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.
Ejaz Ghani, Arti Grover Goswami, William Kerr, Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 00:00
James Feyrer, Erin T. Mansur, Bruce Sacerdote, Monday, November 16, 2015 - 00:00
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%.
Matthew E. Kahn, Cong Sun, Siqi Zheng, Wednesday, July 8, 2015 - 00:00
China’s cities suffer from extremely high levels of air pollution, and Chinese consumers spend more than $US100 million on anti-smog products per year. Using recent internet sales data, this column explores how investing in such self-protection products varies for consumers with different income brackets. The urban poor are shown to be less likely to engage in this health-improving strategy. This suggests that cross-sectional income comparisons understate lifetime inequality.
Áureo de Paula, John Lynham, Timothy Halliday, Monday, June 22, 2015 - 00:00
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.
Carlo Carraro, Saturday, February 7, 2015 - 00:00
Jean-Marie Grether, Nicole A. Mathys, Caspar Sauter, Saturday, January 31, 2015 - 00:00
Jean Pisani-Ferry, Friday, November 7, 2014 - 00:00
Jeffrey Frankel, Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 00:00
Mark Hoekstra, Steve Puller, Jeremy West, Wednesday, September 3, 2014 - 00:00
Rick van der Ploeg, Aart de Zeeuw, Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 00:00
Many ecological systems feature ‘tipping points’ at which small changes can have sudden, dramatic, and irreversible effects, and scientists worry that greenhouse gas emissions could trigger climate catastrophes. This column argues that this renders the marginal cost-benefit analysis usually employed in integrated assessment models inadequate. When potential tipping points are taken into account, the social cost of carbon more than triples – largely because carbon emissions increase the risk of catastrophe.
Pascal Lamy, Ian Goldin, Friday, March 28, 2014 - 00:00
Excessive short-termism is always a problem for policy, but the Global Crisis has brought it sharply into focus. This column introduces a report that discusses how a shift to longer-term solutions is necessary and possible. A key message is that businesses as well as governments need to take a longer-term view. The report identifies ways to overcome the current impasse in key economic, climate, trade, security, and other negotiations.
Mathilde Mathieu, Thomas Spencer, Oliver Sartor, Saturday, March 22, 2014 - 00:00
The US unconventional energy boom has reversed the decline of domestic production, lowered oil and gas imports, reduced gas prices, and created political space for tougher regulations on coal-fired power plants. This column argues that it is not a panacea, however. Even if current estimates prove accurate, the long-run benefits to the US economy will be relatively small. Improving energy efficiency and promoting low-carbon technologies will be just as important as before – especially for the EU, given its more limited known reserves of unconventional oil and gas.
Derek Kellenberg, Arik Levinson, Saturday, March 1, 2014 - 00:00
Economic theory predicts that international environmental agreements will fail due to free-rider problems, and previous empirical work suggests that such agreements do not in fact reduce emissions. This column presents evidence that the Basel Convention and Ban on trade in hazardous waste has also been ineffective. The authors find no evidence that Annex-7 countries that ratified the Ban slowed their exports to non-Annex-7 countries as the agreement requires.
Jeffrey Frankel, Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 00:00
Market-based mechanisms such as cap-and-trade can tackle externality problems more efficiently than command-and-control regulations. However, politicians in the US and Europe have retreated from cap-and-trade in recent years. This column draws a parallel between Republicans’ abandonment of market-based environmental regulation and their recent disavowal of mandatory health insurance. The author argues that in practice, the alternative to market-based regulation is not an absence of regulation, but rather the return of inefficient mandates and subsidies.
Enrica De Cian, Samuel Carrara, Massimo Tavoni, Sunday, December 22, 2013 - 00:00
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.
Jean-Marie Grether, Nicole A. Mathys, Jaime de Melo, Thursday, December 23, 2010 - 00:00
Environmentalists have long feared that globalisation will harm the environment by allowing heavily polluting industries to migrate to countries with lax environmental standards. This column presents new evidence from several industries across many countries for all the major pollutants. It suggests that lax policy has only had a small effect on the pollution content of trade.
David Anthoff, Richard S J Tol, Monday, November 29, 2010 - 00:00
An international agreement on tackling climate change is still a long way off. One barrier often cited is that sovereign states will fail to cooperate and among the challenges is how countries would measure the impact of climate change on others. This column presents new insights in this area.
Hans-Werner Sinn, Friday, September 17, 2010 - 00:00
No one likes sitting in a traffic jam, but what can be done about them? This column says the time has come for general road tolls on all roads across all of Europe.
Matthew E. Kahn, Saturday, September 11, 2010 - 00:00
Most scientists agree that climate change is underway or at least on the horizon. This column introduces the author's book 'Climatopolis: How Our Cities will Thrive in Our Hotter Future.' It outlines an optimism and an irony: Urban economic growth may have caused climate change, but through the free market, it will also help us to adapt to it.
Gareth Edwards-Jones, Paul Brenton, Michael F Jensen, Sunday, September 5, 2010 - 00:00
Is offsetting your carbon footprint always a good thing? This column questions the criteria used to label carbon footprints, arguing they can disadvantage developing countries. It suggests a variety of ways to overcome that problem.