Publications by Author: Robert N. Stavins

2019
Mehling, Michael A., Gilbert E. Metcalf, and Robert N. Stavins. “Linking Heterogeneous Climate Policies (Consistent with the Paris Agreement).Environmental Law 8, no. 4 (2019): 647–698.Abstract
The Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has achieved one of two key necessary conditions for ultimate success—a broad base of participation among the countries of the world. But another key necessary condition has yet to be achieved—adequate collective ambition of the individual nationally determined contributions. How can the climate negotiators provide a structure that will include incentives to increase ambition over time? An important part of the answer can be international linkage of regional, national, and sub-national policies, that is, formal recognition of emission reductions undertaken in another jurisdiction for the purpose of meeting a Party’s own mitigation objectives. A central challenge is how to facilitate such linkage in the context of the very great heterogeneity that characterizes climate policies along five dimensions: type of policy instrument, level of government jurisdiction, status of that jurisdiction under the Paris Agreement, nature of the policy instrument’s target, and the nature along several dimensions of each Party’s Nationally Determined Contribution. We consider such heterogeneity among policies, and identify which linkages of various combinations of characteristics are feasible; of these, which are most promising; and what accounting mechanisms would make the operation of respective linkages consistent with the Paris Agreement.
linking_heterogeneous_climate_policies_consistent_with_the_paris_agreement_in_journal_january_2019_002.pdf
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2017
Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?Oxford Review of Economic Policy 33, no. 4 (2017): 572-588.Abstract
This article reviews the design of environmental markets for pollution control over the past 30 years, and identifies key market-design lessons for future applications. The focus is on a subset of the cap-and-trade systems that have been implemented, planned, or proposed around the world. Three criteria led us to the selection of systems for review. First, among the broader class of tradable permit systems, our focus is exclusively on cap-and-trade mechanisms, thereby excluding emission-reduction-credit or offset programmes. Second, among cap-and-trade mechanisms, we examine only those that target pollution abatement, and so we do not include applications to natural resource management, such as individual transferable quota systems used to regulate fisheries. Third, we focus on the most prominent applications—those that are particularly important environmentally, economically, or both.
The Design of Environmental Markets: What Have We Learned From Experience With Cap and Trade?
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Stavins, Robert N.What Have We Learned from 30 Years of Cap-and-Trade Programs?The Environmental Forum 34, no. 6 (2017): 15. What Have We Learned from 30 Years of Cap-and-Trade Programs?
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Mehling, Michael A., Gilbert E. Metcalf, and Robert N. Stavins. “Linking Heterogeneous Climate Policies (Consistent with the Paris Agreement).” Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, 2017.Abstract
The Paris Agreement has achieved one of two key necessary conditions for ultimate success – a broad base of participation among the countries of the world. But another key necessary condition has yet to be achieved – adequate collective ambition of the individual nationally determined contributions. How can the climate negotiators provide a structure that will include incentives to increase ambition over time? An important part of the answer can be international linkage of regional, national, and subnational policies, that is, formal recognition of emission reductions undertaken in another jurisdiction for the purpose of meeting a Party’s own mitigation objectives. A central challenge is how to facilitate such linkage in the context of the very great heterogeneity that characterizes climate policies along five dimensions – type of policy instrument; level of government jurisdiction; status of that jurisdiction under the Paris Agreement; nature of the policy instrument’s target; and the nature along several dimensions of each Party’s Nationally Determined Contribution. We consider such heterogeneity among policies, and identify which linkages of various combinations of characteristics are feasible; of these, which are most promising; and what accounting mechanisms would make the operation of respective linkages consistent with the Paris Agreement.
MMS_linking_heterogeneous.pdf
Stavins, Robert N.Authority, Credibility, Influence: What U.S. Loses in Paris Pullout.” The Environmental Forum 34, no. 5 (2017): 17. column_80.pdf
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Stavins, Robert N.The Economics (and Politics) of Trump's Paris Withdrawal.” PBS NewsHour (2017). Publisher's VersionAbstract
The announcement by President Trump that he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement was based neither on real science nor sound economics.
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Stavins, Robert N.Goodbye Paris, Hello Nicaragua: Why Trump’s Withdrawl From The Climate Accord Is Bad For America.” WGBH News (2017). Publisher's VersionAbstract
President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement was both confused and misguided, and his justifications were, for the most part, false.
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Stavins, Robert N.Will the Trump Administration Realize the Many Benefits of Paris?The Environmental Forum 34, no. 4 (2017): 17. column_79.pdf
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Stavins, Robert N.Why Trump Pulled the U.S. Out of the Paris Accord.” Foreign Affairs (2017). Publisher's VersionAbstract
Trump’s decision to withdraw the nation from the Paris climate agreement was not based on science or sound economics, but on a confused, misguided, and simply dishonest desire to score some short-term political points with his voters. What he sacrifices in the long term will be immensely more difficult for the country to win back at the ballot box: authority, credibility, and influence.
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Stavins, Robert N.California’s Climate-Change Advances Could Be Jeopardized by Ill-Conceived Senate Bill.” The Sacramento Bee (2017). Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.The Evolution of Environmental Economics: A View from the Inside.” The Singapore Economic Review 62, no. 2 (2017): 251–274. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This essay provides one economist’s perspective on the two-decade evolution of the field of environmental economics, by tracing it through personal reflections on the professional path that has led to my research and writing. Also, the article summarizes the highlights of some of my research and writing during this period.

stavins_singapore_economic_review.pdf

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Ki-moon, Ban, and Robert N. Stavins. “Why the US Should Stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.” The Boston Globe (2017). Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.Is President Trump’s Climate Policy an Oxymoron?The Environmental Forum 34, no. 3 (2017): 17. column_78.pdf

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Schmalensee, Richard, and Robert N. Stavins. “Lessons Learned from Three Decades of Experience with Cap and Trade.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 11, no. 1 (2017): 59–79. Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.California Steps Forward on Climate but Emphasizes a Poor Policy Choice.” The Environmental Forum 34, no. 2 (2017): 15. column_77.pdf

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Stavins, Robert N.Onerous for Experts, IPCC Process in Danger of Becoming Politicized.” The Environmental Forum 34, no. 1 (2017): 15. column_76.pdf

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2016
Stavins, Robert N.What Does Trump’s Victory Mean for Climate Change Policy?PBS NewsHour, 2016. Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.Goodbye to the Climate.” The New York Times, 2016, sec. Op-Ed. Publisher's VersionAbstract

If Trump lives up to his campaign rhetoric, the country’s efforts to reverse climate change will themselves be reversed....

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Goulder, Lawrence H., and Robert N. Stavins. “New Emissions Targets Make Cap and Trade the Best Low-Cost, Market-Based Approach.” The Sacramento Bee, 2016. Publisher's Version

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Stavins, Robert N.A Key Challenge for Sustained Success of the Paris Agreement.” The Environmental Forum 33, no. 6 (2016): 15. column_75.pdf

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