The US biofuel mandate as a substitute for carbon cap-and-trade

The US biofuel mandate as a substitute for carbon cap-and-trade Environmental economists might recommend a cap-and-trade program as a good way to lower emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), but US carbon cap-and-trade legislation was proposed and failed to become law. Instead, the biofuel use mandate is the primary existing GHG reduction program in the United States. The mandate effectively requires a rising amount of GHG abatement each year, but allows regulated parties to buy and sell credits to meet annual obligations. Although many aspects of the biofuel mandate look similar to a cap-and-trade program, there are additional requirements, such as feedstock eligibility limitations and waivers. The existence of the mandates is presumably conditional on all the legal requirements, but these conditions represent a departure from a strict GHG cap-and-trade program.We estimate GHG abatement costs of the mandate and compare them to a hypothetical cap-and-trade program targeting vehicle fuels. The mandate abatement cost is found to be higher than a hypothetical GHG cap-and-trade. Our results show that the RFS might be judged as a feasible substitute for a cap-and-trade regime that can deliver GHG reductions, but at a higher cost reflecting its multiple objectives. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Energy Policy Elsevier

The US biofuel mandate as a substitute for carbon cap-and-trade

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0301-4215
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.enpol.2017.10.041
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Environmental economists might recommend a cap-and-trade program as a good way to lower emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), but US carbon cap-and-trade legislation was proposed and failed to become law. Instead, the biofuel use mandate is the primary existing GHG reduction program in the United States. The mandate effectively requires a rising amount of GHG abatement each year, but allows regulated parties to buy and sell credits to meet annual obligations. Although many aspects of the biofuel mandate look similar to a cap-and-trade program, there are additional requirements, such as feedstock eligibility limitations and waivers. The existence of the mandates is presumably conditional on all the legal requirements, but these conditions represent a departure from a strict GHG cap-and-trade program.We estimate GHG abatement costs of the mandate and compare them to a hypothetical cap-and-trade program targeting vehicle fuels. The mandate abatement cost is found to be higher than a hypothetical GHG cap-and-trade. Our results show that the RFS might be judged as a feasible substitute for a cap-and-trade regime that can deliver GHG reductions, but at a higher cost reflecting its multiple objectives.

Journal

Energy PolicyElsevier

Published: Feb 1, 2018

References

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