Environment

Stephen P. Holland, Erin T. Mansur, Nicholas Z. Muller, Andrew J. Yates, 09 August 2015

Many countries provide subsidies and tax incentives for the purchase of electric cars, since it’s believed electric vehicles have various benefits. This column argues that it is difficult to justify a large uniform subsidy based on environmental benefits alone. In some states in the US, the subsidy should indeed be large and positive, but in others it should be large and negative. This conclusion may need to be revisited in the future as the electricity grid becomes cleaner.

Arvind Subramanian, 16 July 2015

In December, the 21st United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Paris. This column discusses how India – despite its image as a recalcitrant negotiator – has exhibited considerable initiative towards improving its environmental footprint in recent years. Along with a host of actions targeting emissions, deforestation, and alternative energy source, India has surpassed many developed nations in responding to recent declines in international energy prices. These efforts mean India will be able to make a substantial contribution towards the success of the negotiations in Paris

Mark Hoekstra, Jonathan Meer, Steve Puller, Jeremy West, 15 July 2015

A primary policy tool for reducing pollution from motor vehicles in the US is to directly regulate fuel efficiency. This column investigates whether drivers respond to increased fuel efficiency standards by driving more. The evidence from a stimulus programme shows that households did not increase their driving due to increased fuel efficiency regulations, but they purchased smaller, cheaper, and less powerful vehicles.

Áureo de Paula, John Lynham, Timothy Halliday, 22 June 2015

For policy to target air pollution optimally, a thorough understanding of its harms is required. However, disentangling the health effects of specific pollutants has proved challenging, as multiple chemicals tend to co-occur in industrial pollution. This column exploits volcanic emissions in Hawaii to examine the health impact of a specific pollutant – airborne particulates. Short-term exposure to particulate pollution is found to increase pulmonary-related hospitalisations and expenditures, particularly among very young children. 

Richard Layard, Gus O'Donnell, Nicholas Stern, Adair Turner, 08 June 2015

If clean energy were cheaper than dirty energy, climate change would halt. Making clean energy cheaper is a problem – like putting a man on the moon – that can be cracked if the effort is properly organised and financed. This column proposes a ten-year ‘Global Apollo Programme’ to achieve the necessary price reversal.

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