Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login

Politics and Economics of Second-Best Regulation of Greenhouse Gases: The Importance of Regulatory Credibility

Contents:

Author Info

  • Valentina Bosetti

    (FEEM and CMCC, Italy. Visiting Fellow at Princeton Environmental Institute)

  • David G. Victor

    (International Law & Regulation (ILAR) at UC San Diego, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies)

Abstract

Modellers have examined a wide array of ideal-world scenarios for regulation of greenhouse gases. In this ideal world, all countries limit emissions from all economic sectors; regulations are implemented by intelligent, well-informed forward-looking agents; all abatement options, such as new energy technologies and forestry offsets, are available; trade in goods, services and emission credits is free and unfettered. Here we systematically explore more plausible second-best worlds. While analysts have given inordinate attention to which countries participate in regulation—what we call “variable geometry”—which has a strikingly small impact on total world cost of carbon regulations if international trade in emission credits allows economies to equilibrate. Limits on emission trading raise those costs, but by a much smaller amount than expected because even modest amounts of emission trading (less than 15% of abatement in a plausible scenario that varies the geometry of effort) have a large cost-reducing impact. Second best scenarios that see one sector regulated more aggressively and rapidly than others do not impose much extra burden when compared with optimal all-sector scenarios provided that regulations begin in the power sector. Indeed, some forms of trade regulation might decrease the financial flows associated to a carbon policy thus increasing political feasibility of the climate agreement. Much more important than variable geometry, trading and sectors is another factor that analysts have largely ignored: credibility. In the real world governments find it difficult to craft and implement credible international regulations and thus agents are unable to be so forward-looking as assumed in ideal-world modelling exercises. As credibility declines the cost of coordinated international regulation skyrockets—even in developing countries that are likely to delay their adoption of binding limits on emissions. Because international institutions such as treaties are usually weak, governments must rely on their own actions to boost regulatory credibility—for example, governments might “pre-commit” international regulations into domestic law before international negotiations are finally settled, thus boosting credibility. In our scenarios, China alone would be a net beneficiary of pre-commitment that advances its carbon limits two decades (from 2030, in our scenario, to today) if doing so would make international regulations more credible and thus encourage Chinese firms to invest with a clearer eye to the future. Overall, low credibility is up to 6 times more important in driving higher world costs for carbon regulations when compared with variable geometry, limits on emission trading and variable sectors. In this paper, we have not explored the other major dimension to the second-best: the lack of timely availability of the full range of abatement options, although our results suggest that even this will be less consequential than credibility.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL: http://www.feem.it/userfiles/attach/20103261233104NDL2010-029.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.29.

as in new window
Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.29

Contact details of provider:
Postal: Corso Magenta, 63 - 20123 Milan
Phone: 0039-2-52036934
Fax: 0039-2-52036946
Email:
Web page: http://www.feem.it/
More information through EDIRC

Related research

Keywords: Greenhouse Gases; Second-best Regulation;

Other versions of this item:

Find related papers by JEL classification:

This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

References

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
as in new window
  1. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "Climate Change Mitigation Strategies in Fast-Growing Countries: The Benefits of Early Action," CESifo Working Paper Series 2742, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Victor,David G. & Heller,Thomas C. (ed.), 2007. "The Political Economy of Power Sector Reform," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521865029, October.
  3. Valentina Bosetti & David Tomberlin, 2004. "Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei," Working Papers 2004.102, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  4. William Nordhaus, 2005. "Life After Kyoto: Alternative Approaches to Global Warming," NBER Working Papers 11889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2008. "Modelling Economic Impacts of Alternative International Climate Policy Architectures.A Quantitative and Comparative Assessment of Architectures for Agreement," CESifo Working Paper Series 2417, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Aldy, Joseph Edgar & Pizer, William, 2011. "The Competitiveness Impacts of Climate Change Mitigation Policies," Scholarly Articles 5688779, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Massimo Tavoni, 2008. "Delayed Participation of Developing Countries to Climate Agreements: Should Action in the EU and US be Postponed?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2445, CESifo Group Munich.
  8. Valentina Bosetti, Carlo Carraro, Marzio Galeotti, Emanuele Massetti, Massimo Tavoni, 2006. "A World induced Technical Change Hybrid Model," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Special I), pages 13-38.
  9. Ellerman,A. Denny & Buchner,Barbara K. & Carraro,Carlo (ed.), 2007. "Allocation in the European Emissions Trading Scheme," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521875684, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

Citations

Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Spencer, Thomas & Marcey, Celine & Colombier, Michel & Guerin, Emmanuel, 2011. "Decarbonizing the EU power sector: policy approaches in the light of current trends and long-term trajectories," MPRA Paper 35009, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Thierry Bréchet & Henry Tulkens, 2013. "Climate Policies: A Burden or a Gain?," CESifo Working Paper Series 4147, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Neil Strachan & Will Usher, 2012. "Failure to achieve stringent carbon reduction targets in a second-best policy world," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 113(2), pages 121-139, July.

Lists

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

Statistics

Access and download statistics

Corrections

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.29. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (barbara racah).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.