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Integrating Climate, Energy, and Air Pollution Policies

Integrating Climate, Energy, and Air Pollution Policies

Gary Bryner
with Robert J. Duffy
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: MIT Press
Pages: 260
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  • Book Info
    Integrating Climate, Energy, and Air Pollution Policies
    Book Description:

    The idea of the interconnectedness of nature is at the heart of environmental science. By contrast, American policy making and governance are characterized by fragmentation. Separation of powers, divergent ideologies, and geographical separation all work against a unified environmental policy. Nowhere does this mismatch between problem and solution pose a greater challenge than in climate change policy, which has implications for energy use, air quality, and such related areas as agriculture and land use. This book stresses the importance of environmental policy integration at all levels of government. It shows that effectively integrated climate, energy, and air pollution policy would ensure that tradeoffs are clear, that policies are designed to maximize and coordinate beneficial effects, and that implementation takes into account the wide range of related issues. The authors focus on four major climate-change policy issues: burning coal to generate electricity, increasing the efficiency and use of alternative energy, reducing emissions from transportation, and understanding agriculture's role in both generating and sequestering greenhouse gases. Going beyond specific policy concerns, the book provides a framework, based on the idea of policy integration, for assessing future climate-change policy choices.The hardcover edition does not include a dust jacket.

    eISBN: 978-0-262-30523-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Robert J. Duffy
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    The idea of the interconnectedness of nature and that “everything is connected to everything else” is at the heart of environmental science. Indeed, the very notion of an ecosystem suggests elements are linked together and act in harmony. At the same time, there may also not be any word more descriptive of US policy making and governance than that offragmentation. The constitutional structure of separated powers and checks and balances combine with divergent ideological views, geographic representation, and political competition to fracture and diffuse governmental power.

    Environmental protection imperatives clash with political institutions and values in other ways as...

  5. 2 Fragmentation, Policy Integration, and Policy Change
    (pp. 17-40)

    As we have seen, air pollution, climate change, energy use, agriculture, and land use are all intimately connected. Air pollutants that pose major public health threats are not the same ones as those that pose global climate threats but they often come from the same sources, and reductions aimed at protecting public health can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More broadly, economic activity and environmental quality are inextricably linked through emissions of fossil fuels and other sources of greenhouse gases and traditional air pollutants. Indeed, as Holdren (2001, 10) argues, the steady increase in carbon dioxide emissions that is driving...

  6. 3 US Climate Policy
    (pp. 41-70)

    Climate change requires a global policy response but US climate policy plays a critical international role for several reasons. The United States has been the major emitter of GHGs and its cumulative emissions tower over those of other nations. If the United States does not curtail its emissions, other countries will resist taking action, fearing that it will do little good. The pressure, then, is on the United States to take the necessary actions now to begin to cut emissions through dramatic investments in energy efficiency, conservation, and existing renewable energy technologies. The policy challenges represented by the threat of...

  7. 4 Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Generating Electricity
    (pp. 71-100)

    Despite the considerable progress made in improving the energy efficiency of the US economy, emissions from generating electricity continue to be a major contributor to GHG levels. Although the economic downturn that began in 2008 has reduced the overall growth rate, electricity demand is projected to rise by just over 30 percent over the next quarter century (US Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, 2011c). Rising demand for electricity is a problem because coal is the dominant fuel for generating electricity in the United States, and it is dirty. In fact, coal is the single largest source of GHG emissions...

  8. 5 Increasing Energy Efficiency and the Use of Alternative Energy
    (pp. 101-128)

    Improving energy efficiency is a compelling climate and energy priority because it reduces air pollution, cuts spending on energy, avoids the need for siting new facilities, and eliminates the economic and environmental costs of building new sources of energy. Developing alternative energy sources is also a critical element of climate policy but virtually every option includes difficult costs, trade-offs, or problems. From the perspective of policy integration, energy efficiency is the clear winner, and compared to the cost of developing alternative energy sources energy efficiency investments are usually a bargain. Many options for reducing CO2emissions through energy efficiency cost...

  9. 6 Transforming Transportation
    (pp. 129-154)

    Nowhere is the case for policy integration clearer and more compelling than for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Transportation sources are responsible for 27 percent of total US carbon emissions and 33 percent of all CO2emissions from fossil fuel combustion (US EPA 2011e). Passenger cars and light-duty trucks emit about 60 percent of the total, with trucks and buses emitting just under 20 percent, and the balance coming from other forms of transportation. Furthermore, transportation emissions increased by 16 percent from 1990 to 2009 as a result of population growth, economic growth, urban sprawl, low gas prices, and...

  10. 7 Integrating Agriculture, Energy, and Climate Change Policies
    (pp. 155-176)

    Agricultural and related activities have significant implications for energy use, air and water quality, and climate change. Farming covers 40 percent of the globe (IASSTD 2009) and worldwide, agricultural and land-use decisions account for about one-third of human-driven global warming (Paustian et al. 2008). In addition, farming in the United States is very energy intensive. Producing food uses more fossil fuel than any other economic activity except for transportation. Moreover, agricultural production accounts for the majority of the food system’s GHG emissions; an estimated 50 to 83 percent of emissions occur before food leaves the farm (Weber and Matthews 2008)....

  11. 8 Climate Change, Policy Integration, and Ecological Sustainability
    (pp. 177-200)

    For readers who always begin books by reading the last chapter and for others who dozed off part way, here is what you missed. Although climate science still has many uncertainties, trends in the research since the 1990s clearly indicate that the threat of disruptive climate change is becoming more, not less, certain. Given the magnitude of the risks involved, the disruptions that are already occurring, and the way in which they are distributed in the world so that the poor are likely to be hurt first and worst by those changes, the case for taking action to reduce the...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 201-204)
  13. References
    (pp. 205-222)
  14. Index
    (pp. 223-252)