Publications

2012
Aldy, Joseph E, and Robert N Stavins. “Climate Negotiations Open a Window: Key Implications of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Project on Climate Agreements, 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

A key outcome of the Seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP-17) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Durban, South Africa, late in 2011 — the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action — represents an important milestone in the history of climate negotiations. This is because it departs from the long-standing and problematic dichotomous division of the world's countries into those with serious emissions-reduction responsibilities and the others — with no such responsibilities whatsoever. That distinction, now apparently abandoned, has prevented meaningful progress for decades. The Durban Platform — by replacing the Berlin Mandate's (1995) division of the world into a set of countries with ambitious responsibilities and another set of countries with no responsibilities — has opened an important window. National delegations from around the world now have a challenging task before them: to identify a new international climate policy architecture that is consistent with the process, pathway, and principles laid out in the Durban Platform, while still being consistent with the UNFCCC. The challenge is to find a way to include all key countries in a structure that brings about meaningful emission reduction on an appropriate timetable at acceptable cost, while recognizing the different circumstances of countries in a way that is more subtle, more sophisticated, and — most important — more effective than the dichotomous distinction of years past.

aldy_stavins_durban-brief_hpca.pdf

F-30

Aldy, Joseph E, and Robert N Stavins. “Climate Negotiators Create an Opportunity for Scholars.” Science 337 (2012): 1043–1044. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) launched a process to confront risks posed by global climate change. It has led to a dichotomy between countries with serious emission-reduction responsibilities and others with no responsibilities whatsoever. This has prevented progress, but recent talks suggest the prospect for a better way forward and an openness to outside-the-box thinking. Scholars and practitioners have a new opportunity to contribute innovative proposals for a future international climate policy architecture.

science-2012-aldy-1043-4.pdf

A-75

Stavins, Robert N. “Climate Policy: A Breath of Fresh Air.” The Environmental Forum 29 (2012): 14. column_49.pdf

D-100

Stavins, Robert N. “Did the Durban Meeting Succeed?The Environmental Forum 29 (2012): 14. column_47.pdf

D-98

Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings. Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Editions.
Stavins, Robert N. Economics of the Environment: Selected Readings. Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Editions.. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012.

B-9

Stavins, Robert N. “From Berlin to Durban to Doha.(development of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992).” The Environmental Forum 29 (2012): 14. column_51.pdf

D-103

Stavins, Robert N. “Independence is Important: Coase.(coase Theorem Applied to Carbon Emissions Cap and Trade Market System).” The Environmental Forum 29 (2012): 14. column_50.pdf

D-101

Stavins, Robert N, and Lawrence H Goulder. “Interactions between State and Federal Climate Change Policies.” In The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy, edited by Don Fullerton and Catherine Wolfram, 109–121. Cambridge, Massachusetts: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012. goulder_stavins_for_nber_climate_policy_book.pdf

C-31

Green, J, Dale Jorgenson, and Robert N Stavins. “Memorial Minute on the Life and Service of Robert Dorfman,” 2012. dorfman_memorial_minute.pdf

F-31

Stavins, Robert N. “Oenonomy: What's in a Wine's Name? (whether Vineyard Location Influences Selling Price).” The Environmental Forum 29 (2012): 14. column_48.pdf

D-99

Aldy, Joseph E, and Robert N Stavins. “The Promise and Problems of Pricing Carbon Theory and Experience.” The Journal of Environment & Development 21 (2012): 152–180. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Because of the global commons nature of climate change, international cooperation among nations will likely be necessary for meaningful action at the global level. At the same time, it will inevitably be up to the actions of sovereign nations to put in place policies that bring about meaningful reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases. Due to the ubiquity and diversity of emissions of greenhouse gases in most economies, as well as the variation in abatement costs among individual sources, conventional environmental policy approaches, such as uniform technology and performance standards, are unlikely to be sufficient to the task. Therefore, attention has increasingly turned to market-based instruments in the form of carbon-pricing mechanisms. We examine the opportunities and challenges associated with the major options for carbon pricing—carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, emission reduction credits, clean energy standards, and fossil fuel subsidy reductions—and provide a review of the experiences, drawn primarily from developed countries, in implementing these instruments. Our summary of relevant theory and survey of experience from industrialized nations may be helpful to those who wish to examine the potential applicability of carbon pricing in the context of developing countries.

aldy_stavins_pricing_carbon_in_jed.pdf

A-71

Stavins, Robert N. “Rahm's Doctrine Revisited, Revised: Democrats and Republicans Take Advantage of Crises to Push Their Agendas.” The Environmental Forum 29 (2012): 14. column_46.pdf

