Category Archives: Boyce

Boyce Shapes California’s Carbon Permit Allocation Plan

James Boyce, UMass Economics Professor

James Boyce, UMass Economics Professor

In June 2009 James Boyce, UMass Amherst economics professor, was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to the Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee, charged with advising the state of California on implementing a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases.

The Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee released its final recommendations earlier this week.  The committee recommends that California “rely principally, and perhaps exclusively, on auctioning as the method for distributing allowances,” and that roughly 75% of the auction revenue “should be returned to households either through lump-sum payments or through cuts in individual income or sales tax rates.”  The committee recommends that the remaining 25% be devoted to public investments in the clean energy transition.

For more information:

Press release from California Environmental Protection Agency
View the full EAAC Report
The Wall Street Journal 
Fox Business News
Daily Climate News and Analysis

Boyce on Cantwell-Collins CLEAR Bill at Baseline Scenario

Professor James K. Boyce

Professor James K. Boyce

UMass Prof James K. Boyce had a guest post earlier this week at the influential Baseline Scenario blog (Simon Johnson and James Kwak on the crisis of ’08 and beyond—considered required reading at the White House). Boyce outlined the state of play of Climate Protection legislation in the United States.

Baseline Scenario — New Deal for U.S. Climate Policy?
This guest post was submitted by James K. Boyce, an economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has been a proponent of a “cap-and-dividend” policy to curb global warming while protecting the incomes of American families.

Last Friday, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) unveiled the CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal) Act, which could break the impasse in the debate over U.S. policy on climate change (McClatchy coverage is here.)

CLEAR has won a favorable reception from a broad swath of the political spectrum, ranging from ExxonMobil to Friends of the Earth. The scroll of supportive statements on Cantwell’s website includes praise from the AARP, the American Enterprise Institute, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Alaska’s Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, and MoveOn.org.

CLEAR is a “100-75-25-0” policy:

* 100% of the permits to bring fossil carbon into the U.S. economy will be auctioned from day one – there are no permit giveaways.
* 75% of the auction revenue is returned directly to the public as equal per person dividends.
* 25% of the auction revenue is devoted to investments in energy efficiency, clean energy, adaptation to climate change, and assistance for sectors hurt by the transition from the fossil-fueled economy.
* Zero offsets are allowed: polluters cannot avoid curbing use of fossil fuels by paying someone else to ostensibly clean up after them.

The Cantwell-Collins bill also strictly limits the buying and selling of permits to prevent carbon market speculation and profiteering.

In all these respects, the 39-page CLEAR Act differs markedly from the Waxman-Markey (ACES) bill that passed the House in June, whose cap-and-trade provisions (Title III) alone run to 410 pages. Waxman-Markey initially gives away 85% of the permits. Dividends to the public eventually would grow to about half of the permit value pie, but not until the 2030s. The House bill’s offset provisions would turn the emissions cap into a sieve, and have stoked worries about creating a “subprime carbon market” (see and Annie Leonard’s animated primer). We need to cap carbon, but we do not need to cap-and-trade or, especially, cap-and-give-away. Instead, we should cap-and-dividend.

The New York Times reported on the on the legislative sausage-making that went into Waxman-Markey. The redolent process, lubricated by special favors to special interests, has stalled since June with legislative arteriosclerosis; its backers now hope that passage can be cleared by implanting stents to boost nuclear power and transform America into “the Saudi Arabia of clean coal.”

The road to a Senate-led compromise is open: CLEAR could replace Title III of the House bill, while keeping the other titles that set forth non-price policies to promote energy efficiency and clean energy. The resulting comprehensive climate policy could have a real chance of becoming the law of the land – and the air – in the year ahead.

By James Boyce

UMass Cap-and-Dividend Study In Play In DC.

Professor James K. Boyce

Professor James K. Boyce

Cap and Dividend: A State-by-State Analysis, a PERI Working paper by UMass Econ Professor James K. Boyce and Ph.D. student Matthew Riddle, is in play this month in Washington in the debate over how best to price carbon and distribute the proceeds. Boyce and Riddle point out that auctioning 100 percent of carbon permits and returning most of the auction revenue to citizens on a per capita basis would provide significant net benefits to the majority of citizens, even in carbon-intensive states.

Cap-And-Dividend Advocates Pitch Plan To Ease Regional Disparities
Charles Davis, Carbon Control News, Posted November 12, 2009

A coalition of local and regional environmental groups is citing an unpublished analysis from researchers at the University of Massachusetts to argue that an emissions trading scheme that auctions all carbon permits and returns the revenue directly to citizens through rebates or tax cuts—a policy known as cap-and-dividend—is better suited to easing the impacts of greenhouse gas restrictions on areas of the country most dependent on fossil fuels…

… [A] new paper by George Abar, a former legislative director for Kerry and currently a consultant to the Rockefeller Family Fund,… cites a previously unpublished analysis from the University of Massachusetts’ Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) indicating that a modest set-aside for “transition assistance” to the most carbon-intensive regions of the country—based on a formula that weighs the number of manufacturing and coal-mining employees a state has and the carbon-intensity of its electricity—would more than compensate those areas likely to most adversely affected by greenhouse gas restrictions…

The scenario analyzed by PERI would also leave an additional $30 billion for other uses, “such as clean energy investments, compensating local, state and national governments for higher energy costs, or addressing regional variability,” according to the paper.

