Energy & Environment

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Tidal Wave or Drop in the Bucket? Differences in Water Use Across the United States

Papers • November 2014 • Benjamin H. Harris, Brad Hershbein, Melissa S. Kearney

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. 

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

Papers • October 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Brad Hershbein

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.

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Shopping for Water: How the Market Can Mitigate Water Shortages in the American West

Papers • October 2014 • Peter Culp, Robert Glennon, Gary Libecap

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.

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The Path to Water Innovation

Papers • October 2014 • Newsha Ajami, Barton “Buzz” Thompson, David Victor

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.

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Tomorrow’s Catch: A Proposal to Strengthen the Economic Sustainability of U.S. Fisheries

Papers • September 2014 • Christopher Costello

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.

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

Papers • September 2014 • Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Brad Hershbein

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.

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The Hamilton Project Policy Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address

Papers • January 2014

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.

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Reforming Federal Support for Risky Development

Papers • February 2013 • David R. Conrad, Edward A. Thomas

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.

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The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax

Papers • February 2013 • Adele Morris

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.

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Eliminating Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Papers • February 2013 • Joseph E. Aldy

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.

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Private and Social Costs of Electricity Generation by Source

May 18, 2011 • Charts

When energy sources are priced, including the social costs – environmental degregation and health risks, different winners and losers come out than when prices are simply those shown at the pump. 

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Counties Not Meeting Clean Air Act Standards

May 6, 2011 • Charts

The map above shows counties designated “non-attainment” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency because their pollution concentrations of specific contaminants exceeded the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

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The True Costs of Alternative Energy Sources: Are We Unfairly Penalizing Natural Gas?

April 26, 2012 • Michael Greenstone

Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on America's energy choices, and how social costs mask the true costs of some of our energy choices.

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The Importance of Research and Development (R&D) for U.S. Competitiveness and a Clean Energy Future

July 27, 2010 • Michael Greenstone

Michael Greenstone's recent testimony before the Joint Economic Committee on the importance of Research and Development (R&D).

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Liability and Financial Responsibility for Oil Spills Under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and Related Statutes

June 9, 2010 • Michael Greenstone

Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone’s testimony before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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The Threat to Free Trade Posed by Climate Change Policy

September 19, 2008 • Jason E. Bordoff

Hamilton Project Policy Director Jason Bordoff’s remarks to the Geneva Trade and Development Forum.

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Auction vs. Allocation: Distributing Emission Credits Under a Cap-and-Trade System

April 9, 2008 • Jason E. Bordoff

In a presentation before the Select Committee on Global Warming and Energy Independence, Hamilton Project Policy Director Jason Bordoff discussed the economic costs of various approaches to Cap-and-Trade.

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An Economic Strategy for Addressing Climate Change in the United States

February 1, 2008 • Jason E. Bordoff

Jason Bordoff's prepared remarks in Tokyo, Japan.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy

October 20, 2014 • Palo Alto, CA

Water is critical to America’s social, economic, and ecological well-being. Yet, more than 70 percent of the western United States is in the grip of an ongoing drought that shows no signs of ending. On October 20th, The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving water management in the United States in the face of scarce water supplies. Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg gave welcoming remarks, followed by an introduction and roadmap of the event by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin. 

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The Economic Costs of Climate Change

September 22, 2014 • Washington, DC

There is growing public debate over whether, when, and to what extent policymakers should take action to stem climate change. On September 22nd, The Hamilton Project at Brookings will host a forum to explore the economics of climate change, and the potential costs of inaction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. U.S Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew will give keynote remarks, followed by a roundtable discussion with Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chair of the Council on Foreign Relations and former U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Michael Greenstone, The Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago. 

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Casting the Net: A More Efficient Approach to U.S. Fisheries Management

September 10, 2014 • Washington, DC

The fishing industry contributes about $90 billion annually to the U.S. economy, and over one and a half million jobs for American workers. Many coastal communities depend on the fishing industry to sustain their local economies. On September 10th, The Hamilton Project released new papers and hosted a forum to explore opportunities for improving the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of the U.S. fishing industry.
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Real Specifics:  15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget—Part II:  Addressing Entitlements, Taxation, and Revenues

February 26, 2013 • Washington, DC

On February 26th, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum featuring a diverse group of experts from around the country who discussed 13 targeted policy proposals that were released that day on reforming entitlement spending, tax reform, and how to create new sources of revenue and efficiency. The proposals provide specific strategies on how lawmakers can address many different areas of the budget, and address options to reduce both mandatory and discretionary spending.

