Energy Policy

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Energy Policy

One of the impediments to the adoption of a solar alternative to fossil fuels is that solar panels are relatively expensive to make. A big benchmark to making them competitive is to get their cost of production per Watt produced comparable to energy produced by fossil fuels. A company in Arizona, First Solar, claims to…

An article by Evan Mills, a staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, points out that scientific buildings use a lot more energy than average: Improving energy productivity is a doubly worthy challenge, given that those making the biggest contributions to the science of sustainability often do so in highly energy intensive facilities such as…

Energy Policy, By the Numbers

Two great articles on energy policy. 1) One of the major points of resistance to carbon taxes or caps is that developing countries won’t have similar quotas giving them a comparative advantage in the production of goods. However, some economists don’t think that comparative advantage will be very large. The percentage of the cost of…

Would you buy a Vespa?

Sales of Vespas are up — largely because of high oil prices. Vespas and other motorcycles have significantly greater fuel economy than your average car. Part of me is happy about this because it illustrates that people are making more fuel-efficient choices. When prices go up, people use less gas. Go figure. On the other…

Haha! The Law of Demand works. Price goes up. Driving goes down. Figure: NYTimes I repeat: if you want to lower demand for and hence consumption of gasoline, this is the best thing that has ever happened for you. Prices are the most effective climate change abatement policy, and a gas tax holiday is a…

Bryan Caplan writing in the NYTimes suggests that in spite of making no economic sense whatsoever the gas tax holiday might be a good idea as a symbolic gesture: The first is that the tax holiday is a relatively cheap symbolic gesture that makes truly bad policies less likely. The main causes of high gas…

(Keeping with our trend towards a week of economics — see here and here — I have another post where I attempt to talk above my pay grade.) I am as unhappy as anybody about high oil prices making everything on Earth expensive, but I am getting a little annoyed by the Presidential candidates glib…

Now that’s thinking outside the box: Two graduate students at MIT’s School of Architecture and Planning want to harvest the energy of human movement in urban settings, like commuters in a train station or fans at a concert. The so-called “Crowd Farm,” as envisioned by James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk, both M.Arch candidates, would turn…

C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer, writing in Foriegn Affairs, summarize the likely effects of corn-based biofuels on the world food supply. Take home message: the biofuel craze has led to skyrocketing food prices which — along with government subsidies and tariff protections to domestic corn producers — has the potential to starve the poorest…

Lots of stuff has been written lately over the relative merits of carbon taxes vs. carbon trading markets. Just to summarize the policies, a carbon tax would apply an across the board premium on all users of carbon depending upon the amount they use. A carbon trading market would sell permits for carbon emission that…