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A climate of change: Economic approaches to reforming energy and protecting the environment

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

On October 30, 2007, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a two-part forum on mitigating climate change through market mechanisms and new technologies. In addition to the release of a new Hamilton Project strategy paper, the forum highlighted two new discussion papers on how to best design market mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will include proposals to expand — and possibly restructure — the federal research and development program to better promote the development of new greenhouse gas-reducing technologies.

Former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin and Hamilton Project Director Jason Furman, also a Brookings Senior Fellow, opened the event with a special award presentation, followed with opening remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence H. Summers on economic approaches to energy security and climate change, the subject of the new strategy paper.

The new Hamilton Project strategy paper argues that the best way to address climate change is to give the private sector the right incentives to undertake emissions reductions. At the same time, the strategy calls for policies to protect low- and middle-income families from the consequences of higher energy prices.

The two new discussion papers feature alternate views on how to best harness market forces to protect the environment. Gilbert E. Metcalf of Tufts University discussed his proposal for a carbon tax and Robert N. Stavins of Harvard University presented his proposal for a cap-and-trade system. John Deutch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and John Podesta of the Center for American Progress discussed their recent proposal for a new federal research and development strategy, and Richard Newell, of Duke University and Resources for the Future, shared his ideas for creating science and technology policies that would enable new technologies to work effectively.


Welcome and Special Presentation

Jason Furman
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

Robert E. Rubin
Citigroup, Inc.

Presentation: An Economic Approach to Energy Security and Climate Change

Lawrence H. Summers
Harvard University

Panel Discussion: Creating a Green Market: How to Best Price Carbon

Jason Furman
Senior Fellow, Economic Studies

Kathleen McGinty
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

Gilbert E. Metcalf
Tufts University

Robert N. Stavins
Harvard University

Moderator: Sebastian Mallaby
Council on Foreign Relations

Panel Discussion: Warming Up to New Technologies: Innovating Our Way to a Stable Climate

John Deutch
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Kelly Sims Gallagher
Harvard University

Richard G. Newell
Duke University

John Podesta
Center for American Progress

David B. Sandalow
Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy

Moderator: Roger C. Altman
Evercore Partners