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One university’s attempt to reduce energy waste at work

Meredith Fowlie, Associate Professor and Class of 1935 Distinguished Chair in Energy | February 23, 2015

If you work outside your home, chances are you don’t pay (directly) for the energy you use at work. At my place of work, the UC Berkeley campus, most employees never see – let alone pay – their energy bills. Of course, there are plenty of pro-social reasons to be conscientious about my energy consumption … Continue reading »

Keystone XL, energy policy and the job-creation shuffle

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | February 18, 2015

Renewable energy proponents and advocates of the Keystone pipeline finally agree on something: that the right way to count “job creation” is to focus narrowly on the jobs in the industry they want to boost and ignore the overall impact on employment.  Unfortunately, researchers who actually study employment are not on board. The “green jobs” … Continue reading »

It’s time to refocus California’s climate strategy

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | April 9, 2014

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, … Continue reading »

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

Maximilian Auffhammer, professor, international sustainable development | March 11, 2014

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 working in this space are … Continue reading »

In defense of picking winners

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | March 3, 2014

Virtually all economists working on climate change agree that we should price greenhouse-gas emissions.  Doing so creates an incentive to reduce emissions without the government directing specific technology adoptions or activity changes, that is, without “picking winners.” Nearly as many economists agree that we should subsidize basic R&D.  Doing so, accelerates the scientific breakthroughs that … Continue reading »

Is demonizing ‘big carbon’ a strategy or a cop-out?

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | December 18, 2013

Are we really being tricked, bullied or seduced into burning fossil fuels?  That seems to be the message behind two arguments made recently by prominent advocates for climate action: we should blame the producers of fossil fuels for the failure to make progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Union of Concerned Scientists made a splash last … Continue reading »

How California’s K-12 schools can teach us about energy efficiency

Catherine Wolfram, faculty co-director, Energy Institute at Haas | October 28, 2013

California has long been a leading indicator of national energy-efficiency trends. The state passed minimum efficiency standards for refrigerators in 1976, 11 years before the federal government adopted similar standards. And, the recent Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards are based on legislation passed in California several years earlier. The state is about to blaze another energy … Continue reading »

What (if anything) to do about California gasoline price spikes

Severin Borenstein, professor of business | October 8, 2012

Here we go again.  A couple refinery disruptions, a pipeline shutdown, and before you know it gas prices in California have jumped more than 50 cents compared to the rest of the country.  Soon politicians will be wringing their hands and calling for investigations.  Some will blame it on evil oil companies, while others while … Continue reading »