Tag Archives: monitoring

The promise and pitfalls of shareholder incentives: Lessons from California’s high-stakes test

February 19, 2014 |

 

This post originally appeared on Intelligent Utility.

How many millions of dollars does it take to change a state’s light bulbs?

This sounds like the start of a joke, but for the last seven years, it’s been anything but to California utilities and regulators. The crux of the dispute, which has had stakes in the hundreds of millions of dollars, has been an ambitious—but controversial—shareholder incentive designed to motivate California utilities toward greater energy efficiency.

The policy, called the Risk/Reward Incentive Mechanism, or RRIM, targeted California utilities. However, the concept of a shareholder incentive is one that 20 other states have adopted in recent years. It’s also under discussion at the federal level as part of President Obama’s proposed Race to the Top Energy Efficiency Initiative.

So what can utilities in other states learn from California’s experience? Climate Policy Initiative’s recent analysis, “Raising the Stakes for Energy Efficiency: California’s Risk/Reward Incentive Mechanism,” draws a few lessons that stand out.

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How better monitoring and law enforcement saved 59,500 sq. km of the Amazon – an area the size of a small country

May 8, 2013 |

 

Clarissa Costalonga e Gandour also contributed to this piece.

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, but protecting it from illegal deforestation is a challenge nearly as immense as the forest itself. In a previous study, CPI has discussed explanations for a slowdown in the rate of forest clearings observed in the 2000s. In a new study, DETERring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, we take a step further and answer the question: Which specific policy efforts contributed most to the reduction in Amazon deforestation?

Our analysis reveals that the implementation of the Real Time System for Detection of Deforestation (DETER), a satellite-based system that enables frequent and quick identification of deforestation hot spots, greatly enhanced monitoring and targeting capacity, making it easier for law enforcers to act upon areas with illegal deforestation activity. This improvement in monitoring and law enforcement was the main driver of the 2000s deforestation slowdown.

Prior to the activation of DETER, Amazon monitoring depended on voluntary reports of threatened areas, making it difficult for law enforcement personnel to locate and access deforestation hot spots in a timely manner. With the adoption of the new remote sensing system, however, Brazilian law enforcement personnel were able to better identify, more closely monitor, and more quickly act upon areas with illegal deforestation activity.

Through empirical analysis, we estimate that DETER-based environmental monitoring and law enforcement policies prevented the clearing of over 59,500 km2 of Amazon forest area from 2007 through 2011. Deforestation observed during this period totaled 41,500 km2 – 59% less than in the absence of the policy change.

We also estimate that, in a hypothetical scenario in which monitoring and law enforcement was entirely absent from the Amazon, an additional 122,700 km2 of Amazon forest would have been cleared from 2007 through 2011. To put that figure in context, that’s an area larger than the total land mass of the country of Nicaragua.

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Counting on energy efficiency: climate gains from consistent program data

November 30, 2012 |

 

Most experts agree that one of the most cost-effective places to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is in energy efficiency. Over the years, hundreds of programs have sprung up across the U.S. to encourage businesses and households to use energy more efficiently. These programs — also called demand-side management (DSM) programs — hold real promise for climate mitigation.

It’s good that many, many programs exist. It’s also good that these programs are extensively evaluated. However, as Jeff Deason discusses in more depth, each jurisdiction uses its own measurement and reporting practices, resulting in scattered and inconsistently reported data.

As an organization keen to look across evaluations to find best practices, we find this frustrating. In essence, it’s a classic case of comparing apples to oranges — and sometimes a challenge just to locate those apples and oranges in the first place.

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Keeping track of climate progress: Are countries well-placed to meet new tracking needs?

November 27, 2012 |

 

As the business school adage goes, you manage what you measure.

When it comes to progress on climate change, measurement doesn’t often capture much public attention. However, measurement and reporting play a fundamental behind-the-scenes role: They help build confidence that countries are doing what they say, and they also build capacity for countries to identify opportunities and tackle challenges domestically.

Right now, climate negotiators are gathering in Doha for the 18th Conference of the Parties (COP 18) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). While headlines around these meetings usually focus on the lack of progress in UNFCCC discussions of countries’ emissions reduction targets, the UNFCCC is making strides on other fronts. In the past three years, countries have agreed to significantly expand the amount of information they report on their greenhouse gas emissions and their climate policies and measures.

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Tracking emissions and climate policies: How well are we doing?

June 13, 2012 |

 

On May 24, Kath Rowley and I presented CPI’s work on countries’ efforts to track emissions and mitigation actions to an international audience. Our event took place on the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference in Bonn, Germany.

After sitting in on some of the negotiations, Kath and I were struck by the disconnect between the discussions at the negotiating table and the real world of policy implementation. Measurement, reporting, and verification (MRV) is a contentious issue in climate negotiations; the discussions might lead you to believe that “MRV” is a burdensome requirement and rarely done now. In fact, as our work demonstrates, countries are already doing a great deal to track emissions and mitigation actions, for both international and domestic purposes.

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