The possibility of “no cost” emission reductions has been raised by research on California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Here is a more sober assessment. Overly optimistic findings leave policymakers with inadequate appreciation of the stakes, and provide little insight into the relative cost of policy design alternatives.
There is growing impetus for a domestic US climate policy that can provide meaningful reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. I describe and analyse an up-stream, economy-wide CO2 cap-and-trade system which implements a gradual trajectory of emissions reductions (with inclusion over time of non-CO2 greenhouse gases), and includes mechanisms to reduce cost uncertainty. Initially, half of the allowances are allocated through auction and half through free distribution, with the share being auctioned gradually increasing to 100 per cent over 25 years. The system provides for linkage with emission-reduction credit projects in other countries, harmonization over time with effective cap-and-trade systems in other countries and regions, and appropriate linkage with actions taken in other countries, in order to establish a level playing field among domestically produced and imported products.
Business leaders, government officials, and academics are focusing considerable attention on the concept of “corporate social responsibility” (CSR), particularly in the realm of environmental protection. Beyond complete compliance with environmental regulations, do firms have additional moral or social responsibilities to commit resources to environmental protection? How should we think about the notion of firms sacrificing profits in the social interest? May they do so within the scope of their fiduciary responsibilities to their shareholders? Can they do so on a sustainable basis, or will the forces of a competitive marketplace render such efforts and their impacts transient at best? Do firms, in fact, frequently or at least sometimes behave this way, reducing their earnings by voluntarily engaging in environmental stewardship? And finally, should firms carry out such profit-sacrificing activities (i.e., is this an efficient use of social resources)? We address these questions through the lens of economics, including insights from legal analysis and business scholarship.
"Comprehensive examination of the economic, social, and political context of climate policy in industrialized and developing nations. Calls for a multilateral approach that goes beyond the mitigation-focused Kyoto policies and stresses the importance of generating policies that work within a time frame commensurate with that of climate change itself"–Provided by publisher.
Cap-and-trade systems have emerged as the preferred national and regional instrument for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases throughout the industrialized world, and the Clean Development Mechanism — an international emission-reduction-credit system — has developed a substantial constituency, despite some concerns about its performance. Because linkage between tradable permit systems can reduce compliance costs and improve market liquidity, there is great interest in linking cap-and-trade systems to each other, as well as to the CDM and other credit systems. We examine the benefits and concerns associated with various types of linkages, and analyze the near-term and long-term role that linkage may play in a future international climate policy architecture. In particular, we evaluate linkage in three potential roles: as an independent bottom-up architecture, as a step in the evolution of a top-down architecture, and as an ongoing element of a larger climate policy agreement. We also assess how the policy elements of climate negotiations can facilitate or impede linkages. Our analysis throughout is both positive and normative.
From the Publisher: In this valuable resource, more than thirty of the world's top economists offer innovative policy ideas and insightful commentary on our most pressing economic issues, such as global warming, the global economy, government spending, Social Security, tax reform, real estate, and political and social policy, including an extensive look at the economics of capital punishment, welfare reform, and the recent presidential elections. Contributors are Nobel Prize winners, former presidential advisers, well-respected columnists, academics, and practitioners from across the political spectrum. Joseph E. Stiglitz takes a hard look at the high cost of the Iraq War; Nobel Laureates Kenneth Arrow, Thomas Schelling, and Stiglitz provide insight and advice on global warming; Paul Krugman demystifies Social Security; Bradford DeLong presents divergent views on the coming dollar crisis; Diana Farrell reconsiders the impact of U.S. offshoring; Michael J. Boskin distinguishes what is "sense" and what is "nonsense" in discussions of federal deficits and debt; and Ronald I. McKinnon points out the consequences of the deindustrialization of America. Additional essays question whether welfare reform was successful and explore the economic consequences of global warming and the rebuilding of New Orleans. They describe how a simple switch in auto insurance policy could benefit the environment; unravel the dangers of an unchecked housing bubble; and investigate the mishandling of the lending institutions Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Balancing empirical data with economic theory, The Economists' Voice proves that the unique perspective of the economist is a vital one for understanding today's world.