Markets for Anthropogenic Carbon Within the Larger Carbon Cycle
AbstractHuman activity has disrupted the natural balance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and is causing climate change. Burning fossil fuels and deforestation result directly in about 9 gigatons of carbon (GtC) emissions per year against the backdrop of the natural carbon flux -- emission and uptake -- of about 210 GtC per year to and from oceans, vegetation, soils and the atmosphere. But scientific research now indicates that humans are also impacting the natural carbon cycle through less-direct, but very important, mechanisms that are more difficult to monitor and control. I explore the challenges this presents to market or regulatory mechanisms that might be used to reduce greenhouse gases: scientific uncertainty about these indirect processes, pricing heterogeneous impacts of similar human behaviors, and the difficulty of assigning property rights to a far larger set of activities than has previously been contemplated. While this does not undermine arguments for market mechanisms to control direct anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases, it suggests that more research is needed to determine how and whether these mechanisms can be extended to address indirect human impacts.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16104.
Date of creation: Jun 2010
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Severin Borenstein. "Markets for Anthropogenic Carbon within the Larger Carbon Cycle," in Don Fullerton and Catherine Wolfram, editors, "The Design and Implementation of US Climate Policy" University of Chicago Press (2012)
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Other versions of this item:
- Severin Borenstein, 2011. "Markets for Anthropogenic Carbon within the Larger Carbon Cycle," NBER Chapters, in: The Design and Implementation of US Climate Policy, pages 93-102 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Borenstein, Severin, 2010. "Markets for Anthropogenic Carbon Within the Larger Carbon Cycle," Working paper 607, Regulation2point0.
- H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
- Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-06-26 (All new papers)
- NEP-ENE-2010-06-26 (Energy Economics)
- NEP-ENV-2010-06-26 (Environmental Economics)
- NEP-REG-2010-06-26 (Regulation)
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- Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2011. "Comment on "Belts and Suspenders: Interactions Among Climate Policy Regulations "," NBER Chapters, in: The Design and Implementation of US Climate Policy, pages 140-144 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Departmental Working Papers
201006, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
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