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Blog Posts: Energy & Environment

Blog Post Mar 24, 2017

The Economic and Policy Context for Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—and primarily CO2 emissions—have meaningfully contributed to the warming the globe has experienced so far, and are expected to cause a damaging level of warming in coming decades. However, it remains uncertain whether policy makers around the world will be successful in responding to the threat of climate change. In this blog, the authors explore the role of the U.S. as a net carbon dioxide importer and evaluate how policy actions following the 2015 Paris Agreement are expected to mitigate growth in global GHG emissions.

Blog Post Sep 23, 2014

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew Details Economic Costs of Climate Change at Hamilton Project Forum

"As an economic matter, the cost of inaction or delay is far greater than the cost of action" on climate change, said U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in a forum hosted by The Hamilton Project yesterday. Secretary Lew was joined by former Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, co-chair of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael Greenstone, The Milton Friedman Professor in Economics and Director of the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago, to explore the economics of climate change, and the potential costs of inaction to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Blog Post Sep 3, 2014

Economic Contributions of the U.S. Fishing Industry

A founding principle of The Hamilton Project’s economic strategy is that long-term prosperity is best achieved in a changing global economy by promoting sustainable, broadly shared economic growth. One important way to fulfill the goals of this strategy is to encourage the efficient use of our nation’s natural resources. This fall, The Hamilton Project will release new papers and host forums on this topic, with a specific focus on U.S. fisheries in September, and on America’s water crisis in October.

Blog Post Jul 23, 2013

What does a Republican-friendly carbon tax look like?

A recent Responding to Climate Change blog post discusses The Hamilton Project's "The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax," in which Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution proposes a carbon tax as a new source of revenue that could also help address climate change. The blog post quotes Morris who highlighted the budgetary benefits under her proposal, which would implement a tax of $16 per ton of CO2 and increase it by 4 percent plus inflation each year. She said, “As the tax goes up over time there could be additional revenue that could be used to reduce the budget deficit.” To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jul 3, 2013

The War on Coal Is Good For the Economy..And Bad for Coal Miners And The Towns That Depend On Them

In a recent column in Forbes, Richard Green discusses a chart on the private and social costs of electricity generation by source from The Hamilton Project’s strategy paper, “A Strategy for America’s Energy Future: Illuminating Energy’s Full Costs.” In the paper, The Hamilton Project provides 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. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jun 5, 2013

U.S. steps up natural gas exports

In a recent CNNMoney article on natural gas exports, Steve Hargreaves cites findings from a Hamilton Project paper, “A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports.” In the paper, 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.Hargreaves quotes from the paper, highlighting Levi’s conclusion that “[DOE] should say yes, within prudent limits, and leverage U.S. exports for broader gain.” To read the full article, click here.

Blog Post May 8, 2013

Carbon tax is best option Congress has

A recent Washington Post editorial on tax reform suggests “a carbon tax is one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.” The editorial highlights the Hamilton Project's "The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax," in which Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution proposes a carbon tax as a new source of revenue that could also help address climate change.” The editorial notes Morris’ finding that even a modest carbon tax could help reduce the federal budget deficit by almost a trillion dollars over two decades. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Apr 29, 2013

Geopolitical Consequences of U.S. Natural Gas Exports

In a recent testimony before a subcommittee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations discussed findings from his Hamilton Project proposal, “A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports.” In the paper, Levi 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. To read his full testimony, click here.

Blog Post Mar 19, 2013

Solar player emerges as natural gas export’s unlikely champion

In a recent blog post on PV Tech’s “Editor’s Blog,” Felicity Carus discusses the debate surrounding natural gas exports. She highlights The Hamilton Project’s “A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports,” in which 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. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Mar 14, 2013

The Democrats’ Exceedingly Timid Budget

In a “Moneybox” post comparing budget proposals released this week by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan and Senate Democrats, Slate’s Matthew Yglesias discusses The Hamilton Project’s “15 Ways to Rethink the Federal Budget,” which includes pragmatic, evidenced-based proposals that would reduce the deficit and while also bringing broader economic benefits. Yglesias highlights two of the proposals: “The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax,” by Adele Morris; and “Funding Transportation Infrastructure with User Fees ,” by Tyler Duvall and Jack Basso. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Mar 4, 2013

Breaking the logjam

A recent Washington Post editorial highlights the Hamilton Project's "The Many Benefits of a Carbon Tax," in which Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution 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. The editorial argues that the plan should be politically attractive to both parties as it would "cut future deficits, slash taxes, eliminate wasteful government spending and reduce climate change." To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Jan 24, 2013

Odd Couple: Will Dow Chemical and Ed Markey’s Opposition to Natural Gas Exports Cripple America’s Energy Advantage?

