Environmental, energy, and ecological problems have grown faster than their solutions. Economists have an important role to play to address these issues by using the latest science, rigorous methods and innovative policy solutions. The SWEEEP webinar series aims to convene the academic community to contribute to the scientific, economic, and policy discourses on important environmental and energy issues.
About the founding institutions
The European Institute on Economics and the Environment (eiee.org) is a partnership between Resources for the Future and Foundation CMCC. EIEE’s impartial economic and environmental research aims to facilitate the transition to a sustainable, inclusive society. Reference: Prof. Massimo Tavoni
The Energy Management research team at the Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) combines research on economics, strategic management, technology innovation and energy policy in order to create and share knowledge that will help society move towards a low-carbon future.
Reference: Prof. Sébastien Houde
The ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research is a leading German economic policy institute and a member of the Leibniz Association. ZEW’s applied research aims to study and help design well-performing markets and institutions in Europe. In particular, it seeks to understand how to create a market framework that will enable the sustainable and efficient development of European economies.
Reference: Prof. Sebastian Rausch
The Centre for Energy Policy and Economics (CEPE) was established in 1999 to complement the natural science and technical-oriented disciplines at ETH Zurich, by contributing to research and teaching in energy policy and economics. Through rigorous application of modern empirical methods, the goal of CEPE is to make critical contributions to the design and evaluation of energy and climate policy instruments.
Reference: Prof. Massimo Filippini
Wednesday, 16 September 2020, 3.00-4.00 PM CET
Title: Enforcement in service delivery: Smart meters and the returns to electricity quality improvements
Poor service quality and theft are challenges common to the electricity sector in developing countries. Smart meters provide additional information to both consumers and utilities, potentially mitigating these challenges. In a randomized experiment in Kyrgyzstan, smart meters replaced houses’ old meters. Post-intervention electricity service quality was significantly better among the treatment group relative to the control group. Consumers’ returns to electricity quality improvements were substantial. Treated households’ peak electricity consumption and expenditures on electric appliances increased, consistent with an improvement in consumer welfare. The utility benefits from the meters, via increased billed consumption and bill payment, albeit less than consumers do.
More details will follow
Wednesday, 23 September 2020, 3.00-4.00 PM CET
Title: Inequality, information failures and air pollution
Research spanning several disciplines has repeatedly documented disproportionate pollution exposure among the poor and communities of color. Among the various proposed causes of this pattern, those that have received the most attention are income inequality, discrimination, and firm costs (of inputs and regulatory compliance). We argue that an additional channel – information – is likely to play an important role in generating disparities in pollution exposure. We present multiple reasons for a tendency to underestimate pollution burdens, as well as empirical evidence that this underestimation can disproportionately affect low-income households. Using a model of housing choice, we then derive conditions under which “hidden” pollution leads to an inequality – even when all households face the same lack of information. This inequality arises because households sort according to known pollution and other disamenities, which we show are positively correlated with hidden pollution. To help bridge the gap between environmental justice and economics, we discuss the relationship between hidden information and three different distributional measures: exposure to pollution; exposure to hidden pollution; and welfare loss due to hidden pollution.
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Wednesday, 30 September 2020, 3.00-4.00 PM CET
Title: Are economists getting climate dynamics right and does it matter?
Speaker: Simon Dietz, London School of Economics
We show that economic models of climate change produce climate dynamics inconsistent with current climate science models: (i) the delay between CO2 emissions and warming is much too long and (ii) positive carbon cycle feedbacks are mostly absent. These inconsistencies lead to biased economic policy advice. Controlling for how the economy is represented, different climate models result in significantly different optimal CO2 emissions. A long delay between emissions and warming leads to optimal carbon prices that are too low and attaches too much importance to the discount rate. Similarly, we find that omitting positive carbon cycle feedbacks leads to optimal carbon prices that are too low. We conclude it is important for policy purposes to bring economic models in line with the state of the art in climate science and we make practical suggestions for how to do so.
More details will follow
Source: EIEE website