NYT Energy For Tomorrow Closing Plenary Video

Lynne Kiesling

Last week the New York Times hosted a conference called “Energy For Tomorrow”, and they have made video from all of the sessions available; there are several sessions discussing energy efficiency, natural gas, renewables, etc. I watched the closing plenary on Friday, for which the topic was subsidies in any or all energy industries (sorry, WordPress and the embed code aren’t playing well together). Among the speakers it features Rice economist Amy Myers Jaffe  (to whom we have linked here before), as well as friend-of-Knowledge Problem Branko Terzic from Deloitte Consulting.

The discussion was good and very informative, raising many of the aspects of the pros and cons of subsidies depending on their form and how they are implemented. Naturally, much of the discussion addressed solar and the unintended (but easily anticipated) costs illustrated by Solyndra and by Spain, whether subsidies generate more overall net benefits than a carbon tax would, and whether subsidies should focus on driving down costs and getting to grid parity or on R&D. I’ll let you form your own conclusions on those topics.

I found that Amy Myers Jaffe’s comments were the closest to what I would have said if I were on the panel. She critiques the use of subsidies very effectively, and encourages an energy policy focus on “targeting the externality” and pricing it in the market. Branko’s comments highlight the political economy of subsidies and whether subsidies are hidden or in plain sight.

Recommended for easing into your Monday.

One thought on “NYT Energy For Tomorrow Closing Plenary Video

  1. Mike,

    What is the externality cost of CO2 emissions? Can it be determined to any significant degree of certainty?

    I remember when CA had three different damage cost estimate based externalities costs for NOx.

    What is the point of applying externalities costs to the price fossil energy to account for the externalities costs resulting from CO2 emissions when Asia is dramatically increasing emissions of this globally well-mixed trace gas and increasing the atmospheric concentration as a result?

    EPA has issued an endangerment finding regarding CO2. The CAA requires that EPA issue an NAAQS for CO2. EPA has so far failed to meet its statutory obligations, possibly because an NAAQS for a globally well-mixed trace gas is a joke.

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