Social Costs of Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Lands, Carefully Considered

OVERVIEW: A report filed with the US Department of the Interior recommended that terms governing the leasing of federal land for oil and gas development be updated to reflect social costs associated with such development. While such costs may be policy relevant, I suggest social costs are smaller than the report indicates¬†and the recommended policy … More Social Costs of Oil and Gas Leasing on Federal Lands, Carefully Considered

Energy Poverty and Clean Technology

For the past three years, I’ve team-taught a class that’s part of our Institute for Energy and Sustainability at Northwestern (ISEN) curriculum. It’s an introductory class, primarily focused on ethics and philosophy. One of my earth science colleagues kicks us off with the carbon cycle, the evidence for anthropogenic global warming, and interpretations of that … More Energy Poverty and Clean Technology

Saving the Elephants and World Wildlife Day

The United Nations has declared March 3 to be World Wildlife Day. It’s a good opportunity to reflect on the problems of wildlife poaching, which, as Ashok Rao wrote recently, is a moral, social, and political problem. But, as Virginia Postrel pointed out in her then-NYT Economic Scene column in 2000, it’s also an economic … More Saving the Elephants and World Wildlife Day

Economist Debate on Solar Power

The Economist often runs debates on their website, and their current one will be of interest to the KP community: Can solar energy save the world? The debate is structured in a traditional manner, with a moderator and a proposer and a responder. Guest posts accompany the debate, and readers are invited to comment on … More Economist Debate on Solar Power

Esther Dyson on the Future of 3d Printing

3D printing is incredible. Take, for example, recent Northwestern mechanical engineering graduate and softball player Lauren Tyndall, who designed and printed her own more ergonomic and comfortable cast for her broken pinkie finger. Or consider the cost and energy use benefits of 3D printing of metal airplane parts in titanium, rather than machining them out … More Esther Dyson on the Future of 3d Printing

Mike Munger in Cato Unbound on Recycling

Lynne Kiesling As is his wont, Mike Munger speaks vast amounts of sense in this month’s Cato Unbound, focusing on the political economy of recycling. I’ve never seen a better articulation of the various energy and economic tradeoffs associated with recycling than Mike’s presented here. For example, Mike does a great job of pointing out … More Mike Munger in Cato Unbound on Recycling

Cutting Down Trees for Biofuels?

Lynne Kiesling Cutting down trees to generate biofuels to substitute for fossil fuels can’t make sense in terms of carbon accounting, can it? I never thought so, but apparently some people have contended that it does. This Project Syndicate essay from Bjorn Lomborg addresses the question, and I think it’s worthy of consideration not just … More Cutting Down Trees for Biofuels?

Gmo Bans and Labeling Laws

Lynne Kiesling Tyler Cowen and I have several things in common — wry senses of humor, economist sensibilities, and a strong love of interesting and well-prepared food. Those last two traits at least show up in Tyler’s post yesterday about proposals in California to label foods to indicate whether or not they contain GMOs. Tyler … More Gmo Bans and Labeling Laws

Gayer & Viscusi: Energy Efficiency Regulations, the Environment, and Consumer Sovereignty

Lynne Kiesling Ted Gayer of the Brookings Institution and Kip Viscusi of Vanderbilt University have a new Mercatus working paper that is a careful and thoughtful critique of the rationale, the methodology, and the outcomes of federal energy efficiency regulations. Using standard Pigouvian externality theory, most environmental regulations are based on the “market failure” rationale … More Gayer & Viscusi: Energy Efficiency Regulations, the Environment, and Consumer Sovereignty

Green Urban Infrastructure Can Save Green(backs)

Lynne Kiesling Some of the best environmental projects also save money. This post at The Atlantic’s Cities blog highlights urban green infrastructure such as permeable pavement projects, including a recent study finding that they can also be economical: Looking at 479 case studies of green infrastructure projects around the U.S., the report finds that the … More Green Urban Infrastructure Can Save Green(backs)