Energy & Environment

Dan Farber Does the Keystone XL pipeline matter?

Many people who have studied the issue tell me that the Keystone XL issue is mostly symbolic, because the Alberta oil sands are going to be used one way or another.  But I’m having some second thoughts because of arguments made (here) by Berkeley economist Max Aufhammer. He’s a pretty hard-headed … More >

Severin Borenstein It’s time to refocus California’s climate strategy

You know this already, but let’s review:

Climate change is a global emissions problem.
California produces about 1% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Over the next few decades, the majority of emissions will come from developing countries.
If we don’t solve the problem in the developing world, we don’t solve the problem.

And lastly,

The … More >

Santiago Miret How Bit Met Watt

With the miniaturization of electronics, the world’s computing capabilities exploded, while the energy required to produce bits of data continued to drop. The world was creating more and bits of data, which required less and less watts to operate. As the computing devices became smaller, we went from room-sized computer … More >

Jayni Foley Hein As oil by rail gains momentum, is California on track to protect human health and the environment?

California will soon see a surge in the number of trains carrying crude oil into the state, as oil production in North Dakota’s Bakken region and Canada continues to increase, sending more crude to California refineries.

Last week, the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing … More >

Dan Farber Biofuels and food prices

Berkeley economist Brian Wright has a disquieting article in the Winter 2014 issues of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, which just crossed my desk. JEP is published by the American Economic Association and is a great resource for those of us who are interested in economics but aren’t professional economists. This article is a case in … More >

Maximillian Auffhammer Not building Keystone XL will likely leave a billion barrels of bitumen in the ground

I am not a fan of blanket statements. Whenever oil sands come up in casual conversation, many of my economist friends argue that “the stuff will come out of the ground whether we like it or not”. When the discussion turns to Keystone XL, the general attitude is that “it … More >

Catherine Wolfram Why aren’t we talking about net energy metering for LEDs?

The fights over net energy metering have gotten loud and heated. For those of you who have missed the drama, here, in a nutshell, is what “net metering” means. Say I install enough solar panels on my roof to provide about half of my electricity over the course of a … More >

Maximillian Auffhammer Why the cool kids are flocking to energy and not water economics

Why do kids like to go to birthday parties? Because there is lots of sugar and other kids. Academic economists are not that different. Energy economics has attracted a lot of new bright minds, both young and not so young. The reason is simple: It’s an important topic; the people … More >

Patrick Donnelly-Shores Interior moving forward with contentious desert solar projects

On February 19th, the Department of Interior announced that it had approved two utility-scale solar projects in the Mojave Desert: Silver State South Solar Project and Stateline Solar Farm Project. The two projects, which have already generated significant controversy, straddle the California/Nevada border in the remote Ivanpah Valley, and will combine to … More >

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