Research AreasEnvironmental and Energy EconomicsEnvironment Archive

For PERI research on Labor Markets, Wages & Poverty from the current year, please go to the program home page.

Cap and Dividend: A State-by-State Analysis

REVISED, November 2010

August 2009 -- This new study by James Boyce and Matthew Riddle (in partnership with the Economics for Equity and the Environment Network) shows how the increased cost of fossil fuels created by a carbon cap policy could be distributed across the population, based on the carbon footprints of households in different income brackets in each state.

With a carbon price of $25 per ton, Boyce & Riddle estimate that the annual cost to the median family ranges from $239 per person in Oregon to $349 in Indiana. Under cap-and-dividend, each person would receive dividend payments of $386 per year. The median family would end up with a net gain ranging from $37 per person in Indiana to $147 in Oregon, in addition to the benefits of curbing global warming,

At the same time a cap-and-dividend policy would send a clear price signal that burning fossil fuels has a social cost, giving businesses and consumers a strong incentive to invest in energy efficiency and clean energy.

>> Download “Cap and Dividend: A State-by-State Analysis”
Learn more about cap and dividend
>> Download the press release
>> Learn more about the Economics for Equity and the Environment (E3) Network
Download Professor Boyce's testimony on cap-and-dividend before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee

Clean-Energy Investments and Jobs: A Response to the Heritage Foundation

August 2009 -- The Heritage Foundation recently released a response to “The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy" by Robert Pollin, James Heintz & Heidi Garrett-Peltier, which, surprisingly, finds consensus on the central point of that study: that investments in clean energy will generate roughly three times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within our fossil fuel energy infrastructure. Where the PERI authors and Janet Campbell of Heritage differ, however, is over the question of whether this job creation is inherently a good thing for the U.S. economy. In this brief response paper, Pollin, Heintz & Garrett-Peltier lay out their case that the U.S. economy will benefit greatly from creating an abundance of new job opportunities for people at all levels of income and credentials, and that it is a double benefit that these new job opportunities will mean mobilizing the U.S. workforce to the project of building a clean-energy economy and thereby defeating global warming.

>> Download “Clean Energy Investments, Jobs, And U.S. Economic Well-Being: A Third Response To Heritage Foundation Critics”
>> Read a response to earlier Heritage Foundation critiques

Cap-and-Dividend in the Congressional Debate

May 2009 -- In his testimony for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, James K. Boyce, Director of PERI's Development, Peacebuilding & the Environment program, describes the specifics of a cap-and-dividend approach to carbon capping, arguing that this approach would not only address global warming and energy independence, but would do so in a way that strengthens the economic well-being
of American families.

>> Download Professor Boyce's testimony on cap-and-dividend before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee

A Green Economy for Ontario

May 2009 -- In this study of Ontario’s green economy, Robert Pollin and Heidi Garrett-Peltier estimate the employment effects of the green investment program proposed by Premier Dalton McGuinty in Ontario. They focus on two alternative investment scenarios for the province: a baseline program of $18.6 billion invested in conservation and demand management; hydroelectric power; on-shore wind power; bioenergy; waste energy recycling; and solar power over 10 years, and a more ambitious $47.1 billion 10-year investment program, also investing in off-shore wind power and a smart grid electrical transmission system. They describe the jobs created by these strategies, and recommend ways for the province to maximize the quantity and quality of those jobs.

>> Download “Building the Green Economy: Employment Effects of Green Energy Investments for Ontario"
>> Read coverage of the study in the Toronto Star

State Economic Forecasts under Cap-and-Trade Legislation

April 2009 -- Several organizations have attempted to forecast the effects of cap-and-trade policies on economic performance, despite the near impossibility of producing reliable forecasts. In this series of state fact sheets, PERI has evaluated the economic implications of the forecasts generated by the most prominent of these groups, the American Council on Capital Formation and the National Association of Manufacturers (ACCF/NAM).