“A policy that caps carbon, auctions pollution permits, and returns the revenue directly to the American people will meet our environmental and economic goals,” Abar concludes. “It will limit carbon emissions and send a powerful price signal, spurring investment, innovation and job creation in clean energy techologies. It will provide a knowable, timely and direct benefit to American households, and it will leave lower- and middle-class families better off or unharmed.”

UMass’s Boyce joins Nobelist Ostrom in shaking up econ mold

Writing in the Guardian (U.K.) in praise of 2009 Econ Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, B.U. Professor Kevin Gallagher cites the pioneering work of UMass Economist James K. Boyce and 2007 UMass Econ Ph.D. Liz Stanton on “payment for environmental services”:

Elinor Ostrom breaks the Nobel mold The economics profession needs to be shaken up. Ostrom’s Nobel prize should encourage us to take a fresh approach…

Elinor Ostrom, 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics

Elinor Ostrom, 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics

Some economists on the frontier of their discipline have started to use Ostrom’s insights in their work. In their recent book Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration, James Boyce, Liz Stanton and Sunita Narain, show how communities in Brazil, India, West Africa and even in the United States have managed their resources in a sustainable manner when given their rightful access to their assets.

Indeed, Boyce and his collaborators find that communities should be paid for their services, since they can sometimes do a far better job than government or corporations at managing resources. Indeed, “payment for environmental services” has become a buzzword in development circles. Now even the World Bank has a fund for PES schemes across the world.

Boyce advises California governor on arresting climate change

UMass Professor of Economics James K. Boyce will join an all-star panel to advise California on implementing cap-and-trade emissions program to reduce carbon emissions. Boyce has focused on combining equity and efficiency in climate-change policy.  Here’s the coverage from UMass In the Loop.

Boyce advising Calif. officials on cap-and-trade emissions program

James K. Boyce To Advise Governor Schwarzenegger

James K. Boyce To Advise Governor Schwarzenegger

Economics professor James K. Boyce has been appointed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a 16-member panel that will advise the state on implementing a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases.

Three years ago, California adopted the Global Warming Solutions Act, aimed at cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A key element of that plan is the creation of a cap-and-trade program that is part of a regional market involving other participants in the Western Climate Initiative.

A faculty member since 1983, Boyce directs the environment program at the Political Economy Research Institute. His current work focuses on strategies for combining poverty reduction with environmental protection, and on the relationship between economic policies and issues of war and peace. Boyce is the co-editor of “Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration” (2007) and author of “The Political Economy of the Environment,” published in 2002.

Boyce and other members of the Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on the allocation of allowances and the use of their value. The economic, financial and policy experts will also evaluate the implications of different allowance allocation strategies. The committee is expected to submit a report to the California Air Resources Board by the end of the year.

“By designing a cap-and-trade program that will achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals without impairing robust economic growth, California has the opportunity to provide a model for the rest of the country, and indeed the rest of the world,” said Schwarzenegger in his appointment letter to the committee. “The committee’s input will be critical to the design of such a program, so it is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world will be upon your work.”

The Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee is chaired by Larry Goulder, the Shuzo Nishihara Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at Stanford University.June 24, 2009.

Economics professor James K. Boyce has been appointed by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to a 16-member panel that will advise the state on implementing a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gases.

Three years ago, California adopted the Global Warming Solutions Act, aimed at cutting the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. A key element of that plan is the creation of a cap-and-trade program that is part of a regional market involving other participants in the Western Climate Initiative.

A faculty member since 1983, Boyce directs the environment program at the Political Economy Research Institute. His current work focuses on strategies for combining poverty reduction with environmental protection, and on the relationship between economic policies and issues of war and peace. Boyce is the co-editor of “Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration” (2007) and author of “The Political Economy of the Environment,” published in 2002.

Boyce and other members of the Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on the allocation of allowances and the use of their value. The economic, financial and policy experts will also evaluate the implications of different allowance allocation strategies. The committee is expected to submit a report to the California Air Resources Board by the end of the year.

“By designing a cap-and-trade program that will achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals without impairing robust economic growth, California has the opportunity to provide a model for the rest of the country, and indeed the rest of the world,” said Schwarzenegger in his appointment letter to the committee. “The committee’s input will be critical to the design of such a program, so it is no exaggeration to say that the eyes of the world will be upon your work.”

The Economic and Allocation Advisory Committee is chaired by Larry Goulder, the Shuzo Nishihara Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at Stanford University.June 24, 2009.

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