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Full-Text Articles in Law

Market Segmentation Vs. Subsidization: Clean Energy Credits And The Commerce Clause's Economic Wisdom, Felix Mormann Mar 2019

Market Segmentation Vs. Subsidization: Clean Energy Credits And The Commerce Clause's Economic Wisdom, Felix Mormann

Felix Mormann

The dormant Commerce Clause has long been a thorn in the side of state policymakers. The latest battleground for the clash between federal courts and state legislatures is energy policy. In the absence of a decisive federal policy response to climate change, nearly thirty states have created a new type of securities—clean energy credits—to promote lowcarbon renewable and nuclear power. As more and more of these programs come under attack for alleged violations of the dormant Commerce Clause, this Article explores the constitutional constraints on clean energy credit policies. Careful analysis of recent and ongoing litigation reveals the need for …


The Carbon-Neutral Individual, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Anne C. Steinemann Dec 2018

The Carbon-Neutral Individual, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Anne C. Steinemann

Michael Vandenbergh

Reducing the risk of catastrophic climate change will require leveling off greenhouse gas emissions over the short term and reducing emissions by an estimated 60-80% over the long term. To achieve these reductions, we argue that policymakers and regulators should focus not only on factories and other industrial sources of emissions but also on individuals. We construct a model that demonstrates that individuals contribute roughly one-third of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. This one-third share accounts for roughly 8% of the world's total, more than the total emissions of any other country except China, and more than several …


Individual Carbon Emissions: The Low-Hanging Fruit, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Jack Barkenbus, Jonathan Gilligan Dec 2018

Individual Carbon Emissions: The Low-Hanging Fruit, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Jack Barkenbus, Jonathan Gilligan

Michael Vandenbergh

The individual and household sector generates roughly 30 to 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and is a potential source of prompt and large emissions reductions. Yet the assumption that only extensive government regulation will generate substantial reductions from the sector is a barrier to change, particularly in a political environment hostile to regulation. This Article demonstrates that prompt and large reductions can be achieved without relying predominantly on regulatory measures. The Article identifies seven "low-hanging fruit:" actions that have the potential to achieve large reductions at less than half the cost of the leading current federal legislation, require …


Good For You, Bad For Us: The Financial Disincentive For Net Demand, Jim Rossi, Michael P. Vandenbergh Dec 2018

Good For You, Bad For Us: The Financial Disincentive For Net Demand, Jim Rossi, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Michael Vandenbergh

This Article examines a principal barrier to reducing U.S. carbon emissions — electricity distributors’ financial incentives to sell more of their product — and introduces the concept of net demand reduction (“NDR”) as a primary goal for the modern energy regulatory system. Net electricity demand must decrease substantially from projected levels for the United States to achieve widely-endorsed carbon targets by 2050. Although social and behavioral research has identified cost-effective ways to reduce electricity demand, state-of-the-art programs to curtail demand have not been implemented on a widespread basis. We argue that electric distribution utilities are important gatekeepers that can determine …


Can Clean Energy Policy Promote Environmental, Economic, And Social Sustainability?, Felix Mormann Oct 2018

Can Clean Energy Policy Promote Environmental, Economic, And Social Sustainability?, Felix Mormann

Felix Mormann

Two and a half decades of clean energy policymaking focused primarily on environmental and economic sustainability have yielded considerable environmental and economic benefits. Along the way, however, other policy considerations, such as the social sustainability of the transition to a cleaner, renewably fueled energy economy, have gone largely overlooked. As clean energy technologies continue to gain ever-greater traction in the United States and global energy economies, the social impacts of their enabling policies become more and more salient. Already, ratepayers, taxpayers, and other stakeholders who fear being left behind by the clean energy transition question the “fairness” of today’s renewable …


Requirements For A Renewables Revolution, Felix Mormann Jun 2018

Requirements For A Renewables Revolution, Felix Mormann

Felix Mormann

This Article identifies and analyzes the obstacles presently barring the rise of renewables, evaluates the role of the current policy favorite emission pricing, and offers design recommendations for a comprehensive U.S. renewables policy.

Successful climate change mitigation requires a timely shift to renewable sources of energy, such as sunlight, wind or tides, to decarbonize today’s high-carbon electricity sector. But market pull alone is not strong enough. This Article discusses the most widely cited economic barriers and identifies and evaluates additional obstacles related to the electricity sector’s regulatory framework.

Emission pricing is largely considered the most efficient policy to drive the …


Smarter Finance For Cleaner Energy: Open Up Master Limited Partnerships (Mlps) And Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) To Renewable Energy Investment, Felix Mormann, Dan Reicher Jun 2018

Smarter Finance For Cleaner Energy: Open Up Master Limited Partnerships (Mlps) And Real Estate Investment Trusts (Reits) To Renewable Energy Investment, Felix Mormann, Dan Reicher

Felix Mormann

This policy proposal makes the case for opening Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) — both well-established investment structures — to renewable energy investment. MLPs and, more recently, REITs have a proven track record for promoting oil, gas, and other traditional energy sources. When extended to renewable energy projects these tools will help promote growth, move renewables closer to subsidy independence, and vastly broaden the base of investors in America’s energy economy.


