Economic efficiency and societal equity are two important goals of public policy. Energy and climate policies have the potential to affect both. Efficiency is increased by substituting low-carbon energy for fossil energy (mitigating an externality) while equity is served if such substitution enhances consumption opportunities of unfavored groups (low income households or future generations). However policies that are effective in reducing pollution may not be so effective in redistributing consumption and vice-versa. This dissertation explores potential trade-offs between equity and efficiency arising in energy and climate policies.
Chapter 1 yields two important results. First, while effective in reducing pollution, energy efficiency policies may fall short in protecting future generations from resource depletion. Second, deployment of technologies that increase the ease with which capital can substitute for energy may enhance the ability of societies to sustain consumption and achieve intertemporal equity.
Results in Chapter 1 imply that technologies more intensive in capital and materials and less intensive in carbon such as corn ethanol may be effective in enhancing intertemporal equity. However the effectiveness of corn ethanol (relative to other technologies) in reducing emissions will depend upon the environmental performance of the industry. Chapter 2 measures environmental efficiency of ethanol plants, identifies ways to enhance performance, and calculates the cost of such improvements based on a survey of ethanol plants in the US. Results show that plants may be able to increase profits and reduce emissions simultaneously rendering the ethanol industry more effective in tackling efficiency.
Finally while cap and trade proposals are designed to correcting a market failure by reducing pollution, allocation of emission allowances may affect income distribution and, hence, intra-temporal equity. Chapter 3 proves that under plausible conditions on preferences and technology increasing efficiency requires greater transfers to low income households the higher the effect of these transfers on the price of permits and the lower their effect on the price of consumption goods. This denotes market conditions under which efficiency and equity are complementary goals.
|Advisor:||Fulginiti, Lilyan E.|
|Commitee:||Perrin, Richard K., Peterson, Wesley, Schoengold, Karina|
|School:||The University of Nebraska - Lincoln|
|School Location:||United States -- Nebraska|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Climate Change, Agricultural economics, Sustainability, Energy|
|Keywords:||Cap and trade, Climate policy, Energy and climate policy, Energy policy, Environmental efficiency, Equity-efficiency tradeoffs, Low-income households, Maximum sustainable consumption, Shadow cost of GHG|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be