Comparing California and Germany: New Research on Electricity, Transportation and Carbon Markets

On December 3, 2018, UC Berkeley faculty affiliated with IES/CGES organized a DAAD sponsored workshop titled, “Comparing California and Germany: New Research on Electricity, Transportation and Carbon Markets.” The workshop took place at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California Davis and comprised three sessions. The theme of the first session was a comparison between California and Germany of the integration of renewable resources in electricity markets, the introduction of electric vehicles, and how they may relate by coordinating the new sources of electricity supply and demand, and how they affect overall carbon emissions in the jurisdictions. Political science views on policies to promote renewable energy and electric vehicles were balanced with economic assessments of the efficiency of these policies.  The second session focused exclusively on transportation, with a look at efforts to promote new technologies such as electric vehicles for both personal and freight transportation and bussing, the role of the low carbon fuel standard in California, and how the relevant policies interact. The session broadened the dialogue with input from transportation scholars, industry and nongovernmental organizations. The third session examined the electricity and transportation sector policies in the context of carbon markets, with an eye toward how sector-specific policies interact with economy-wide policies such as carbon pricing. Sector policies are often justified to advance technology or overcome barriers to more comprehensive policies, but they are understood to be less efficient than economy-wide policy approaches. The key issue in their implementation is how they might strengthen or undermine economy-wide approaches such as carbon markets. Evidence in both jurisdictions is that sector-specific policies have pushed down the price in carbon markets, so policy designs need to address this directly. The meeting had thirty registered participants plus three students and post-docs who sat in. Participation included representatives from the fields of law, economics, engineering and political science in the academic community (UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, George Washington University), plus nongovernmental organizations and business (Öko-Institut, Berlin, Potsdam Climate Institute, ClimateWorks Foundation, National Center for Sustainable Transportation, Audi of America, Resources for the Future, Washington DC, BMW of North America), and government agencies (California Environmental Protection Agency and CALSTART).

Professor Eric Biber, Director of Environmental and Energy Law Programs, UC Berkeley,  gives opening remarks.

Professor Jonas Meckling, UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, describes the challenges of achieving joint agreements between Germany and California.

Dan Sperling, Professor UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, California Air Resources Board,  explains the low carbon fuel standard.

Professor Erich Meuhlegger, UC Davis Department of Economics, describes his transportation research.

Lars Zetterberg of the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute provides a Swedish perspective.

Dinner dessert for workshop participants.