Mobilizing Public Markets To Finance Renewable Energy Projects: Insights From Expert Stakeholders, Paul Schwabe, Michael Mendelsohn, Felix Mormann, Douglas J. Arent Jun 2018

Mobilizing Public Markets To Finance Renewable Energy Projects: Insights From Expert Stakeholders, Paul Schwabe, Michael Mendelsohn, Felix Mormann, Douglas J. Arent

Felix Mormann

Financing renewable energy projects in the United States can be a complex, time consuming, and expensive process. Currently, most equity investment in new renewable power production facilities is supported by tax credits and accelerated depreciation benefits, and is constrained by the pool of potential investors that can fully use these tax benefits and are willing to engage in complex financial structures. For debt financing, non-government lending to renewables has largely been provided by foreign banks that may be under future lending constraints due to economic and regulatory conditions.

To discuss these and other renewable energy financing challenges and to identify …


Beyond Tax Credits: Smarter Tax Policy For A Cleaner, More Democratic Energy Future, Felix Mormann Jun 2018

Beyond Tax Credits: Smarter Tax Policy For A Cleaner, More Democratic Energy Future, Felix Mormann

Felix Mormann

Solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies have the potential to mitigate climate change, secure America’s energy independence, and create millions of green jobs. In the absence of a price on carbon emissions, however, these long-term benefits will not be realized without near-term policy support for renewables. This Article assesses the efficiency of federal tax incentives for renewables and proposes policy reform to more cost-effectively promote renewable energy through capital markets and crowdfunding.

Federal support for renewable energy projects today comes primarily in the form of tax incentives such as accelerated depreciation and, critically, tax credits. Empirical evidence reveals that …


Enhancing The Investor Appeal Of Renewable Energy, Felix Mormann Jun 2018

Enhancing The Investor Appeal Of Renewable Energy, Felix Mormann

Felix Mormann

This article introduces an investor-oriented framework for the evaluation of renewable energy policy, applies these newly developed criteria to a qualitative comparison of the primary policy instruments, and offers recommendations to enhance the investor appeal of renewable energy in the United States.

The multi-trillion dollar task of scaling renewable energy technologies to mitigate climate change, ensure energy security, and create green jobs is one of the most daunting challenges of the twenty-first century. It is, in fact, too great a challenge for either the public or private sector to shoulder alone. Rather, public policy must catalyze private investment in renewable …


Voter Psychology And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr Jan 2018

Voter Psychology And The Carbon Tax, Gary M. Lucas Jr

Gary M. Lucas Jr.

Economists across the political spectrum argue that a carbon tax is the most effective and economically efficient policy for addressing climate change. Voters, however, strongly oppose the carbon tax and instead favor “green” subsidies and command-and-control regulations. If carefully designed, these policies might complement a carbon tax, but by themselves, they will make global warming mitigation incredibly expensive and perhaps even infeasible. Moreover, if poorly designed, subsidies and regulations can be counterproductive.

This Article argues that the public dislikes the carbon tax because the tax possesses attributes that make it psychologically unappealing relative to other climate policy instruments. The Article …


The Geography Of Climate Change Litigation: Implications For Transnational Regulatory Governance, Hari M. Osofsky Jul 2017

The Geography Of Climate Change Litigation: Implications For Transnational Regulatory Governance, Hari M. Osofsky

Hari Osofsky

This Article aims to forward the dialogue about transnational regulatory governance through a law and geography analysis of climate change litigation. Part II begins by considering fundamental barriers to responsible transnational energy production. Part III proposes a place-based approach to dissecting climate change litigation and a model for understanding its spatial implications. Parts IV through VI map representative examples of climate change litigation in subnational, national, and supranational fora. The Article concludes by exploring the normative implications of this descriptive geography; it engages the intersection of international law, international relations, and geography as a jumping-off point for a companion article.


California Climate Law---Model Or Object Lesson?, Daniel A. Farber Aug 2016

California Climate Law---Model Or Object Lesson?, Daniel A. Farber

Daniel A Farber

In the invitation to this Symposium on Reconceptualizing the Future of Environmental Law, the organizers explained that the Symposium “focuses on the continued expansion of environmental law into distinct areas of the law, requiring an increasingly multidisciplinary approach beyond that of traditional federal regulation.” In short, the question posed is about the future proliferation of environmental measures outside the previous domains of federal environmental statutes. At the risk of being guilty of local parochialism, I would like to discuss how the future described by the organizers has already arrived in California--both in the sense that a great deal is happening …


Energy Poverty And The Environment, Carmen G. Gonzalez Dec 2014

Energy Poverty And The Environment, Carmen G. Gonzalez

Carmen G. Gonzalez

Nearly 3 billion people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (the Energy Poor) face daily hardships due to lack of modern energy for cooking, heating, sanitation, lighting, transportation, and basic mechanical power. Despite their minimal greenhouse gas emissions, the Energy Poor will be disproportionately burdened by the floods, droughts, rising sea levels, and other disturbances caused by climate change. Although climate change has been framed as an issue of climate debt and climate justice, the plight of the Energy Poor has received short shrift in the climate change negotiations. Will efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions consign the Energy Poor …


Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases And Other Air Pollutants In The First Obama Administration And Major Air Issues For The Second Term, Patricia Mccubbin Feb 2014

Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases And Other Air Pollutants In The First Obama Administration And Major Air Issues For The Second Term, Patricia Mccubbin

Patricia Ross McCubbin

President Barack Obama has made addressing climate change the centerpiece of his environmental policy. Most recently, on June 25, 2013, the President gave a groundbreaking speech detailing the steps his administration will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the United States. Of great controversy, the President directed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to limit emissions of greenhouse gases from both new and existing power plants, which represent 40% of total U.S. carbon emissions. The President’s call to action – in his June 2013 speech and throughout his first term – stands in stark contrast to Congress’s inability to …