Public Policies for Environmental Protection

By Paul R. Portney; Robert N. Stavins | Go to book overview
Finally, many uncertainties remain that affect climate policy design. To reduce the related uncertainties and improve the feasibility of future policy, policymakers need to better understand several points:
the risks of climate change from a socioeconomic as well as a scientific perspective;
the nature of public concern about climate change risks;
the trade-offs between adaptation and emissions control, and the importance of different forms of infrastructure (especially in developing countries) for enhancing the capacity for adaptation;
the costs of GHG control in an international context, accounting for trade and financial flows under different patterns of participation in international abatement efforts;
how large the "energy efficiency gap" is in practice, and the consequences for assessing the cost of GHG abatement;
the incentives for technical progress created by different climate policies, and the opportunity costs of inducing innovation toward GHG control versus other applications;
the processes of international negotiation and coalition formation as they apply to climate agreements, in theory and practice; and
the distributional impacts of different policy regimes.

Most of these questions will persist well beyond a third edition of this book. Starting to address them now can only increase the economic soundness and ultimately the reliability of climate change policy into the future.


Notes
1.
Human-created sources of methane release include natural gas supply leaks, some coal mines, decomposition in landfills, and agricultural sources (for example, rice paddies and domestic animals).
2.
Particularly vexing is the inability of models to better capture several factors: how climate change operates on a less than continental scale, in order to assess regional changes; how conventional pollutants such as very fine "aerosol" particles offset climate change by reflecting back sunlight; and how human activity on land can create "carbon sinks" to sequester greenhouse gases in biomass (for example, reforestation).
3.
For additional discussion of these issues, see Morrisette and others 1991; Kempton and others 1995; Toman and others 1999; and Krosnick and others forth- coming. Climate change has been a great concern in western Europe; for a summary of positions taken, see Grubb and others 1999. In most developing countries, climate change must compete with more immediate pressing environmental and poverty- related concerns.

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Public Policies for Environmental Protection
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • About Resources for the Future And Rff Press iii
  • Resources for the Future iv
  • Contents v
  • About the Authors ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • References 9
  • 2: Epa and the Evolution of Federal Regulation 11
  • Notes 28
  • 3 - Market-Based Environmental Policies 31
  • Conclusion 62
  • References 68
  • 4 - Air Pollution Policy 77
  • Notes 121
  • 5: Climate Change Policy 125
  • Concluding Remarks 156
  • References 158
  • 6 - Water Pollution Policy 169
  • Conclusions 208
  • References 209
  • 7 - Hazardous Waste and Toxic Substance Policies 215
  • Conclusions 251
  • Notes 252
  • 8 - Solid Waste Policy 261
  • Conclusions 281
  • References 281
  • Index 287
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