Marginal Abatement Cost Tool (MACTool)

I bet all environmental economists know about MAC (Marginal Abatement/Control Cost) and MDC (Marginal Damage Cost). In terms of climate change mitigation, the MAC curves could be useful in presenting different alternative projects and policies for decision making.

MAC Tool (by Sustain Success Ltd.) is an Excel add-in that can help constructing the curves, which I recently got to know about from reviewing a PhD thesis in National Economics University Vietnam. The PhD candidate had to buy it for $30, but now it is free of charge here.

The software is fairly simple and easy to use, but it could produce some intuitive results for policy makers.

P/S: If you are interested in analyzing climate change, some more tools could be found in NDC Partnership website (e.g. Cost of Renewable Energy Spreadsheet Tool – CREST, COBRA and Climate Change and Health)



Environmental Trade Fair Trade & Conference

Today I attended the first trade fair and conference event ever – The Environmental Trade Fair & Conference in May 2018 in Texas. Thus, I thought some materials and experience should be save here.

First up is the academic side of the event. Here are all the presentations of this year and the years before (2018 Agenda is here). Then some thought of the sessions that I attended

  1. Air Quality. The most intriguing presentation was Mr Stephen Dayton on Volkswagen environmental mitigation trust and the Texas emission reduction plan (TERP) – funded by Volkswagen. All plans and programs appear to be voluntary (basically providing incentives, incentive grants to offset the cost of environmentally friendly implementation), which I personally think is a proper approach.
    A good side of this approach is that we can monitor and measure the impact/effect of the implementation. For instance, the TERP Funding have provided over billions dollars and can measure the carbon emission reduction throughout the years.
    In terms of the mitigation trust, it is interesting to see the how the fund is working along with EPA. Also intriguing that the fund is administered by the TCEQ, which was selected by Governor Abbott, due to the fact that the fund is raised by not only VW but also Texas Gov and other govts.
    The TERP grant does encourage the companies to destroy their equipments before getting the grant, but it is ok for the companies to go ahead with buying new equipments and get reimbursed when they get the grant
  2. Water. Patrick Kading on Pubic Notification: transparency with your customers. The main answer for the Why question is: to build trust with customers, which I think it is yet thought of by many water companies in Vietnam.
  3. Water. Jennifer Allis et al. on Water right Permitting. It appeared as a fair and meaningful process. I would love to pilot it in Vietnam.
  4. Air Quality. I am interested in the new Differential Absorption Lidar (DIAL) technology for emission inventory. It was carefully described in Jill Dickey-Hull and his female fellow’s presentation.
  5. Air Quality. Danielle Nesvacil on Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program. Some new updates of the reporting year 2017 should be interesting to know. The HBCD category added; the De Minimis reporting levels updated. Form A and Form B scenarios on slide 28 are great examples to swipe out all the confusion. The TRI program also has a lot of online training, which is so necessary and that Vietnam can learn from.
  6. Air Permitting. Cheryl Covone et al. on Impacts Evaluation Procedure and Navigation of the New Effects Screening Level (ESL) Database.  The Modelling and Effects Review Applicability (MERA) guidance is something to be check out. In addition, they recently changed the convention toxicology database to dynamic database (no more published lists). All reports are submitted online, very much intuitive. Check out the the TOX ESL – Summary report for some demos.
  7. Waste management. Scott Pasternak et al. on the economic impacts of recycling. This was about a new study report in Texas, which impressed me for its well structure.
    – First is recycling rate calculation
    – Then Recycling costs, value and quality to operators and for the city.
    – Respondent expectations on the changes of recyclable materials and other waste.
    – Advancing the opportunities.
    – Grants and funding: funding sources, fostering effective public-private partnership.
    – Estimate the employment, wages and benefits in the recycling industry. Then using the Input-Output model to summary the total economic Impact of recycling on the Texas Economy. An impressive and so intuitive comparison with paper manufacturing, pipe line transportation and broadcasting. Such a good idea!
    It is also very nice of him that during the presentation, he used the term “recyclable material” in stead of “recycle waste”.
    A very interesting news raised for discussion in the session, that is the recycling chaos due to China’s import restriction. I’m gonna ask Scott more about that. Update: So Scott suggested some ways to response to the chaos, including being more careful about the quality of the recyclable materials and extending the market (Texas domestic market has a huge potential and there are more enterprises joining in)
    Then the peanut butter jar issue: can it be recycled? – Yes, but you’d better clean it up before throwing it to the recycle bin.
  8. Environmental quality. Gilberto Estrella on the Environmental Protection in Tamaulipa. It was amazing how they have changed the state from little works such as house repainting to urban images, urban planning, infrastructure and urban mobility. I also like the idea of work from home there.
  9.  Air emitting: Melissa Ruano on Emissions Banking and Trading Rule. So, Texas also has emission banking and trading with very detailed rules.
    – No inelastic source shut-downs and no major change in rule making. Those are good points to not scare out the operators.
    – The example was great (slide 12). The Baseline is the lower of HAE and SIP emission.
    – Step-by-step introduction for electronic submission (e.g. application for credit generation).