Even under ACCF/NAM’s worst case scenario, a cap-and-trade policy will have only a minor impact on the performance of the U.S. economy over time. PERI applied this scenario to the economies of 29 states, and demonstrates the degree to which economic vitality and environmental prudence can coincide under cap-and trade policies to limit carbon emissions.

>> Go to the cap-and-trade website to download state fact sheets or the detailed technical appendix

The Toxic 100 and Environmental Justice

April 2009 -- Justice in the Air: Tracking Toxic Pollution from America's Industries and Companies to Our States, Cities, and Neighborhoods uses the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory and Risk Screening Environmental Indicators to explore the demographics of those who are most affected by toxic pollution, and then establishes the corporate ownership of the plants responsible.   

Justice in the Air enhances the data available in PERI’s Toxic 100 Report with an environmental justice scorecard, ranking the Toxic 100 companies by the share of their health impacts from toxic air pollution that falls upon minority and low-income communities. 

>> Read more about Justice in the Air

Congressional Testimony on a Green Economic Stimulus Program

October 2008 -- In the face of the current crisis, federal policymakers are considering how to structure a second economic stimulus package. In this testimony for the House Committee on Education and Labor, Robert Pollin recommends for a program focused on three areas: educational services, public infrastructure, and green investments.  A program that combines these areas will have the capacity to generate nearly 3 million new jobs in the short run in response to an increased outlay of government spending of $150 billion. Over the longer term, at least another 400,000 jobs should be created because public infrastructure and green investments will create an enhanced climate for private business investment.

>> Download the full written testimony
>> Watch the video of the hearing
>> Download Robert Pollin's responses to the Committee's follow-up questions

A Green Stimulus Debate in the Media

November 2008 -- With the election of Preseident-elect Obama, the idea of a 'green recovery' is receiving widespread media attention. This presents PERI and our collaborators with an opportunity to clarify our research and describe our methodology to a broad audience. Below is a sample of the recent back-and-forth between media outlets, PERI authors, and the Center for American Progress.

>> Read David Kreutzer's article for the Heritage Foundation (November 5, 2008)
>> Read Robert Pollin's response to David Kreutzer
 (November 7, 2008)
>> Read Robert Pollin's response to the ongoing discussion on the Heritage website (November 13, 2008)
>> Read Joe Romm's comments on the Climate Progress blog (November 6, 2008)
>> Read "Does Green Energy Add 5 Million Jobs?" in the Wall Street Journal (November 7, 2008)

Reclaiming Nature: Environmental Justice and Ecological Restoration

2007 -- Reclaiming Nature, edited by James Boyce (Director of PERI's Development, Peacebuilding & the Environment program) along with Sunita Narain and Elizabeth A. Stanton, offers a hopeful new vision of the relationship between people and nature. The contributors to this volume chart a course between denial and despair over world’s mounting environmental problems. They realize that human activities can have positive impacts on nature’s wealth as well as negative ones. The crucial question is how we can tip the balance in favor of the positive. In the form of essays by well-known economists, environmentalists, and activists, this book offers readers hope for a better tomorrow, inspired by examples of people across the world who are building natural assets by adding value, democratizing access, capturing benefits, and defending the commons.

>>Link to the Natural Assets project homepage
>> Go to Anthem Press to order the book

In the Wake of the Storm: Environment, Disaster, and Race after Katrina

2006 -- Hurricane Katrina opened a window on a world often ignored by media, policy makers, and the public. Facing enhanced environmental vulnerability and stranded by a lack of public transit, residents of the poorest and blackest neighborhoods of New Orleans quickly educated America that disasters and rescues are not equal opportunity affairs. James K. Boyce, Director of PERI'S Environment Program, joins authors Manuel Pastor, Robert Bullard, Alice Fothergill, Rachel Morello-Frosh and Beverly Wright in this groundbreaking analysis of the complex repercussions of natural disaster, examining, in the context of Katrina, the ways in which environmental disparities by race and class operate in the United States.

>>In the Wake of the Storm Full Report (60 pages)

SEARCH PERI >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>