Navigation Links
Researchers calculate the cost of CO2 emissions, call for carbon tax
Date:7/7/2010

Two Rice University researchers are calling on policymakers to encourage the transition from coal-based electricity production to a system based on natural gas through a carbon tax.

Such a mechanism would help limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. At the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December, the United States pledged to reduce the 2005 levels of CO2 emissions by 17 percent by 2020.

Dagobert Brito, the George A. Peterkin Professor of Political Economy, and Robert Curl, the Kenneth S. Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor Emeritus of Natural Sciences and winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in chemistry, made this recommendation in a paper published by Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. A PDF of the paper can be viewed at http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/BI-pub-BritoCurlCO2ElecEcon-070210.pdf/view.

Brito and Curl argue that there are three important unresolved questions in the current debate on the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions: "First, what is the range of prices on carbon dioxide emissions that will be necessary to achieve the desired reductions? Second, should electrical generators and transport fuels be regulated jointly or separately? Third, should the restrictions be in the form of a quantity limit such as cap and trade or in the form of a carbon tax?"

The authors calculated the cost of CO2 emissions by modeling the transition from coal-based electricity generation to a system based on natural gas. Because coal-based electricity generation accounts for about a third of U.S. CO2 emissions (some 2 billion metric tons), Brito and Curl describe it as "the 900-pound gorilla in the room." Replacing coal generators with natural gas, they believe, "is the most economical way to achieve a target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent."

The United States is already moving from coal-based electricity production to a system based on natural gas. The authors said policymakers should encourage this transition, but they doubt whether natural gas supplies will be adequate to maintain this shift in the long run. Development of nuclear and renewable electricity generation will need to continue at a rapid pace. Natural gas, however, can be the transition technology to carbon-neutral electrical generation. "Unless or until there is a technological breakthrough in carbon sequestration," Brito and Curl wrote, "the carbon intensity of coal means that 'clean coal' cannot be an important factor in reducing carbon dioxide. Replacing existing coal generation capacity with modern coal generation plants can only reduce total carbon dioxide by 5 percent."

The authors noted that the efficiency of coal generators is very concentrated. For instance, "at current prices for fuels, a carbon price of approximately $30/ metric ton (MT) will shut down 10 percent of coal generator capacity," they wrote. "An additional increase of $15 resulting in a carbon dioxide price of $45/MT will shut down 90 percent of coal generator capacity."

The narrow range for the price of carbon dioxide means that coal generator capacity is very sensitive to the price of carbon dioxide emissions. Consequently, small variations in the price of carbon dioxide emissions can lead to large variations in the amount of electricity supplied by coal generators. The market in carbon dioxide permits could possibly create volatility in the market for electricity.

As a result of the risk of high volatility, the authors back a carbon tax to assist the transition from coal to natural gas. They also assert "it is possible to decouple the pricing of allocations for transportation fuel from the allocations for the production of electricity," because the rise in carbon prices needed to effect the shift in electricity generation would have very little impact on transportation fuels.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers demystifying complex cellular communications hubs found in sensory neurons
2. Pitt researchers find new proteins that regulate blood pressure, flow
3. Rutgers researchers discover secrets of nutritious corn breed that withstands rigors of handling
4. Researchers discover trigger to early, effective antibody response
5. Hips dont lie: Researchers find more accurate technique to determine sex of skeletal remains
6. WSU researchers use super-high pressures to create super battery
7. Cell signaling classification system gives researchers new tool
8. Researchers discover how insulin-producing cells increase during pregnancy
9. Researchers develop accurate way to predict the age when women will hit the menopause
10. Researchers discover source of essential nutrients for mid-ocean algae
11. Researchers at UH work to prevent neurological diseases
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/2/2017)... Summary This report provides all ... and its partnering interests and activities since 2010. ... The Partnering Deals and Alliance since 2010 report provides ... of the world,s leading life sciences companies. ... ensure inclusion of the most up to date deal ...
(Date:2/28/2017)... 2017 News solutions for biometrics, bag drop ... ... 14 to 16 March, Materna will present its complete end-to-end ... travel is a real benefit for passengers. To accelerate the ... passenger touch point solutions to take passengers through the complete ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- With the biometrics market to exceed $10 ... that innovative and agile startups must incorporate into ... changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication (MFA), point-of-sale (PoS), ... "Companies can no longer afford to cut corners ... Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ABI Research. "Pairing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... March 23, 2017 NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage  ... Cancer ... significant strain on health care systems, in terms of costs ... so too does the development of innovative and efficient therapies ... Among the many types of cancer treatments, a growing number ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... March 23, 2017 , ... ... announced the hire of Dr. Sigmund “Sig” Floyd as Vice President ? Global ... and joint development activities. , “Dr. Floyd’s career has spanned 30 years in ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... MONICA, Calif. , March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... are proud to announce their extended partnership and ... will be headlined by the 21 st ... BIOMEDevice Boston, taking place May 3-4, 2017. ... Advanced Medical Technology Association (ADVAMED) President and CEO, ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ALBANY, New York , March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... market is largely fragmented, states a research report by ... Sanofi S.A., Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., and AbbVie Inc., ... market in 2015. The prominent players in this market ... to expand their product portfolio, which is likely to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: