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Washington, DC, United States

Pizer W.A.,Duke University | Morgenstern R.,1616 P St. NW | Shih J.-S.,1616 P St. NW
Energy Policy | Year: 2011

Corporate voluntary climate programs have had limited evaluation. The self-selection of participants-an essential element of such initiatives-poses challenges to researchers because the decision to participate may not be random and may be correlated with outcomes. This study aims to gage the environmental effectiveness of the industrial sector elements of two early voluntary climate change programs with established track records, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Wise and the U.S. Department of Energy's Voluntary Reporting of Greenhouse Gases Program (1605(b)). Particular attention is paid to the participation decision and how various assumptions affect estimates of program outcomes using propensity score matching methods applied to plant-level Census data. Overall, the effects are modest: reductions in fuel and electricity expenditures are no more than 10 percent and probably less than 5 percent. Virtually no evidence suggests either program has a statistically significant effect on fuel costs. Some evidence indicates that participation in Climate Wise led to a 3-5 percent increase in electricity costs that vanished after two years. Stronger evidence suggests that participation in 1605(b) led to a 4-8 percent decrease in electricity costs that persisted for at least three years. These results suggest that while voluntary programs can play some role in addressing climate change, they are unlikely to bring about the kinds of steep reductions called for in the current debate. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Sedjo R.A.,1616 P St. NW | Sohngen B.,1616 P St. NW | Riddle A.,1616 P St. NW
Industrial Biotechnology | Year: 2013

A concern of many environmentalists is that the use of biomass energy will decimate the forests. Searchinger et al. examined this issue related to corn ethanol and suggested that substituting corn ethanol for petroleum would increase carbon emissions associated with the land conversion abroad necessary to offset the decline in corn availability.1,2 Associated with these concerns is the overall issue of climate change.3 This issue is broader than simply corn. If agricultural croplands are drawn into the production of biofuel feedstocks, commodity prices are expected to rise, triggering land conversions overseas, releasing carbon emissions, and offsetting the carbon reductions expected from bioenergy. Using a general stylized forest sector management model, our study examines the economic potential of traditional industrial forests and supplemental dedicated fuelwood plantations to produce biomass on submarginal lands. It finds that these sources can economically produce large levels of biomass without compromising crop production, thereby mitigating the land conversion and carbon emissions effects posited by the Searchinger Hypothesis. © Copyright 2013, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2013.

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