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Balancing Cost and Emissions Certainty: An Allowance Reserve for Cap-and-Trade

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  • Murray, Brian C.
  • Newell, Richard G.
  • Pizer, William A.

Abstract

On efficiency grounds, the economics community has to date tended to emphasize price-based policies to address climate change -- such as taxes or a “safety-valve” price ceiling for cap-and-trade -— while environmental advocates have sought a more clear quantitative limit on emissions. This paper presents a simple modification to the idea of a safety valve -- a quantitative limit that we call the allowance reserve. Importantly, this idea may bridge the gap between competing interests and potentially improve efficiency relative to tax or other price-based policies. The last point highlights the deficiencies in several previous studies of price and quantity controls for climate change that do not adequately capture the dynamic opportunities within a cap-and-trade system for allowance banking, borrowing, and intertemporal arbitrage in response to unfolding information.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-08-24.

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Date of creation: 15 Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-08-24

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Keywords: climate change; regulation; uncertainty; welfare; prices; quantities;

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  1. Kling, Catherine & Rubin, Jonathan, 1997. "Bankable permits for the control of environmental pollution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 101-115, April.
  2. Pizer, William & Newell, Richard & Zhang, Jiangfeng, 2003. "Managing Permit Markets to Stabilize Prices," Discussion Papers dp-03-34, Resources For the Future.
  3. Weitzman, Martin L, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 477-91, October.
  4. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
  5. Hoel, Michael & Karp, Larry, 2001. "Taxes versus Quotas for a Stock Pollutant," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt5fx9p7kf, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
  6. Pizer, William & Newell, Richard, 1998. "Regulating Stock Externalities Under Uncertainty," Discussion Papers dp-99-10-rev, Resources For the Future.
  7. Suzi Kerr & Richard G. Newell, 2003. "Policy-Induced Technology Adoption: Evidence from the U.S. Lead Phasedown," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 317-343, 09.
  8. Unold, Wolfram & Requate, Till, 2001. "Pollution control by options trading," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 353-358, December.
  9. Rubin, Jonathan D., 1996. "A Model of Intertemporal Emission Trading, Banking, and Borrowing," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 269-286, November.
  10. Kolstad, Charles D., 1996. "Learning and Stock Effects in Environmental Regulation: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-18, July.
  11. Tatsutani, Marika & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Managing Costs in a U.S. Greenhouse Gas Trading Program: A Workshop Summary," Discussion Papers dp-08-23, Resources For the Future.
  12. 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.
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