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Embodied Carbon Tariffs

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  • Christoph Böhringer
  • Jared C. Carbone
  • Thomas F. Rutherford

Abstract

In a world where the prospects of a global agreement to control greenhouse gas emissions are bleak, the idea of using trade policy as an implicit regulation of foreign emission sources has gained many supporters in countries contemplating unilateral climate policies. Embodied carbon tariffs tax the direct and indirect carbon emissions embodied in imported goods. The appeal seems obvious: as OECD countries are, on average, large net importers of embodied emissions from non-OECD countries, carbon tariffs could substantially extend the reach of OECD climate policies. We investigate this claim by simulating the effects of embodied carbon tariffs with a computable general equilibrium model of global trade and energy use. We find that embodied carbon tariffs do effectively reduce carbon leakage. However, the scope for improvements in the global cost-effectiveness of unilateral climate policy is limited. The main welfare effect of the tariffs is to shift the burden of OECD climate policy to the developing world.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 17376.

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Date of creation: Aug 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17376

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References

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  1. Warwick J. McKibbin & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 2009. "The Economic And Environmental Effects Of Border Tax Adjustments For Climate Policy," CAMA Working Papers 2009-09, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
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  3. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2009. "Comparing Policies to Combat Emissions Leakage: Border Tax Adjustments versus Rebates," Discussion Papers dp-09-02, Resources For the Future.
  4. Felder Stefan & Rutherford Thomas F., 1993. "Unilateral CO2 Reductions and Carbon Leakage: The Consequences of International Trade in Oil and Basic Materials," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 162-176, September.
  5. Ben Lockwood & John Whalley, 2010. "Carbon-motivated Border Tax Adjustments: Old Wine in Green Bottles?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(6), pages 810-819, 06.
  6. James Bushnell & Carla Peterman & Catherine Wolfram, 2008. "Local Solutions to Global Problems: Climate Change Policies and Regulatory Jurisdiction," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 175-193, Summer.
  7. Aaditya Mattoo & Arvind Subramanian & Dominique van der Mensbrugghe & Jianwu He, 2009. "Reconciling Climate Change and Trade Policy," Working Paper Series WP09-15, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  8. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2000. "Carbon Emission Leakages: A General Equilibrium View," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 242, OECD Publishing.
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  10. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
  11. Krichene, Noureddine, 2002. "World crude oil and natural gas: a demand and supply model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 557-576, November.
  12. Böhringer, Christoph & Balistreri, Edward J. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2012. "The role of border carbon adjustment in unilateral climate policy: Overview of an Energy Modeling Forum study (EMF 29)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages S97-S110.
  13. Hoel, Michael, 1991. "Global environmental problems: The effects of unilateral actions taken by one country," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-70, January.
  14. Babiker, Mustafa H., 2005. "Climate change policy, market structure, and carbon leakage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 421-445, March.
  15. Ho, Mun S. & Morgenstern, Richard & Shih, Jhih-Shyang, 2008. "Impact of Carbon Price Policies on U.S. Industry," Discussion Papers dp-08-37, Resources For the Future.
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Cited by:
  1. Elliott, Joshua & Fullerton, Don, 2014. "Can a unilateral carbon tax reduce emissions elsewhere?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 6-21.
  2. Bohringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F. & Springmannc, Marco, 2013. "Clean-development investments : an incentive-compatible CGE modeling framework," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6720, The World Bank.
  3. Christoph Böhringer & Brita Bye & Taran Fæhn & Knut Einar Rosendahl, 2012. "Alternative designs for tariffs on embodied carbon. A global cost-effectiveness analysis," Discussion Papers 682, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  4. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas F. Rutherford & Marco Springmann, 2013. "Clean-Development Investments: An Incentive-Compatible CGE Modelling Framework," Working Papers V-354-13, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2013.
  5. Springmann, Marco & Böhringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2013. "Clean-development investments: an incentive-compatible CGE modeling framework," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79939, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  6. Christoph Böhringer & Jared C. Carbone & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2013. "The Strategic Value of Carbon Tariffs," CESifo Working Paper Series 4482, CESifo Group Munich.

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