RAND Study Reveals Criteria for Success in GHG Policy

A new RAND Corporation study examines how policymakers can evaluate competing greenhouse gas (GHG) emission policies using more than just cost-effectiveness as the criterion.

Researchers reviewed three past attempts to develop energy policy: the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles, which involved direct federal investment in new technologies; the BTU energy tax, which attempted to tax energy output; and Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards, which regulate energy efficiency in new vehicles.

The review finds that policies likely to have political viability and achieve environmental goals:

  • Include burden-sharing mechanisms that are transparent, means-tested, and limited in scope and duration when considering incentive-based greenhouse gas mitigation policy.
  • Couple the mitigation policy with a strategic framework for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) to reduce long-term GHG emissions, including a clear role for public-sector financing from revenues generated by the mitigation policy.
  • Limit irreversible commitments to maintain the ability to adapt to uncertain and changing future circumstances.

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