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Balancing Cost and Emissions Certainty: An Allowance Reserve for Cap-and-Trade

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  • Brian C. Murray
  • Richard G. Newell
  • William A. Pizer

Abstract

On efficiency grounds, the economics community has to date tended to emphasize price-based policies to address climate change -- such as taxes or a "safety-valve" price ceiling for cap-and-trade -- while environmental advocates have sought a more clear quantitative limit on emissions. This paper presents a simple modification to the idea of a safety valve: a quantitative limit that we call the allowance reserve. Importantly, this idea may bridge the gap between competing interests and potentially improve efficiency relative to tax or other price-based policies. The last point highlights the deficiencies in several previous studies of price and quantity controls for climate change that do not adequately capture the dynamic opportunities within a cap-and-trade system for allowance banking, borrowing, and intertemporal arbitrage in response to unfolding information.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Review of Environmental Economics and Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (Winter)
Pages: 84-103

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Handle: RePEc:oup:renvpo:v:3:y:2009:i:1:p:84-103

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  1. Tatsutani, Marika & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Managing Costs in a U.S. Greenhouse Gas Trading Program: A Workshop Summary," Discussion Papers dp-08-23, Resources For the Future.
  2. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2002. "Taxes versus quotas for a stock pollutant," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 367-384, November.
  3. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Learning and Stock Effects in Environmental Regulation: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, July.
  4. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
  5. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  6. Richard Newell & William Pizer & Jiangfeng Zhang, 2005. "Managing Permit Markets to Stabilize Prices," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(2), pages 133-157, 06.
  7. Kling, Catherine L. & Rubin, Jonathan, 1997. "Bankable Permits for the Control of Environmental Pollution," Staff General Research Papers 1479, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  8. Unold, Wolfram & Requate, Till, 2001. "Pollution control by options trading," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 353-358, December.
  9. Pizer, William & Newell, Richard, 1998. "Regulating Stock Externalities Under Uncertainty," Discussion Papers dp-99-10-rev, Resources For the Future.
  10. Kerr, Suzi & Newell, Richard, 2001. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Discussion Papers dp-01-14, Resources For the Future.
  11. Pizer, William A., 2002. "Combining price and quantity controls to mitigate global climate change," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 409-434, September.
  12. Rubin, Jonathan D., 1996. "A Model of Intertemporal Emission Trading, Banking, and Borrowing," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 269-286, November.
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