Category Archives: Uncategorized

Shipping oil by rail: A modern-day problem of social cost

While environmental groups and other stakeholders have been working hard to delay – if not derail- major pipeline projects like Keystone, oil companies have been working hard to find alternative ways to get their crude oil to market: A single … 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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Too Big to Fail?

(This post is co-authored by Catie Hausman) The San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) was closed abruptly in February 2012. During the previous decade, SONGS had produced about 8% of the electricity generated in California, so its closure had a pronounced … Continue reading

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It just doesn’t add up. Why I think not building Keystone XL will likely leave a billion barrels worth of bitumen in the ground.

I am not a fan of blanket statements. Whenever oil sands come up in casual conversation, many of my economist friends argue that “the stuff will come out of the ground whether we like it or not”. When the discussion … Continue reading

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Why Aren’t We Talking About Net Energy Metering for LEDs?

The fights over net energy metering have gotten loud and heated. For those of you who have missed the drama, here, in a nutshell, is what “net metering” means. Say I install enough solar panels on my roof to provide … Continue reading

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Why the cool kids are flocking to energy and not water economics

Why do kids like to go to birthday parties? Because there is lots of sugar and other kids. Academic economists are not that different. Energy economics has attracted a lot of new bright minds both young and not so young. … 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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How Much Energy are We Flushing Down the Drain?

California is in the middle of a drought. In the Bay Area, that has meant day after day of glorious, uncharacteristically sunny winter weather. But, I am haunted by media images of dry creek beds and by my own mental … Continue reading

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A Small Bet with Big Stakes

Back in November 2011, I made a bet with economist Geoff Rothwell about the future of nuclear power.  By making a bet we weren’t trying to trivialize the issue. To the contrary.  We had different predictions, and we saw this … Continue reading

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On the inefficiency of fuel efficiency standards

Imagine you have just been pulled over for exceeding the speed limit. The officer explains that the penalty for speeding decreases with engine size. Why?  Because it is relatively more difficult for drivers of high performance cars to exercise restraint … Continue reading

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