THE REGIONAL GREENHOUSE GAS INITIATIVE: A THREE-ARTICLE STUDY ON THE DECISION TO JOIN AND THE IMPACTS OF A CAP AND TRADE MARKET
1 online resource (160 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
This dissertation takes an interdisciplinary view of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) carbon dioxide cap and trade market. Specifically, I analyze both the factors contributing to state participation within the Initiative and the multilevel impacts of the policy on specific outcomes. In the first article, I examine the factors that explain a state’s decision to opt into the voluntary carbon market. I conduct the analysis using both Cox proportional hazards and longitudinal logistic models. The results demonstrate a complex array of factors affecting this decision. First, I find a non-monotonic relationship between per-capita gross state product and the likelihood to join. Results show diminishing effects on the linear term, and positive effects on the quadratic term, creating a relationship between affluence and environmental protection demonstrated by the environmental Kuznets curve. Next, states with more liberal elected state-level officials are more likely to opt into the market. Finally, the likelihood of membership decreases significantly as distance from the policy inventor (New York) increases. In the second article, I identify the impact of participation in the RGGI on state-level carbon emissions from the power sector. I use a longitudinal panel fixed effects OLS model, and use states with deregulated electricity markets for comparison. I find that participation alone does not lead to lower emissions relative to the comparison group. Instead, only member states with more liberal government ideologies will see a diminishing in annual emissions. In the final article, I examine the impacts of participation in the RGGI on the adoption of an array of emission abatement strategies. I identify these impacts using longitudinal panel fixed effects and negative binomial regression models. I find evidence that power plants covered by the RGGI are no more likely to invest in heat-rate improving technology than their comparison group counterparts. I do find evidence that power plants covered by the RGGI are switching away from coal and toward other fuel sources at a higher rate than the comparison group. Finally, I find evidence that power plants covered by the RGGI are no more likely to close coal-fired generating units than the comparison group. I conclude that while the implementation of a cap and trade market is seen by many as a means to attenuate further contributions to global climate change, the impacts of the policy on adaptation strategies within the power sector are weaker than expected.
Zillante, ArtieChattopadhyay, JacquelineSchwarz, Peter
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2016.
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