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Mechanisms for Abating Global Emissions Under Uncertainty

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Author Info

  • John C. V. Pezzey

    ()
    (Australian National University,Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies)

  • Frank Jotzo

    ()
    (Australian National University, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies)

Abstract

We give theoretical, partial equilibrium comparisons of a tax with thresholds, tradable targets ('emissions trading' or ET), and non-tradable targets, as mechanisms to abate well-mixed ('global') emissions from many parties, under independent uncertainties in both future business-as-usual emissions and marginal abatement costs. All three mechanisms are revenue-neutral, and use flexible thresholds or targets indexed continuously to parties' activity levels. We analyse both risk-neutral or risk-averse behaviour. Key theoretical results are that because of emissions uncertainty, there is no simple Weitzman (1974) rule for choosing between 'prices' (a tax) to 'quantities' (ET); under ET, marginal abatement cost uncertainty is a benefit, compared to certainty; and under risk aversion, any mechanism with more expected welfare also gives more expected abatement. We apply our theory to global greenhouse gas abatement in 2020, using an 18-region numerical simulation model with new uncertainty estimates. Key global, empirical results are that under either risk behaviour, a tax dominates ET, which hugely dominates non-tradable targets; and under risk aversion, an optimally indexed tax gives about 60% more welfare and 30% more abatement than unindexed ET, while optimally indexed ET achieves about two-fifths of these improvements.

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File URL: http://een.anu.edu.au/download_files/een0604.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network in its series Economics and Environment Network Working Papers with number 0604.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:anu:eenwps:0604

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Web page: http://een.anu.edu.au/

Related research

Keywords: emissions trading; global abatement; greenhouse gases; risk aversion; tax; uncertainty;

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References

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  1. Peter Bohm & Björn Carlén, 2002. "A Cost-effective Approach to Attracting Low-income Countries to International Emissions Trading: Theory and Experiments," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 23(2), pages 187-211, October.
  2. Bovenberg, A.L. & Goulder, L.H., 1996. "Optimal environmental taxation in the presence of other taxes: General equilibrium analyses," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-73560, Tilburg University.
  3. Martin L. Weitzman, 2001. "Gamma Discounting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 260-271, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Carlo Carraro & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2000. "Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy Introduction," NBER Working Papers 7648, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. A. Lans Bovenberg & Lawrence H. Goulder, 2000. "Neutralizing the Adverse Industry Impacts of CO2 Abatement Policies: What Does it Cost?," NBER Working Papers 7654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nordhaus, William D & Yang, Zili, 1996. "A Regional Dynamic General-Equilibrium Model of Alternative Climate-Change Strategies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 741-65, September.
  9. Farrow, Scott, 1995. "The dual political economy of taxes and tradable permits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 217-220, August.
  10. Toman, Michael, 2003. "Economic Analysis and the Formulation of U.S. Climate Policy," Discussion Papers dp-02-59, Resources For the Future.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Frank Jotzo & John Pezzey, 2007. "Optimal intensity targets for greenhouse gas emissions trading under uncertainty," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 38(2), pages 259-284, October.
  2. Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2006. "Optimal Intensity Targets for Greenhouse Emissions Trading Under Uncertainty," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0605, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
  3. Pezzey, John C.V., 2006. "Neither the rock nor the hard place: using payment thresholds to balance the politics and the economics of emissions control," 2006 Conference (50th), February 8-10, 2006, Sydney, Australia 139892, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  4. Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2005. "Optimal intensity targets for emissions trading under uncertainty (now replaced by EEN0605)," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0504, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.

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