The Department of Energy’s recent analysis that found exporting liquid natural gas would benefit the U.S. economy echoes findings in a Hamilton Project discussion paper by Michael Levi, according to Forbes’ Jon Entine. In the paper, “A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports,” Levi suggests that Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should approve export applications to help promote U.S. trade and foreign policy agenda, arguing the upsides of exports outweigh the costs as long as the government acts to mitigate risk. Entine notes that the DOE report has been endorsed by many industry groups and represents a “rare instance in which liberals and conservatives as well as industry and thoughtful environmentalists mostly agree.” Read the full piece here.

Blog Post Jan 7, 2013

Exports of American Natural Gas May Fall Short of High Hopes

Clifford Krauss in a recent New York Times article reports on some challenges facing efforts to export American natural gas, and suggests that the global demand for unleashed shale gas could taper off. In a recent Hamilton Project discussion paper, “A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports,” Michael Levi suggests that Department and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should approve export applications to help promote U.S. trade and foreign policy agenda, arguing the upsides of exports outweigh the costs as long as the government acts to mitigate risk. Read the full piece here.

Blog Post Jan 2, 2013

2012: The Year in Graphs

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog highlights work from The Hamilton Project and selections by several Advisory Council members in its feature titled, “2012: The Year in Graphs.” The piece quotes Hamilton Project Director Michael Greenstone and highlights two graphs from The Project on costs associated with various sources of electricity generation and the change in family earnings of children. Wonkblog also quotes Advisory Council members Robert Greenstein, Peter Orszag and Alice Rivlin who weigh in on charts and graphs they felt best represented the year. To read the full piece, click here.

Blog Post Dec 6, 2012

U.S. Gas Exports Clear Hurdle

The WSJ reports today on a new Energy Information Administration study finding that natural gas exports could benefit the U.S. economy. In a recent Hamilton Project paper, Michael Levi proposes assessing the merits of allowing natural gas exports along six dimensions: macroeconomic (including output, jobs, and balance of trade), distributional, oil security, climate change, foreign and trade policy, and local environment. In doing so, he finds that the likely benefits of allowing exports outweigh the costs of constraining them, assuming the appropriate environmental protections are in place.

Blog Post Nov 14, 2012

The economics of global climate leadership

Ryan Avent in The Economist’s “Free Exchange” argues that the most notable part of the latest World Energy Outlook report is the expected shifts in energy supply and demand. He notes that new techniques, including hydraulic fracturing or fracking, will make the U.S. an net exporter of energy within the next few decades, which will have large effects on energy trade. In the Hamilton Project discussion paper, “Modernizing Bonding Requirements for Natural Gas Producers,” UC Berkley’s Lucas Davis argues that fracking could provide significant benefits to the nation’s economy, but suggests this and other technological advances raise many environmental concerns. To ensure funds are available for clean-up when natural gas accidents occur, Davis discusses 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.

Blog Post Nov 8, 2012

Obama could put heat on drillers but stall gas exports

Analysts expect President Obama will pursue tougher energy regulations early in his second term, but say he is likely to put off a decision on natural gas exports, according to an article in Reuters by Timothy Gardner. Many opponents of natural gas exports say it could lead to increased fuel costs and conflict with domestic manufacturing efforts. Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations in a Hamilton Project discussion paper, "A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports,” 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. Read the full paper here.

Blog Post Oct 31, 2012

Stephen G. Rosentel: Natural gas prices may rise unexpectedly

Stephen G. Rosentel in an opinion piece on an energy strategy released earlier this month by Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and the state’s Department of Environment and Energy Commissioner Daniel C. Esty highlights The Hamilton Project paper, "A Strategy for U.S. Natural Gas Exports,” in which 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.