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The Allocation of Carbon Permits within One Country : A General Equilibrium Analysis of the United Kingdom

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  • Edwards, T. Huw

    (Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalization, University of Warwick)

  • Hutton, John P.

    (Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York)

Abstract

As part of the Kyoto agreement on limiting carbon emissions, from 2008 onwards an international market in auction able carbon permits will be established. This raises the issue of whether trading should be simply between governments or between companies, or in the latter case how such permits should be allocated. Our paper uses the British section of a CGE model of the European energy sectors to evaluate the economics of various methods of allocating permits within a country, as discussed in Lord Marshall’s recent report to the British government. The option of allocation entirely by auction is similar to the setting of a carbon tax, and the recycling of revenues to reduce or offset other economic distortions could produce a potential net benefit to incomes and employment. 'Grandfathering' some of the permits free to large firms, according to their base year carbon emissions, would mean loss of the benefits of recycling auction revenues. This might be exacerbated if it created windfall profits repatriated by foreign shareholders. The third major alternative is to review the allocation regularly, awarding permits to all firms according to a ‘benchmark’ allocation, based on 'best practice' as estimated by outside experts. This would be similar in practice to recycling the revenue as an output subsidy to the industry, though it could be complicated to implement. Such a system could allow much of the potential ‘double dividend’ to be realized, though it might still be preferable to auction permits, with the revenues used to offset taxes across a wider spread of industry

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File URL: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/economics/research/workingpapers/2008/twerp540.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 540.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wrk:warwec:540

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  1. Parry, Ian & Goulder, Lawrence & Williams III, Roberton, 1997. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Discussion Papers dp-97-18-rev, Resources For the Future.
  2. Smith, Stephen, 1998. "Environmental and Public Finance Aspects of the Taxation of Energy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 64-83, Winter.
  3. Terry Barker & Jonathan Köhler, 1998. "Equity and ecotax reform in the EU: achieving a 10 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions using excise duties," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 375-402, November.
  4. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Clarke, Rosemary & Boero, Gianna & Winters, L Alan, 1996. "Controlling Greenhouse Gases: A Survey of Global Macroeconomic Studies," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 269-308, October.
  6. Bohringer, Christoph & Rutherford, Thomas F., 1997. "Carbon Taxes with Exemptions in an Open Economy: A General Equilibrium Analysis of the German Tax Initiative," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 189-203, February.
  7. Barrett, Scott, 1998. "Political Economy of the Kyoto Protocol," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 20-39, Winter.
  8. Tietenberg, T H, 1990. "Economic Instruments for Environmental Regulation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 17-33, Spring.
  9. T Huw Edwards & John P Hutton, . "Carbon Abatement and its international effects in Europe including effects on other pollutants: a general equilibrium approach," Discussion Papers 98/26, Department of Economics, University of York.
  10. Peter Cramton & Suzi Kerr, 2002. "Tradeable Carbon Permit Auctions: How and Why to Auction Not Grandfather," Papers of Peter Cramton 02eptc, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 06 May 2002.
  11. Ballard, Charles L & Shoven, John B & Whalley, John, 1985. "General Equilibrium Computations of the Marginal Welfare Costs of Taxes in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 128-38, March.
  12. Farrow, Scott, 1995. "The dual political economy of taxes and tradable permits," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 217-220, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Childs, Jack, 2012. "Kyoto and the EU CEP 2020: A Dynamic Study of the impacts on the Agricultural Sector in Spain," 86th Annual Conference, April 16-18, 2012, Warwick University, Coventry, UK 135074, Agricultural Economics Society.

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