State Constitutional Limitations on the Future of California's Carbon Market

Energy Law Journal 37(2): 219–63 (2016) (with Andy Coghlan)

California's original climate law, AB 32, authorized the state's carbon market through the end of 2020. As state policymakers look to implement California's ambitious new 2030 climate target, they must confront the requirements of a 2010 ballot initiative (Proposition 26) that requires a 2/3 legislative supermajority to raise taxes on any citizen. We analyze the implications of Proposition 26 on the future of state climate policy and the role of carbon pricing in western electricity markets. 

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Structural oversupply and credibility in California's carbon market

The Electricity Journal 29(5): 7–14 (2016) (with Andy Coghlan)

For several years, California’s carbon market has cleared just above a quarterly auction price floor. Following an anemic February 2016 auction, however, secondary market prices fell below the price floor. At the May auction, 90% of available allowances went unsold—$880 million worth, if valued at the price floor. These developments suggest that a combination of allowance oversupply and uncertainty over post-2020 climate policy has destabilized the market.

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Dynamically estimating the distributional impacts of U.S. climate policy using NEMS: A case study of the Climate Protection Act of 2013

Energy Economics 55: 303–318 (2016) (with Jordan T. Wilkerson, Michael Wara, and John P. Weyant)

We present a new method that enables users of the federal government's flagship energy policy model (NEMS) to dynamically estimate the direct energy expenditure impacts of climate policy across U.S. household incomes and census regions. To illustrate our method, we evaluate a recent carbon fee-and-dividend proposal introduced in the U.S. Senate, the Climate Protection Act of 2013 (S. 332, sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer and Bernie Sanders). 

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A critique of Saunders' 'Historical evidence for energy efficiency rebound in 30 U.S. sectors'

Technological Forecasting & Social Change 103: 203–213 (2016) (with Jonathan G. Koomey)

A 2011 report from the Breakthrough Institute criticized energy efficiency as an ineffective climate mitigation strategy because of the rebound effect. Here, we show that the main evidence behind this finding was the product of a significant analytical error. 

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Carbon Offsets in California: Science in the Policy Development Process

Communicating Climate Change and Natural Hazard Risk and Cultivating Resilience (Jeanette L. Drake et al., eds., 2016) (with Barbara Haya, Aaron Strong, and Emily Grubert).

Natural and social scientists are increasingly stepping out of purely academic roles to actively inform science-based climate change policies. We describe our participation in the public process surrounding the development of two new carbon offset protocols. 

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Peak Electricity and the Clean Power Plan

The Electricity Journal 28(4): 18–27 (2015) (with Michael Wara and Rachel Teitelbaum)

Key elements of EPA's Clean Power Plan rely on forecasted electricity sales from the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), but NEMS has consistently over-projected electricity sales. An analysis of the model's bias as applied by EPA raises concerns about the stringency of the proposed emissions targets.

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The Limits of Administrative Law as Regulatory Oversight in Linked Carbon Markets

UCLA Journal of Environmental Law & Policy 33(1): 1–41 (2015)

Many celebrate the link between carbon markets in California and Québec as a leading example of climate policy coordination. But California recently diluted its market regulations, raising questions as to whether California regulators alerted their Canadian counterparts and, if so, why the state's administrative record contains no such acknowledgment.

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Science Advocacy and the Legal System: Is Lifecycle Assessment Unconstitutional?

New Trends in Earth-Science Outreach and Engagement (Jeanette L. Drake et al., eds., 2014) (with David Weiskopf)

We describe the scientific issues at the heart of a critical case in climate law, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, 730 F.3d 1070 (9th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, as well as our role representing scientists in the Ninth Circuit appeal. 

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End use technology choice in the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS): An Analysis of the Residential and Commercial Sectors

Energy Economics 40: 773–84 (2013) (with Jordan T. Wilkerson, Danielle Davidian, and John P. Weyant)

Static input parameters describing consumer behavior play a significant role in determining energy demand in NEMS, the federal government's most important energy model. 

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