There is a lot of dialogue surrounding the best way to create energy and environmental policies, specifically around greenhouse gas emissions. The RAND Corporation recently released a study, “Evaluating Options for U.S. Greenhouse-Gas Mitigation Using Multiple Criteria,” that evaluates three past attempts to develop energy policy. The study notes that the majority of current policy focuses on cost-effectiveness but policy that relies on this criteria is unlikely to survive.
The paper identifies four normative criteria that can be applied to GHG-control systems and examines their implications for how packages of GHG policies might perform against these criteria. The criteria include: cost effectiveness, fairness of distributional inputs, incentives for innovation and adaptability of policy framework.
The authors offer lessons to be learned about the policies they reviewed and noted, “Well-crafted environmental policies need to address not only efficiency issues but also equity or distributive issues and appeal generally to the public and industry.”
Ultimately the paper finds that policies likely to have political viability and achieve environmental goals will:
• Include burden-sharing mechanisms that are transparent, means-tested, and limited in scope and duration when considering incentive-based greenhouse gas mitigation policy.
• Couple the mitigation policy with a strategic framework for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to reduce long-term GHG emissions, including a clear role for public-sector financing from revenues generated by the mitigation policy.
• Limit irreversible commitments in order to maintain the ability to adapt to uncertain and changing future circumstances.
This is an informative policy paper especially for those lobbying on behalf of the renewable energy industry. Click here to download a free copy of the report, “Evaluating Options for U.S. Greenhouse-Gas Mitigation Using Multiple Criteria“.