Cooking Up Change in the Himalayas: Experimental Evidence on Cookstove Promotion

September 2016—S.K. Pattanayak, M.A. Jeuland, J.J. Lewis, V. Bhojvaid, N. Brooks, A. Kar, L. Morrison, O. Patange, L. Lipinski, N. Ramanathan, I.H. Rehman, R. Thadani, F. Usmani, M. Vora, V. Ramanathan

Improved cookstoves can potentially deliver triple wins by improving household health, particularly for women cooks and their children, by preserving local forests and air quality, and by mitigating global climate change impacts. Despite these promises, cleaner cooking technologies have run into major translation challenges, and there is growing pessimism about the potential for their successful diffusion, dissemination and adoption in rural areas. We report on a 3 year study from the central Himalayan region of India that challenges this pessimism. Our study applied mixed methods that combined expert solicitation, focus groups, baseline surveys, and extensive piloting to define an experimental intervention. Household in the intervention arm (762 households selected randomly from a larger sample of 1,051 households) received a package of information, demonstration, financing, and one of three randomized rebate amounts, which were delivered conditional on use of a purchased stove. The control arm (289 households) received nothing. All treatment households were given a choice of two stoves – one electric coil stove, the other a natural draft rocket stove – that were similar in price. Follow-up measurements revealed that this multipronged demand promotion strategy led to 52% of treatment households purchasing an improved cook stoves (ICS) (compared to 0% purchase of these stoves among control households). Furthermore, sales were higher (a) for electric stoves than natural draft stoves, and (b) when higher rebates were offered. We also found that households in the treatment group reduced solid fuel consumption by 1-2 kg/day on average and lowered time spent collecting solid fuel by 10-30 minutes per day. Without including the emissions from electric stoves, the reduction in biomass fuel use translates into emissions savings that are worth $0.34 (with only Kyoto protocol pollutants) and $1.35 (accounting for black carbon, organic carbon, and carbon monoxide emissions) per household per month. Although these findings point to a high latent demand for ICS, this demand is unfortunately not matched by a robust supply chain, as evidenced by the complete lack of adoption of similar technologies in the control group. Nevertheless the study provides several valuable lessons and we conclude with some recommendations related to the challenges of scaling up sustained use of improved energy products in rural settings.

Priority for the Worst Off and the Social Cost of Carbon

August 2016Matthew Adler, David Anthoff, Valentina Bosetti, Greg Garner,Klaus Keller, and Nicolas Treich

The social cost of carbon (SCC) is a monetary measure of the harms from carbon emissions. Specifically, it is the reduction in current consumption that produces a loss in social welfare equivalent to that caused by the emission of a ton of CO2. The standard approach is to calculate the SCC using a discounted-utilitarian social welfare function (SWF)—one that simply adds up the well-being numbers (utilities) of individuals, as discounted by a weighting factor that decreases with time. The discounted-utilitarian SWF has been criticized both for ignoring the distribution of well-being and for including an arbitrary preference for earlier generations. Here, we use a prioritarian SWF, with no time-discount factor, to calculate the SCC in the integrated assessment model RICE. Prioritarianism is a well-developed concept in ethics and theoretical welfare economics, but has thus far been little used in climate scholarship. The core idea is to give greater weight to well-being changes affecting worse-off individuals. We find substantial differences between the discounted-utilitarian and non-discounted prioritarian SCC.

Intra-seasonal Behavior in Multispecies Catch Share Fisheries

April 2016—by Martin D. Smith, Frank Asche, Anna Birkenbach, Andreea Cojocaru, and Atle G. Guttormsen

Fishermen face multidimensional decisions: when to fish, what to target, and how much gear to deploy. Most bioeconomic models assume single-species fisheries with perfectly elastic demand and focus on inter-seasonal dynamics. In real-world fisheries, vessels hold quotas for multiple species with heterogeneous biological or market conditions that vary intra-seasonally. This paper generates predictions about within-season behavior in multispecies catch share fisheries, accounting for stock aggregations, effort constraints, and downward-sloping demand. Results show variation in harvest patterns, including season length, acceleration or delay of harvests, and sequencing of individual species harvests. Harvest patterns are consistent with those observed in Norwegian multispecies groundfish fisheries.