Columbus, Ohio – New research indicates that setting a price for carbon production is the cheapest and most efficient in changing the policies they can take to reduce emissions that cause climate change
The case study was recently published in the journal Current sustainable / renewable energy reportsThey analyzed the costs and effects that a variety of policy changes could have on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from Texas electricity generation and found that adding a price, based on the cost of climate change, to carbon was the most effective.
“If the goal is to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, what we have found is that setting a price for carbon and then allowing suppliers and consumers to decide their production and consumption options accordingly is more effective than other policies,” said Ramitin Syochance, lead author. For study and Professor of Integrated Systems Engineering at Ohio State University.
The study did not examine how policy changes could affect the reliability of the Texas power system – a problem that became acute and distressing for Texas residents last month when a winter storm caused the state’s power grid to collapse.
But it has assessed other policies, including mandates that a certain amount of energy in the region’s energy portfolio comes from renewable sources, and found that it is either more expensive or as ineffective as carbon taxes in reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. … and the study found that subsidizing renewables was also not effective in reducing carbon dioxide.
Researchers have modeled what would happen if the government used these various approaches to cut carbon emissions 80% below the 2010 level by the end of 2040.
And they found that carbon taxes on coal and natural gas production units could achieve those cuts at about half the cost of tax credits for renewables.
The study was led by Yixian Liu, a former graduate student in Sioshansi Lab, now a research scientist at Amazon. He modeled the expenditures and possible carbon cuts from five generation technologies – wind, solar, nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired units – along with the costs and carbon cuts associated with energy storage. Energy storage is critical, as it allows energy systems to manage renewable energy resources as sources shift from fossil fuels causing climate change – natural gas and coal – to cleaner sources such as wind and solar.
Syochance said the results of the study were not surprising, given that a similar program was in use to reduce levels of sulfur dioxide, a chemical that causes acid rain.
“We’ve known for the past 40 years or more that market-based solutions can work on issues like this,” said Ciochance.
The study finds that although subsidizing renewable sources will reduce carbon emissions, the costs of those subsidies will be an issue.
“If no one has to pay support costs and they are really free, that would be a great option,” said Syochance. “Unfortunately, that’s not how they work.”
Written by Laura Arenschild,
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