A public policy approach to climate policy: The case for a de-centralized model of energy transition in the residential sector

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    Abstract

    Climate policy is distinctively market-driven. Averse to frustrate profit-seeking markets and exclusive of a substantial portion of society, it naturally under performs. In light of this enduring failure, this paper argues for bringing climate change mitigation back to the public policy realm.

    This warrants a strongly interventionist state role that boils down to the promotion of an inclusive, de-centralized model of energy transition. This consists in a bundled scheme to bring buildings up to the highest energy efficiency standards, procure energy-saving appliances and install renewable energy generation facilities. Rather than reflecting a sustainability-competitiveness conundrum, its implementation requires sound economics and finance. This paper argues for reshuffling sources of finance to alternative energy uses, and monetizing costs and benefits in a holistic way, inclusive of both public goods and protection against higher budgets in other sectors and longer time frameworks. Bundling climate change with healthcare, air quality, energy security and economic prospects conveys a more benign cost-benefit nexus and fortifies the case for treating climate policy as public policy.

    The policy implications are ground-breaking. First, climate policy becomes inclusive and expansive, lowering emissions significantly. Second, it can reduce costs in other sectors, this way alleviating pressure on public and household budgets. Thirdly, it can rejuvenate economic activity. Fourthly, it can serve as a stimulus to lower classes plagued by energy poverty, economic strains and a sticky labour market. Fifthly, it debunks and puts to rest myths of efficient energy markets vs. impotent states, opening up possibilities for a denser public policy agenda.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 27 Sep 2018
    EventEuroMemo Group conference 2018 - the 24th Conference on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe: 10 years into the crisis - What prospects for a popular political economy in Europe? - University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
    Duration: 27 Sep 201829 Sep 2018

    Conference

    ConferenceEuroMemo Group conference 2018 - the 24th Conference on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe
    Country/TerritoryFinland
    CityHelsinki
    Period27/09/1829/09/18

    Keywords

    • energy transition
    • de-centralization
    • energy efficiency
    • renewables

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