Climate Land Energy and Water Strategy (CLEWS)

Today I  attended a workshop on CLEWS model by Eduardo Zepeda and got to be a reluctant interpreter for the workshop (don’t get me wrong, it was really a pleasure 😜). I suppose this one is going to be popular soon, so let me save some materials here (CLEW 0). In addition, this could be an useful overview and this is a nice case study to start with.

Updated: There will be a series of training workshop on CLEW organized by Eduardo in 2017 and 2018. Here are the materials:

CLEW 1 – Oct 2017: Energy. A bonus: basic notes on GNU coding




While looking for an old document, I found some GAMS files which I got from Venice Summer School 2013. My passion for modelling recalled. Sadly, I dont have time for it now, just save them here for later look.

GAMS for environmental economic modelling and you can find more here.

Mathematical Programming System for General Equilibrium analysis (MPSGE) in GAMS by Thomas F. Rutherford

Dice manual 2013 by Williams Nordhaus

Open access libraries

Since I left Australia for working in Vietnam, I have always found myself frustrated not being able to access to online libraries. My university’s library is so out-of-date and not useful at all. Thus, I start listing open access online libraries here in the mean time. You are welcomed to add some more.

Springer open access

The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (with lots of free documents on the topics)

Library Genesis

OECD ilibrary – oecd2019-env – ilibrary2019

Economic valuation methods and CE

Recently I have received many questions from students and research fellows on valuation methods and particularly on Choice Experiment. From searching for them, I realize that I myself don’t have proper learning materials for newbies. Thus, I will start collecting them here.

  1. TCM: (good sample exercise), its lecture note and some more exercises; Fast TCM by CBA builder (not accurate but fast)
  2. Wikipedia (don’t under-estimated it)
  3. ECON4910 in UiO. I found this particular lecture note worth reading, especially the NOAA on page 14.
  4. *NYU Stern’s material 1 and materials 2 and labs, data (or data 2) on CE
  5. List of materials on other valuation methods in Cornell Universtiy
  6. methods and cases
  7. Ecosystem valuation estimator in the Lower Mekong Basin by USAID; and more description here
  8. **APFNet’s course on ecosystem valuation, which links to plenty of valuable works (e.g. =>
  9. CVM: Start with this: Carson, R. T., & Hanemann, W. M. (2005). Contingent valuation. In Handbook of environmental economics (Vol. 2, pp. 821-936).FAO , John Bloomis, Randall* (or this), and the*
    Calculate WTP from  simple CVM1 (old method); simple CVM2 (abit more modern),and double-bounced CVM
  10. *Case studies of valuation method (great for making exercises)
  11. Phuong Duy Nguyen’s writing on the method, and many others

Natural Capital and National Accounts

“Natural capital” might be a new concept for now, but it will surely be popular soon. “National Accounts” should be more familiar to you, but how to account for national capital in the System of National Accounts (SNA) is a new big deal. On the way of learning, I save basic materials and also some food for thought here.

  1. The natural capital platform that some colleges and I are trying to enrich.
  2. Natural capital project in Stanford
  3. Values method navigator

Food for thought:

  1. I still think that environmental services are different to ecosystem services. It might be true to say that national capital includes ecosystem services, but you should not say the same thing with environmental services. The natural capital would never be able to include “quasi-option value” is just one reason. But I might find myself wrong down the track.
  2. It would be nice if we can use GIS to present the ES values and even the natural capital on a 2D map.