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April 23 2012

Buy Coal? New Analysis Shows Purchasing Fossil Fuel Deposits Best Way to Fight Climate Change


Environmental policy has historically been driven by a demand-side mindset -- attempting to limit consumption of precious fossil fuels through pollution permits, taxation, and multi-national climate change treaties. However, new research from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University suggests that actually buying coal, oil and other dirty fossil fuel deposits still in the ground could be a far better way to fight climate change.

The new study, "Buy Coal! A Case for Supply-Side Environmental Policy," suggests that the single best policy for a multi-national climate coalition is to purchase the extraction rights of dirty fossil fuels in non-participating countries (also called "third countries"), and then conserve rather than exploit the deposits. According to the study's author, Bard Harstad, this would be a radical departure from the traditional view that focuses on reducing the demand for fuel.

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