Creating Change in Environmental Policy

by Shelby R. Steuart

SPIA researcher and professor, Dr. Jamie Monogan, has spent a lot of his career doing environmental research. Last year Monogan’s research led to findings indicating that states put the factories that produce the most air pollution near their downwind borders so that neighboring states have to bear the brunt of the pollution. Monogan’s paper on the topic, “Gone with the Wind: Federalism and the Strategic Placement of Air Polluters” won the State Politics and Policy Section of the American Political Science Association’s Best Paper Award.

This year, he’s been focusing on the electricity market and how reforming the market can lead to decreases in carbon emissions outputs.

Monogan recently presented a paper entitled “The Impact of Electricity Market Reform on Carbon Dioxide Emissions by the U.S.” at the State Politics and Policy Conference in June. He co-authored this paper with Takako Wakiyama and Eric Zusman, two policy researchers at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies in Hayama, Japan. Monogan, Wakiyama, and Zusman started this research because they wanted to get a sense of how reforming the market and changes in prices affects the output of carbon emissions.

They found that opening up competition within energy companies prompts innovation and results in changes in cost for consumers as well as changes in carbon emissions.

Thus, any kind of market reform that gives consumers and wholesalers more options and encourages competition, also can lead to decreased carbon emissions. However, some reforms are better than others.

Monogan explains that historically the U.S. energy market has been monopolized by vertically-integrated companies that dominate a geographic area. But with the increased popularity of sharing electricity across state borders, a lot of new cleaner energy and renewable options are surfacing. “In particular, we’re finding that regional RTO, interstate cooperatives that facilitate power supplies or electricity supplies from one state to the other are allowing for a broader market, which is where you see carbon emissions going down.”

Monogan’s study also involved looking at different energy policies across the fifty states, comparing policies by their ability to lower carbon emissions. He found that some state policies, such as setting a target for a portion of electricity coming from renewables, lowers carbon emissions to a moderate degree. He will be presenting his findings at the Georgia Political Science Association meeting in November.

 

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-Some reforms are better than others. Any kind of market reform does bring down the price of electricity but it turns out in terms of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the kinds of reforms that really do that are not so much retail reform (where customers can buy whom they’re buying their electricity from), it’s more on the wholesale end (who’s supplying the electric companies with the electricity they’re selling to customers).  Market reform is really on the wholesale and retail end where we see the greatest change in emissions.

https://spia.uga.edu/professor-monogan-wins-creative-research-medal/

Jamie Monogan is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Georgia.

His recent projects have focused on a wide array of topics, ranging from electricity market reform to training scholars in the Republic of Georgia in the best methods for conducting public administration and policy research.

Monogan recently published “The Fifty American States in Space and Time: Applying Conditionally Autoregressive Models,” an article that was the result of a collaboration with Josh Jackson, a UGA SPIA PhD student. In the article, Monogan and Jackson describe how spatial conditional autoregressive (CAR) models can be specified within a Bayesian hierarchical model when errors are geographically correlated. They put this method in context and explain how this model works. They also offer examples of applying CAR models to state-level outcomes for issues like social welfare and education lotteries. Monogan and Jackson also made their software code publicly available and discuss how researchers can use CAR models as well as their software.

In June 2018, Monogan traveled to the Georgia Political Science Association meeting and the State Politics and Policy Conference to present a paper entitled, “The Impact of Electricity Market Reform on Carbon Dioxide Emissions by the U.S. States.”

*At both the Georgia Political Science Association meeting and the State Politics and Policy Conference I will present a paper entitled, “The Impact of Electricity Market Reform on Carbon Dioxide Emissions by the U.S. States.”

*At the State Politics and Policy Conference, I also will serve as chair and discussant of a panel about public opinion.