Panel Paper: Policies, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Power Plants: Do Policy Choices Help to Explain Variations across Carbon Dioxide and Methane Emissions?

Friday, November 8, 2019
Plaza Building: Lobby Level, Director's Row J (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Mark Stephan, Washington State University, Vancouver, Dorothy Daley, University of Kansas and Troy Abel, Western Washington University

In the last two decades we have seen increased attention by US states to the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. States have varied considerably in their use of policy tools and a small number of states have done virtually nothing to address the concern. Have some policies made a difference while others have not? Does the robustness of a policy portfolio relate to emissions decreases or is this mostly just a scattershot approach to addressing the issue? Using a combination of the Institutional Analysis and Development Framework and environmental federalism theory, we examine the ways in which different types of governance approaches can affect greenhouse gas emissions. The intent of this paper is to better make sense of policy tools in this area of climate change policy by looking at power plant emissions over time across all 50 states. We merge facility level emission data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) – which reports on greenhouse gas emissions for the majority of US electricity generators – with existing secondary data to examine the impact of diverse subnational climate governance on emissions. Using a mixture of multilevel modeling and linear regression models, we will analyze the role of particular policy tools and policy portfolio diversity (here defined simply as the count of policy tools in a given state) within a larger economic and political context. The work will also include a small number of illustrative examples that will help us to illuminate our findings.