Compared to coal and oil, shale gas offers the prospect of greater energy independence and lower emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. However, fracking is controversial due to the local externalities it creates – particularly because of the potential for groundwater contamination. This column presents evidence on the size of these externalities from a recent study of house prices. The effect attributable to groundwater contamination risk varies from 10% to 22% of the value of the house, depending on its distance from the shale gas well.
After the Fukushima incident in 2011, many countries decided to shrink their nuclear power programmes. This article presents recent research on the optimal role of nuclear power in reducing carbon emissions. Phasing out nuclear power would be costly, since it is currently the cheapest low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels. However, these costs would be largely offset by the implicit subsidy to R&D in renewables, which suffers from innovation externalities. Still, carbon pricing and explicit R&D subsidies would be a more efficient way of determining the future of nuclear power.
In recent years, European coal consumption has increased, while natural gas consumption has declined – despite Europe’s commitment to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. This perverse scenario is partly attributable to EU policies. Subsidies to renewables and energy efficiency targets have the unfortunate side effect of lowering carbon prices, thus partially offsetting their environmental benefits. Raising the EU carbon price would be preferable to employing multiple policy instruments, since it would minimise distortions in energy markets, achieve cost efficiency, and raise fiscal revenues.
Recent work on forecasting oil prices raises the question of whether oil industry analysts know something about forecasting the price of oil that academic economists have missed. This column presents evidence that they do, but economists know how to improve further on these practitioners’ insights.
Oil has often been linked to interstate wars. This column argues that asymmetries in endowments of natural resources are important determinants of territorial conflict. When one country has oil near its border with an oil-less country, the probability of conflict is between three and four times as large as when neither country has oil. In contrast, when the oil is very far from the border, the probability of conflict is not significantly higher than between countries with no oil.
Other Recent Articles:
- Reforming energy subsidies globally
- The sordid history of Congressional acceptance and rejection of cap-and-trade: Implications for climate policy
- Commodity prices and growth: A changing relationship?
- Financialisation in oil markets: Lessons for policy
- Managing and harnessing volatile oil windfalls
- Why do we see unilateral action on climate change?
- Oil exporters’ dilemma
- Oil price risk, expropriation and bilateral investment treaties
- Property prices and groundwater contamination
- Policies to harness the power of natural resources
- Do oil prices help forecast real GDP?
- Institutional reform and the so-called resource curse
- Greasing the wheel: Oil’s role in the global crisis
- Resource trade: Policy and policy reform
- Speculation in oil markets? What have we learned?
- The oil curse: How petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations
- Are commodity derivatives good or bad? New evidence from high-frequency data
- Shock ‘n’ oil
- Pricing climate change
- Oil and democracy: New insights
- A tale of two depressions: What do the new data tell us? February 2010 updateEichengreen, O’Rourke
- The ECB’s stealth bailoutSinn
- Educated in America: College graduates and high school dropoutsHeckman, LaFontaine
- Eurozone breakup would trigger the mother of all financial crisesEichengreen
- Panic-driven austerity in the Eurozone and its implicationsDe Grauwe, Ji
DellaVigna, Durante, Knight, La Ferrara
Ostry, Berg, Tsangarides
Allen, Eichengreen, Evans
Greenwood, Guner, Kocharakov, Santos
CEPR Policy Research
- The buyer margins of firms' exportsCarballo, Ottaviano, Volpe
- Commodity and Equity Markets: Some Stylized Facts from a Copula ApproachDelatte, Lopez
- Ethnic Unemployment Rates and Frictional MarketsGobillon, Rupert, Wasmer
- Finance and Poverty: Evidence from IndiaAyyagari, Beck, Hoseini
- The Manipulation of Basel Risk-WeightsMariathasan, Merrouche
- Making city lights shine brighterYusuf, Leipziger
- The euro in the 'currency war'Bénassy-Quéré, Martin
- The roots of shadow bankingPerotti
- What’s wrong with Europe?Baldini, Manasse
- How the EZ crisis is permanently changing EU institutionsMicossi
- 21st Century Challenges: The Mobile Middle Class13 - 13 March 2014 / Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7 London / Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)
- The 13th Annual GEP Postgraduate Conference 20141 - 2 May 2014 / Nottingham / Sponsored by Nottingham Centre for Research on Globalisation and Economic Policy (GEP) University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
- Exchange Rates and External Adjustment2 - 3 June 2014 / Zurich / Swiss National Bank
- 13th Summer School in International Development Economics: Investment, Saving and Wellbeing in Developing Countries10 - 13 June 2014 / Palazzo Feltrinelli, Gargnano, Lake Garda (Italy) / Organisers: Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano, Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), Paolo Baffi Center on International Markets, Money and Regulation, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods of the University of Milan, Department of Economics, Quantitative Methods and Business Strategies of the University of Milan Bicocca, Vilfredo Pareto Doctoral Program in Economics of the University of Turin, The Lombardy Advanced School of Economic Research (LASER).
- 3rd WB-BE Research Conference: Financing growth: Levers, Boosters and Brakes23 - 24 June 2014 / Banco de España headquarters in Madrid / This conference is sponsored by Banco de España and The World Bank