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Cost-Effective Unilateral Climate Policy Design: Size Matters

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Fischer, Carolyn

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

  • Einar Rosendahl, Knut

Abstract

Given the bleak prospects for a global agreement on coordinated policies to mitigate climate change, political pressure is increasing among industrialized countries for unilateral abatement. A major challenge thereby is the appropriate response to the threat of emissions leakage. Border carbon adjustments and output-based allocation of emissions allowances can increase effectiveness of unilateral action but introduce distortions of their own. We assess the relative attractiveness of these anti-leakage measures as a function of the abatement coalition size. We first develop a partial equilibrium analytical framework to gain generic insights on how these instruments affect emissions within and outside the coalition. We then employ a large-scale computable general equilibrium model of international trade and energy use to assess the cost-effectiveness of alternative anti-leakage strategies as the coalition evolves toward global coverage. We find that full border adjustments rank first in global cost-effectiveness, followed by import tariffs and then output-based rebates. The differences across anti-leakage measures and the overall appeal of such measures decline with the size of the abatement coalition. In terms of cost incidence, the abatement coalition prefers border carbon adjustments over output-based rebates; the opposite holds true for countries outside the coalition.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-11-34.

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Date of creation: 22 Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-11-34

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Keywords: emissions leakage; border carbon adjustments; output-based allocation;

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  1. Christoph Böhringer & Carolyn Fischer & Knut Einar Rosendahl, 2010. "The Global Effects of Subglobal Climate Policies," Discussion Papers 634, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  2. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2012. "Comparing policies to combat emissions leakage: Border carbon adjustments versus rebates," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 199-216.
  3. Hoel Michael, 1994. "Efficient Climate Policy in the Presence of Free Riders," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 259-274, November.
  4. Böhringer, Christoph & Bye, Brita & Fæhn, Taran & Rosendahl, Knut Einar, 2012. "Alternative designs for tariffs on embodied carbon: A global cost-effectiveness analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages S143-S153.
  5. Niven Winchester, 2012. "The Impact of Border Carbon Adjustments Under Alternative Producer Responses," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 354-359.
  6. Krichene, Noureddine, 2002. "World crude oil and natural gas: a demand and supply model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 557-576, November.
  7. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas Rutherford, 2002. "Carbon Abatement and International Spillovers," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(3), pages 391-417, July.
  8. Dong, Yan & Whalley, John, 2011. "Carbon motivated regional trade arrangements: Analytics and simulations," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 2783-2792.
  9. Azusa OKAGAWA & Kanemi BAN, 2008. "Estimation of substitution elasticities for CGE models," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  10. Ben Lockwood & John Whalley, 2008. "Carbon Motivated Border Tax Adjustments: Old Wine in Green Bottles?," NBER Working Papers 14025, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Graham, Paul & Thorpe, Sally & Hogan, Lindsay, 1999. "Non-competitive market behaviour in the international coking coal market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 195-212, June.
  12. 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.
  13. Burniaux, Jean-Marc & Oliveira Martins, Joaquim, 2012. "Carbon leakages : a general equilibrium view," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/7970, Paris Dauphine University.
  14. Böhringer, Christoph & Carbone, Jared C. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2012. "Unilateral climate policy design: Efficiency and equity implications of alternative instruments to reduce carbon leakage," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages S208-S217.
  15. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Jean Chateau & Romain Duval, 2010. "Is there a Case for Carbon-Based Border Tax Adjustment?: An Applied General Equilibrium Analysis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 794, OECD Publishing.
  16. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2010. "The Costs of Compliance: A CGE Assessment of Canada's Policy Options under the Kyoto Protocol," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(2), pages 177-211, 02.
  17. Rob Dellink & Gregory Briner & Christa Clapp, 2011. "The Copenhagen Accord/Cancún Agreements Emission Pledges For 2020: Exploring Economic And Environmental Impacts," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 2(01), pages 53-78.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christoph Böhringer & Knut Einar Rosendahl & Jan Schneider, 2013. "Unilateral Climate Policy: Can OPEC resolve the Leakage Probem?," Working Papers V-355-13, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2013.
  2. repec:old:wpaper:355 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Christoph Böhringer & Brita Bye & Taran Fæhn & Knut Einar Rosendahl, 2014. "Output-based rebating of carbon taxes in the neighbor’s backyard. Competitiveness, leakage and welfare," Discussion Papers 783, Research Department of Statistics Norway.

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