Richard S J Tol, 17 December 2015

The 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change has successfully negotiated a Paris Agreement. International climate policy will be shaped by the events in Paris for years to come. This column highlights three key developments.

Christopher R. Knittel, Kostas Metaxoglou, André Trindade, 04 December 2015

The recent shale boom has led to a change in the relative price of fossil fuels, which could have an impact on the electricity sector. This column looks at the decision of electricity generators to switch from coal to gas in response to changes in relative prices. Investor-owned utilities were more likely than independent power producers to switch from coal-fired to gas-fired generation to take advantage of lower natural gas prices. This heterogeneity in generators’ response to fuel prices has material implications for CO2 emissions.

Rabah Arezki, Adnan Mazarei, Ananthakrishnan Prasad, 29 November 2015

As a result of the oil price plunge, the major oil-exporting countries are facing budget deficits for the first time in years. This column goes through the evidence, suggesting that the low price environment is likely to test the relationship between governments in oil-exporting countries and their sovereign wealth funds, at a time when spending is going up.

Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr, 18 November 2015

Urbanisation in India is taking many twists and turns. Organised manufacturing is moving out of urban areas, while unorganised manufacturing is transitioning towards urban areas. As the fourth greatest energy consumer in the world, how the country manages this ongoing industrialisation and urbanisation process will have important environmental implications. This column looks at the relationship between growth, geography, and energy efficiency in manufacturing in India. Electricity consumption per unit of output has declined in urban and rural areas, but these overall trends mask substantial variation between states and substantial potential for further efficiency improvements in energy-intensive industries.

James Feyrer, Erin T. Mansur, Bruce Sacerdote, 16 November 2015

Fracking has driven an oil and natural gas boom in the US over the past decade. This column examines the impact these mining activities have had on local and regional economies. US counties enjoy significant economic benefits, including increased wages and new job creation. These effects grow as the geographic radius is extended to include neighbouring areas in the region. The results suggest that the fracking boom provided some insulation for these areas during the Great Recession, and lowered national unemployment by as much as 0.5%.

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