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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 & 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Boehringer Christoph & Fischer Carolyn & Rosendahl Knut Einar, 2010. "The Global Effects of Subglobal Climate Policies," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, December.
  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. 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).
  6. 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.
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  1. repec:old:wpaper:355 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. 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.

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