Economics of Climate Change
SEEPAC researchers are actively involved in formulating and evaluating alternative state-, national-, and international-level policies to mitigate climate change, and conducting the research to support policy-making. They have played key roles in the latest efforts by the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to identify promising policy options.
Energy Efficiency and Conservation
Engineers and policy analysts often note with some puzzlement that consumers and producers sometimes choose not to adopt energy-efficiency options that appear to lower their own costs (the “energy efficiency gap”). SEEPAC researchers are conducting empirical research to identify the behavioral forces and market barriers that may explain these choices, and they are using the results of this work to arrive at more effective energy-efficiency and conservation programs.
For many nations a key challenge is to reconcile the goals of economic growth and the preservation of natural resources. SEEPAC researchers have been developing improved measures of economic progress, measures that improve on conventional measures (e.g. GDP growth) by taking account of changes in the natural resource base and in environmental quality, with applications to a variety of countries. These applications have led to insights as to how policies can promote income growth to current generations while maintaining critical resource stocks and safeguarding the well-being of future generations.
Environmental Tax and Regulatory Reform
Conventional approaches for regulating environmentally harmful activities have generated great gains to society. As part of the effort to strengthen environmental protection in California, the US and worldwide, policy makers increasingly are turning to new and often market-based approaches that have the potential to achieve environmental goals at lower cost than is possible through traditional methods. SEEPAC researchers are helping to identify and evaluate several of these new approaches.
Identifying and Valuing the Impacts of Environmental Change
Understanding the benefits from environmental protection is critical to formulating sound environmental policy. SEEPAC researchers have been conducting empirical analyses to fathom the health and other impacts of air pollution and assess the value to the public of policies that can prevent such impacts.