Designing Effective and Efficient Environmental Policies
We are confronted regularly with evidence of the environmental impacts of energy consumption. Whether it’s air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, or oil spills in vulnerable coastal areas, or flooding caused by large hydro-electric projects, the environmental impacts of energy are pervasive and severe.
But consumption of energy also brings substantial benefits in terms of increased comfort, mobility, convenience, health and productivity.
The key challenge in developing policies to govern the environmental impacts associated with energy use lies in balancing the costs of such policies with the environmental benefits they bring, in a way that is fair, effective and socially acceptable.
Dr. Nicholas Rivers, Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy Policy, is developing and using economic models to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of various environmental policies. He is focusing on estimating the costs associated with policies that are designed to reduce Canada’s emissions of greenhouse gases and to promote renewable sources of electricity.
Rivers’ research will help to ensure that policies designed to produce environmental benefits reach their goals and have minimal adverse effects. By addressing the environmental side-effects of energy use, Rivers will be helping governments with one of the 21st century’s key challenges.