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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute (BECI) is the coordinating hub for energy and climate research at UC Berkeley. BECI fosters collaboration between UC Berkeley, the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL), and other external partners. The Institute promotes interdisciplinary research by integrating science, technology, business and policy. BECI is dedicated to advancing research, innovation, and new educational programs to cultivate the next generation of energy innovators.

Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute

There are 41 publications in this collection, published between 2007 and 2020.
Energy and Climate Change (2)

Consumption Based Greenhouse Gas Inventory of San Francisco from 1990 to 2015

This study developed a consumption-based emissions inventory (CBEI) for the City and County of San Francisco, California from 1990 to 2015. CBEIs allocate all greenhouse gas emissions throughout product and service supply chains to final demand, namely households and governments. We find that average household carbon footprints in San Francisco decreased by 17% over the 25-year study period, and were 21% lower than the national average by 2015. Low rates of motor vehicle usage, small home (building) size, small household size, high prevalence of renters, population density, moderate climate, and relatively lowcarbon electricity all contributed to lower consumption-based emissions. These factors outweighed the countervailing effects of income and education, which tend to increase consumption and associated carbon footprints. Despite progress at reducing emissions on a per household basis, on aggregate, the total city-wide CBEI was only 2% lower in 2015 compared to 1990 levels. This reality reflects population pressures and the challenge of reducing emissions that depend on global supply chains. Traditional GHG inventories tend to neglect the effect of consumer demand on supply chain emissions, thus underestimating a city’s total impact. San Francisco’s CBEI is 2.5 times larger than the city’s traditional, more limited inventory. Tracking of full consumption-based inventories over time should aid in the development of new targets, policies, programs, incentives, and communications based on the unique opportunities for responsible production and consumption within San Francisco.

Consumer-oriented Life Cycle Assessment of Food, Goods and Services

Life cycle assessment is a powerful framework for economic, social, and environmental cost pricing of consumer goods and services. We have extended the capacity of input-output life cycle assessment to approximate cradle-to-consumer environmental impacts from the manufacturing, transport and trade of >600 categories of consumer products and services. On average, 23 tons of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases are embodied in the food, goods and services consumed by U.S. households. Particularly promising opportunities exist to provide environmental information directly to consumers for products at the point of sale. At a cost of $10/tCO2, we estimate that incorporating the mitigation cost of carbon would add only about 0.5% to the price of goods and services, and 1% to the price of food. This information can lead to the creation of market-based incentives for more sustainable consumption and production.

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Environment and Society (1)

Urban Nature Centers and House Prices in Chicago

In 1994, the City of Chicago’s Department of Environment made a significant investment to improve the North Park Village Nature Center, one of the City’s few accessible natural sites located on the Chicago’s north side. A previous on-site travel-cost survey of visitors to the North Park Village Nature Center (McGrath, 2006) showed that, on average, this nature center generates significant annual consumer surplus (the recreational use value) to users of the nature center – about $1,500 per user per year, or nearly $322 per visit. These welfare estimates imply the net present value of the sites recreational value to be on the order of $100 million in 2005 dollars, or about $2.1 million per acre.

A survey that is limited to users of the center understates the benefits of the investment by neglecting to take into account the benefits enjoyed by neighbors who value the existence of the center without directly using it (the non-use value). Thus, an important question that has not been addressed is whether this investment by the City of Chicago and the possible use and non-use values have been capitalized into property values near the nature center. The City’s investment in improving the North Park Village Nature Center may have increased property values because recreational users of the site – who are likely to live nearby – clearly place a high amenity value that these kinds of centers provide.

The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of proximity to the nature center on nearby residential property values and the subsequent impact in property tax revenue to Cook County. Using both a standard hedonic approach as well as a repeat-sales estimation approach, we estimate a house price index as a function of time and distance from the nature centers. We use the results to estimate (1) the revealed total willingness to pay (use and non-use value) of the nature center as of 2003 and (2) the increase in Cook County property taxes generated by the presence and 1994 upgrade of the nature. This exercise allows us to determine whether the additional tax revenue might actually allow the City of Chicago cover its own costs in redeveloping compromised areas as accessible natural areas.

Green Chemistry (8)
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