Author Archives: Severin Borenstein

What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

[This post is co-authored with my three collaborators in cap-and-trade work for the California Air Resources Board:  Frank Wolak, Jim Bushell and Matt Zaragoza-Watkins.]   California’s year-and-a-half old cap-and-trade market for reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) has drawn renewed interest over … Continue reading

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Money for Nothing?

Since the beginning of electricity grids, demand has fluctuated and supply has been made to follow along. But for decades, economists and some grid engineers have dreamed of having demand play a more active role in balancing the system.  With … Continue reading

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It’s Time to Refocus California’s Climate Strategy

You know this already, but let’s review: Climate change is a global emissions problem. California produces about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Over the next few decades, the majority of emissions will come from developing countries. If we … Continue reading

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In Defense of Picking Winners

Virtually all economists working on climate change agree that we should price GHG emissions.  Doing so creates an incentive to reduce emissions without the government directing specific technology adoptions or activity changes, that is, without “picking winners.” Nearly as many … Continue reading

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What wood smoke has taught me about fighting climate change

While much of the U.S. has been dealing with severe winter weather, California is experiencing a record dry spell.    The clear skies have also brought some cold nights and, with them, wood smoke.  What I’ve noticed in my neighborhood is … Continue reading

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Understanding energy usage starts at home

Since Catherine and Max have written blog posts about their home heating, I thought I’d start the year with my own, equally geeky, piece on electricity use at home. Electricity is probably the least salient thing we consume.  When we … Continue reading

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Is demonizing “big carbon” a strategy or a copout?

Are we really being tricked, bullied or seduced into burning fossil fuels?  That seems to be the message behind two arguments made recently by prominent advocates for climate action: we should blame the producers of fossil fuels for the failure … Continue reading

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Rate design wars are the sound of utilities taking residential PV seriously

Imagine walking into your supermarket with a bag of zucchini from your garden and saying that you’d like to trade them straight up for an equal quantity of zucchini next month. The store manager would explain that they aren’t in … Continue reading

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California’s Cap-and-Trade Market Still Needs a Price Ceiling

Back in May, I blogged about the problem of low GHG allowance prices in the EU-ETS.  I explained the sound reasons for having both a price floor and a price ceiling in any allowance market where science doesn’t dictate a … Continue reading

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Learning and Forgetting the Wisdom of Coase

I was an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan in 1985 when our downsizing department library put a stack of old journals in the hallway for disposal.  Walking by the pile, I spotted the 1960 Journal of Law and … Continue reading

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