D-97

Chan, Gabriel, Robert N Stavins, Robert C Stowe, and Richard Sweeney. “The SO2 Allowance Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on Twenty Years of Policy Innovation.” Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Harvard Environmental Economics Program, 2012. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The introduction of the U.S. SO2 allowance-trading program to address the threat of acid rain as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 is a landmark event in the history of environmental regulation. The program was a great success by almost all measures. This paper, which draws upon a research workshop and a policy roundtable held at Harvard in May 2011, investigates critically the design, enactment, implementation, performance, and implications of this path-breaking application of economic thinking to environmental regulation. Ironically, cap and trade seems especially well suited to addressing the problem of climate change, in that emitted greenhouse gases are evenly distributed throughout the world’s atmosphere. Recent hostility toward cap and trade in debates about U.S. climate legislation may reflect the broader political environment of the climate debate more than the substantive merits of market-based regulation.

so2-brief.pdf

F-29

Chan, Gabriel, Robert Stavins, Robert Stowe, and Richard Sweeney. “The SO2 Allowance-Trading System and the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: Reflections on 20 Years of Policy Innovation.” National Tax Journal 65 (2012): 419–52. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The introduction of the U.S. SO2 allowance-trading program to address the threat of acid rain as part of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 is a landmark event in the history of environmental regulation. The program was a great success by almost all measures. This paper, which draws upon a research workshop and a policy roundtable held at Harvard in May 2011, investigates critically the design, enactment, implementation, performance, and implications of this path-breaking application of economic thinking to environmental regulation. Ironically, cap-and-trade seems especially well suited to addressing the problem of climate change, in that emitted greenhouse gases are evenly distributed throughout the world’s atmosphere. Recent hostility toward cap-and-trade in debates about U.S. climate legislation may reflect the broader political environment of the climate debate more than the substantive merits of market-based regulation.

chan_et_al_so2_article_national_tax_journal_2012.pdf

A-72

Olmstead, Sheila M, and Robert N Stavins. “Three Key Elements of a Post-2012 International Climate Policy Architecture.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 6 (2012): 65 –85. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This article describes three essential elements of an effective post-2012 international climate policy architecture: a framework to ensure that key industrialized and developing nations are involved in differentiated but meaningful ways, an emphasis on an extended time path for emissions targets, and the inclusion of flexible market-based policy instruments to keep costs down and facilitate international equity. This overall architecture is consistent with fundamental aspects of the science, economics, and politics of global climate change; addresses specific shortcomings of the Kyoto Protocol; and builds on the foundation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

olmstead_stavins_in_reep_symposium_published.pdf

A-68

Stavins, Robert N. “An Unambiguous Consequence of the Durban Climate Talks.” Green Orbis Magazine (2012): 24–31. durban.pdf

D-100a

Stavins, Robert N. “An Unambiguous Consequence of the Durban Climate Talks.” Review of Environment, Energy, and Economics (2012): 1-4. Publisher's VersionAbstract

One of the major outcomes of the Durban Climate Conference in 2011 was the 'Durban Platform for Enhanced Action' - a non-binding agreement to forge a new treaty by 2015 that will bring all countries under the same legal regime by 2020. This article will explain why the 'Durban Platform for Enhanced Action' has opened an important window in climate talks.

stavins_rev_env_energy_econ_march_2012.pdf

A-69

Aldy, Joseph E, and Robert N Stavins. “Using the Market to Address Climate Change: Insights from Theory & Experience.” Daedalus 141 (2012): 45–60. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Emissions of greenhouse gases linked with global climate change are affected by diverse aspects of economic activity, including individual consumption, business investment, and government spending. An effective climate policy will have to modify the decision calculus for these activities in the direction of more efficient generation and use of energy, lower carbon-intensity of energy, and a more carbon-lean economy. The only technically feasible and cost-effective approach to achieving this goal on a meaningful scale is carbon pricing: that is, market-based climate policies that place a shadow-price on carbon dioxide emissions. We examine alternative designs of three such instruments: carbon taxes, cap and trade, and clean energy standards. We note that the U.S. political response to possible market-based approaches to climate policy has been, and will continue to be, largely a function of issues and structural factors that transcend the scope of environmental and climate policy.

aldy_and_stavins_daedalus.pdf

A-70

2011
Stavins, Robert N. “Cancun Produces Meaningful Steps.” The Environmental Forum 28 (2011): 16. column_41.pdf

D-90

Stavins, Robert N. “A Century of Progress, Problems.(environmental Economics).” The Environmental Forum 28 (2011): 16. column_43.pdf

D-92

Pages