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New Directions for U.S. Energy Policy: A Hamilton Project Forum at Stanford University

June 13, 2012 • Stanford, CA

The U.S. energy system is benefiting from an unprecedented increase in North American supplies of natural gas and petroleum.  These changes are strengthening our economy and altering the relationships between our energy choices and health, climate change, and national security.  On June 13th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings held an event at Stanford University to explore how to best manage these opportunities while achieving our long-term energy and environmental goals.
 

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America’s Energy Future: New Solutions to Fuel Economic Growth and Prosperity

May 18, 2011 • Washington, DC

America’s current energy system poses long-term threats to national security, health, and the environment. On May 18, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum on America’s energy future, focusing on strategies to give all energy sources equal footing in the marketplace and expand America’s opportunities to utilize cleaner, low-cost sources of energy. 

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A Climate of Change: Economic Approaches to Reforming Energy and Protecting the Environment

October 30, 2007 • Washington, DC

The Hamilton Project hosted a forum highlighting a new strategy paper and two new discussion papers on how to best design market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including proposals to expand the federal R&D program to better promote the development of new greenhouse gas-reducing technologies.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy Photos

October 20, 2014 • Photo Galleries

On Monday, October 20th, The Hamilton Project partnered with the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment to host a forum, “New Directions for U.S. Water Policy,” in Palo Alto, California. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin opened the forum. California Governor Jerry Brown gave featured remarks. Three panels of experts discussed the potential for market mechanisms to improve our country’s water management systems; opportunities to promote water innovation; and the impact of climate change on America’s water resources.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Welcome Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment gathered policymakers, industry leaders and academic experts to discuss current economic and environmental issues in U.S. water use and policy. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg opened the forum with welcoming remarks, and introduced former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Introduction Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving water management in the United States in the face of scarce water supplies. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin gave an introduction and roadmap of the event, and introduced California Governor Jerry Brown.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Featured Remarks by Governor Jerry Brown Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment joined forces on October 20th to gather experts on the topic of water policy, drought and climate change in the United States. California Governor Jerry Brown gave featured remarks on the landscape of water in the West, and emphasized his comittment to making water a "key issue." 

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Panel 1 Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment released new papers and held a forum focused on innovative policy recommendations to address the water crisis in the United States. The first panel opened with a discussion on the potential for market mechanisms to improve our country’s water management systems. Robert Glennon of the University of Arizona presented a new proposal and was joined in a roundtable discussion by Thomas Iseman of the U.S. Department of the Interior, William Phillimore of Paramount Farming Company, James Lochhead of Denver Water, and Ellen Hanak of the Public Policy Institute of California. Melissa Kearney of The Hamilton Project moderated the discussion.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Panel 2 Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

Solutions to the country’s growing water challenges lie, in part, with the development and adoption of new innovative technologies, suggests the authors of a new paper for The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. On October 20th, the co-author Buzz Thompson of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment presented a new proposal to spur water innovation, and was joined in a roundtable discussion by Tamin Pechet of Banyan Water, Michael Markus of the Orange County Water District, and Peter Yolles of Water Smart Software. Roger Altman of Evercore moderated the discussion.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Panel 3 Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted an event focused on innovative policy ideas to address water scarcity in the United States. The third panel discussion focused on the impact of climate change on America's water resources. Investor, Philanthropist and Advanced Energy Advocate Thomas Steyer moderated a discussion that included Noah Diffenbaugh of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, Peter Gleick of The Pacific Institute, Wade Crowfoot of the Office of California Governor Jerry Brown, and Solomon Hsiang of UC Berkely. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin introduced the panel.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Closing Remarks Audio

October 20, 2014 • Audio

Water is a critical input to our economy and essential to the environment, emphasized Steven Denning, Chairman of General Atlantic and Chairman of the Board of Stanford University, during his closing remarks at The Hamilton Project/Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment's forum on October 20th. Denning delivered closing remarks and summarized the key topics discussed throughout the forum.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Welcome Video

October 20, 2014 • Video

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment gathered policymakers, industry leaders and academic experts to discuss current economic and environmental issues in U.S. water use and policy. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg opened the forum with welcoming remarks, and introduced former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.

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New Directions for U.S. Water Policy: Introduction Video

October 20, 2014 • Video

On October 20th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings and the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment hosted a forum and released new papers highlighting opportunities for improving water management in the United States in the face of scarce water supplies. Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin gave an introduction and roadmap of the event, and introduced California Governor Jerry Brown.

Hamilton Project Updates

A periodic newsletter of events, policy briefs, and working papers from The Hamilton Project.