This Tuesday, 10/25: Debate on WA Initiative 732 regarding a carbon tax.

Where: McIntyre 107 When: 4 – 5pm, Tuesday 10/25 The Economics Department is hosting a discussion of WA initiative 732 which seeks to create a revenue neutral carbon tax in Washington state to combat greenhouse gas emissions. Advocates from both the ‘pro’ and ‘con’ camps will be speaking. Yoram Bauman, economist for and one of the founders of I-732 will speak in favor of the measure. Brandon Houskeeper from the Association of Washington Business will make the case against the measure.

Economics of Nuclear Energy in the United States

With the ever increasing concern of the effect of carbon-based fuels on our climate, the need for green energy is more prevalent than ever. So what is the most used green energy source in the United States? Solar? Wind? Hydroelectric? Actually, it’s Nuclear. Nuclear power plants provided about 20% of the United States’ total electricity last year, compared with 6% from Hydroelectric, 1.6% from Biomass, 0.4% from Solar, 4.7% from Wind, and 7% from “Other Renewables.” Nuclear energy provides the same amount of electricity as all other forms of green energy combined, 20% compared to 19.7%. Many other countries get Continue reading Economics of Nuclear Energy in the United States

Fascinating Idea to Keep Coal Market Burning

In the past couple of years, we have seen the energy market completely turn around. We’ve seen the demand for natural gas increase while reliance on coal has continued to decrease. Add that to increased use of renewable energy in the form of wind, solar etc. and it spells big time trouble for the coal industry. President Obama has continued to push away the use of coal and tried to focus on slowing down Global Warming in the form of renewable energy and agreements across the world. Coal companies are being forced  to shut down because of how much Carbon they contribute to the atmosphere and Continue reading Fascinating Idea to Keep Coal Market Burning

The Price is Wrong

This may not be the easiest pill to swallow, but worldwide, energy prices are far too low. In the United States, on average, the federal U.S. tax on gasoline has remained at merely 18 cents per gallon since 1993. We all know that there are negative effects that come with the overconsumption of nonrenewable energy, but is it reflected in the prices? When gas, or any other fossil fuel, is bought at market price, the cost fails to account for the environmental and social impacts that come with the production and consumption of these fuels. This issue is called a Continue reading The Price is Wrong

Not All Energy Efficiency is Created Equally

We are constantly bombarded with advertisements of goods that market their innovations in efficiency. Whether it is a car with a higher MPG, or a washing machine that uses less water per load, companies are quickly realizing that environmental efficiency is a huge appeal to a broad range of consumers. Although energy efficiency with everyday goods is a step in the right direction, not all energy efficiency should be treated equally. In fact, some cases of energy efficiency might end up being more harmful in the long run. Although this may seem counterintuitive, it can be explained with Jevons Paradox. Continue reading Not All Energy Efficiency is Created Equally

New Nuclear

Energy consumption is rising rapidly. The exponential rise in population and technology means that this consumption won’t be decreasing any time soon. Most of this energy consumption comes in the form of electricity. An Iphone eats up as much electricity as a refrigerator (taking into account servers and all energy use behind the scenes). That is a lot of added energy use even in small family homes. Energy consumption is not going to decrease any time in the near future. Clean energy and green technologies are making an effort, but barely making a dent in total production. Non-hydroelectric energy (created Continue reading New Nuclear

Keystone XL Economics Part II

Following up on Collin’s article yesterday, I want to add an additional perspective on the economics of the Keystone XL pipeline. First off, while the State Department report on the Keystone XL pipeline suggested that the pipeline will probably not increase greenhouse gas emissions, a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service found that the pipeline would increase greenhouse gas emissions anywhere between 3 and 21 million metric tons annually, assuming that the pipeline will accelerate tar sands oil production. This is mainly due to the fact that refining tar sands oil is far more energy intensive than refining normal crude oil. Another environmental Continue reading Keystone XL Economics Part II