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Preface

Carbon Taxes, Energy Subsidies and Smart Instrument Mixes

Edited by Stefan E. Weishaar, Larry Kreiser, Janet E. Milne, Hope Ashiabor and Michael Mehling

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Editorial review board

Carbon Taxes, Energy Subsidies and Smart Instrument Mixes

Edited by Stefan E. Weishaar, Larry Kreiser, Janet E. Milne, Hope Ashiabor and Michael Mehling

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Clement A. Tisdell

Outlines the objectives of this book and the reasons for pursuing these. In doing so, it specifies the aim of each chapter and provides a brief account of its contents. It is argued that in order to better assess the nature of our current environmental challenges: we need to consider their basic historical origins; we should take account of the limitations of available economic measures and methods for valuing environmental change; we ought to be aware of the imperfections of scientific predictions about the nature, course and consequences of biophysical attributes altered by environmental change (such as increasing levels of atmospheric CO2); and we should recognize that social embedding (of different types) is a serious impediment to humankind responding effectively to actual or predicted environmental change, especially human-induced environmental change, including human-generated climate change. The importance of each of these assertions is demonstrated and illustrated.

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Carbon tax choices: the tale of four states

Carbon Taxes, Energy Subsidies and Smart Instrument Mixes

Janet E. Milne

While carbon tax measures have not yet met with success at the federal level in the United States, proposals for carbon taxes emerged in a handful of states in 2015 and 2016. The proposals address the shared challenge of climate change, but each has its own unique features and setting. Drawing on proposals in Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington as case studies, this chapter explores how state constitutions can affect the design of state-level carbon taxes and their legislative route toward enactment. For example, the Oregon constitution imposes limits on tax rates and use of the revenue when taxing certain fossil fuels. The constitutions in three of the four states require that some types of revenue measures must originate in the legislative House of Representatives, not the Senate, raising the question whether carbon taxes can be designed in a manner that will avoid this procedural constraint. In Washington, the carbon tax proposal came forward as a ballot initiative that went to voters in the general election, following a procedure permitted under the state constitution. These case studies serve as an important reminder of how constitutional provisions that were not created with climate change in mind can influence the design features of subnational carbon taxes and political strategies.

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The crude oil market and its driving forces

Prices, Production and Consumption

Basil Oberholzer

This chapter is an introduction to the most important topics regarding the crude oil market. Several data and facts of the market are briefly presented. An outstanding feature of crude oil at the core of public debates is its character as a fossil and non-renewable fuel. The chapter enlightens what this means in economic terms and how it is connected to the investigation at hand. As another issue, recent research on the oil market has, to a great part, focused on the driving forces of the oil price. In particular, our interest is in the question of whether economic fundamentals are the only factors influencing the price or whether speculation may also be effective. Finally, the role of OPEC and its potential power to impact on the oil market is considered.

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Preface

Challenges and Opportunities

Edited by K. N. Ninan and Makoto Inoue

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Introduction

Counting the Environment and Natural Resources

Tiho Ancev, M.A. Samad Azad and Francesc Hernández-Sancho

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Thijs ten Raa

The core instrument of input-output analysis is a matrix of technical coefficients. This input-output matrix orders national accounts by interconnecting the use and make statistics of the different sectors, traces indirect economic effects or multipliers, and is used to map environmental impacts or footprints. At all levels there are issues of its dimension, not only size but also type - commodities or industries - and resolution of these issues requires that statisticians, economists (applied and theoretical), and policy analysts (including environmental) familiarize themselves with each other's work. All contribute various chapters of the handbook and these are interrelated in this introductory chapter.

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Introduction

Challenges and Opportunities

K.N. Ninan and Makoto Inoue

Climate change poses a great challenge to governments, societies and entities. This chapter discusses the need for building climate resilience, approaches for building climate resilience and the challenges and opportunities for building resilience to address the risks posed by climate change. It then discusses issues related to vulnerability, adaptation and resilience, sectoral perspectives, incentives, institutions, REDD+, local climate finance, and climate policy.

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Brett Dolter and Peter A. Victor

In this introductory chapter we, the editors, provide an overview of the Handbook on Growth and Sustainability. We begin by clarifying the purpose of this handbook: to contribute to the debate over whether economic growth is compatible with sustainability, and, if it is not, to recommend what can be done to achieve sustainability. We then outline the logic of the handbook structure. The handbook contains 22 chapters (not including ours) divided into five parts. In the first part, entitled ‘What is growth? What is sustainability’, contributors clarify terms and explore some of the history of the growth and sustainability debate. In the second part, ‘Can growth be sustainable?’, contributors present a range of perspectives on this important question. Some contributors answer yes, some answer no, and some say we focus too much on this question and should adopt an agnostic perspective. The third part, ‘Is the end of growth nigh? Sustainability constraints on growth’, features contributors writing about the serious issues that threaten to constrain growth. These include issues such as energy scarcity, food system environmental impacts, and uncertain technological development. Contributors in Part IV, ‘Are there imperatives for growth?’, outline the difficulty of moving away from a growth-based economic system. Growth promises to alleviate unemployment and inequality. Our contributors explore whether these can be alleviated without growth. Our debt-based monetary system appears to depend on growth. Contributors explore whether debt-based money creates a monetary imperative for growth. In the final part, ‘Is it possible to move beyond growth culture?’, our contributors ask what it would take for us to move away from a growth-based economic system. How would employment change? How would culture change? Would we make more of the products we use? Is it possible for humanity to plot a new course, or are we hamstrung by our biological inheritance and incapable of changing quickly enough to avoid calamity? We hope that in the end, whether you read the book in sequence, following the line of argument we set out in this introductory chapter, or use this introduction to select which chapters to read first, the handbook will challenge and clarify your thinking on the growth and sustainability debate.