Achieving a net-zero energy transition to mitigate the impacts of climate change represents an existential crisis and pressing public policy challenge. While economists often tout the economic efficiency of carbon pricing, in practice jurisdictions are applying a mix of policy instruments to reduce emissions, including regulations, performance standards, subsidies, and R&D funding. These “second-best” policies may be preferred by policymakers seeking to achieve additional policy objectives, such as incentivizing technological change, distributional equity, or political acceptability. However, the use of such overlapping policies can also create tradeoffs across policy goals which have been under-explored.

My research explores how alternative approaches to decarbonization manage trade-offs between environmental, economic, and social objectives. I use empirical and simulation modelling tools from economics, engineering, public policy, and environmental studies to evaluate the impact of existing policies as well as the expected impact of potential future policies across multiple objectives. 

Peer-reviewed Publications

Working Papers

Jurisdictions have implemented a variety of policy instruments to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. However, interactions between overlapping climate policies can lead to unintended impacts. This study examines how interactions between an incomplete emissions cap and additional climate policy impact emissions, costs, and innovation using the case of California’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and cap-and-trade program. Simulations using a computable general equilibrium model demonstrate that interactions between an LCFS and a cap-and-trade program can result in higher emissions and higher average abatement costs relative to an emissions cap alone. Emissions increase as a result of the LCFS incentivizing greater production of alternative transportation fuels with emissions not covered by the emissions cap. Emissions leakage can be mitigated by incorporating elements of a fixed-price instrument (i.e. carbon price floor/ceiling) to improve policy complementarity or requiring an obligation for the lifecycle GHG emissions of fuels under the emissions cap.

[Working paper

Select Policy Publications