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Climate change: the global public good

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  • Marco Grasso

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    (Department of Sociology and Social Research, University of Milan-Bicocca)

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    Abstract

    Climate change is the exemplary global public good, because each country’s emissions of greenhouse gases contribute cumulatively to the increase of the overall concentration, and each country’s abatements entail higher cost than benefit, unless effective concerted collective actions take place. Unfortunately there are weak political and economic instruments for entering a climate agreement and for attaining and maintaining its goals. Moreover there are strong free-riding incentives since it is quite difficult - and indeed very unpopular - for governments to convince people to give up part of their current wealth for the sake of uncertain gains in the future, maybe accruing to population in remote distance. In this paper I deal with the main issues put forward by the global public good nature of climate change. Namely, I firstly shed some light on the economics of global warming in order to point out a benefit-cost framework suitable for quantifying its impacts. Then, I analyse the determinants of the provision of climate stability and the international collective action that should be undertaken to compel sovereign countries to enter into a climate agreement. Hence, after outlining the most important approach to international cooperation, I consider the possibility of a coalition formation according to the game theoretic perspective, the interests determining the participation in international agreements, and the possible sanctions imposable to countries that refuse to comply with an international climate agreement.

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    File URL: http://dipeco.economia.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper75.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 75.

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    Length: 22 pages
    Date of creation: May 2004
    Date of revision: May 2004
    Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:75

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    Keywords: climate change; public goods; international environmental agreements;

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    1. Joseph E. Aldy & Scott Barrett & Robert N. Stavins, 2003. "Thirteen Plus One: A Comparison of Global Climate Policy Architectures," Working Papers 2003.64, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. Toman, Michael & Shogren, Jason, 2000. "Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers dp-00-22, Resources For the Future.
    3. Aldy, Joseph E. & Orszag, Peter R. & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 2001. "Climate Change: An Agenda for Global Collective Action," Working paper 59, Regulation2point0.
    4. repec:reg:rpubli:59 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 2002. "The Role of Economics in Climate Change Policy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 107-129, Spring.
    6. Nijkamp, P. & Verbruggen, H., 2002. "Global trends and climate change policies," Serie Research Memoranda 0004, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    7. Goulder Lawrence H., 1995. "Effects of Carbon Taxes in an Economy with Prior Tax Distortions: An Intertemporal General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 271-297, November.
    8. McKibbin, Warwick J. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 2004. "Estimates of the costs of Kyoto: Marrakesh versus the McKibbin-Wilcoxen blueprint," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 467-479, March.
    9. 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.
    10. Scott Barrett & Robert Stavins, 2003. "Increasing Participation and Compliance in International Climate Change Agreements," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 3(4), pages 349-376, December.
    11. Cooper, Richard N, 2000. "International Approaches to Global Climate Change," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 145-72, August.
    12. Cramton, Peter & Kerr, Suzi, 2002. "Tradeable carbon permit auctions: How and why to auction not grandfather," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 333-345, March.
    13. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 1997. "Salvaging the Kyoto Climate Change Negotiations," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 9704, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    14. Pearce, David W, 1991. "The Role of Carbon Taxes in Adjusting to Global Warming," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 938-48, July.
    15. Adam Rose & Brandt Stevens & Jae Edmonds & Marshall Wise, 1998. "International Equity and Differentiation in Global Warming Policy," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 12(1), pages 25-51, July.
    16. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 1999. "Permit Trading Under the Kyoto Protocol and Beyond," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 9902, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
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