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Optimal Use of a Polluting Non-Renewable Resource Generating both Manageable and Catastrophic Damages

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  • Jean-Pierre Amigues
  • Michel Moreaux
  • Katheline Schubert

Abstract

We consider a model with two energy sources, a non-renewable one, cheap but polluting, and a renewable one, expensive but clean, let's say coal and solar. The aim of environmental policy is to maintain atmospheric carbon concentration under a given ceiling, chosen to prevent an excessive rise of the temperature and catastrophic damages. Before the ceiling damages exist but remain small, hence manageable. We show first that costs matter a lot. Whatever abundant or rare, if solar is more expensive than coal at the ceiling, it will never be used before the end of the phase at the ceiling, when coal becomes so scarce that the ceiling will never be reached again. On the contrary, if solar is less expensive than coal at the ceiling, it may even be sufficiently cheap to be exploited before the ceiling, in which case first coal is exploited alone, next both resources are used together before, at and after the ceiling, and finally solar is exploited alone, after the exhaustion of coal. Second, the carbon shadow value is first increasing until the ceiling is reached, next decreasing during the phase at the ceiling, and finally is stabilized at a constant level after the ceiling. The initial carbon shadow cost is an increasing function of the value of the marginal damage, and a decreasing function of the ceiling. Lastly, contrary to intuition, higher marginal damages and/or a lower ceiling induce a delay in the penetration of solar and also a delay in the transition towards a totally clean energy.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Pierre Amigues & Michel Moreaux & Katheline Schubert, 2011. "Optimal Use of a Polluting Non-Renewable Resource Generating both Manageable and Catastrophic Damages," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 103-104, pages 107-141.
  • Handle: RePEc:adr:anecst:y:2011:i:103-104:p:107-141
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magne, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2006. "A Hotelling model with a ceiling on the stock of pollution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2875-2904, December.
    2. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2008. "Public policies against global warming: a supply side approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, pages 360-394.
    3. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Bertrand Magne & Michel Moreaux, 2006. "Plafond de concentration en carbone et substitutions entre ressources énergétiques," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 81, pages 141-168.
    4. Snorre Kverndokk, 1994. "Depletion of Fossil Fuels and the impact of Global Warming," Discussion Papers 107, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    5. Toman, Michael A. & Withagen, Cees, 2000. "Accumulative pollution, "clean technology," and policy design," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 367-384, October.
    6. Farzin, Y H & Tahvonen, O, 1996. "Global Carbon Cycle and the Optimal Time Path of a Carbon Tax," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 515-536, October.
    7. Hoel, Michael & Kverndokk, Snorre, 1996. "Depletion of fossil fuels and the impacts of global warming," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 115-136, June.
    8. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1994. "The Optimal Time Path of a Carbon Tax," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 857-868, Supplemen.
    9. repec:adr:anecst:y:2006:i:81:p:06 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Olli Tahvonen, 1997. "Fossil Fuels, Stock Externalities, and Backstop Technology," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 855-874, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Moreaux, Michel, 2013. "Optimal growth under a climate constraint," TSE Working Papers 13-436, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    2. repec:eee:matsoc:v:89:y:2017:i:c:p:83-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Lafforgue, Gilles & Moreaux, Michel, 2014. "Optimal Timing of CCS Policies under Decreasing Returns to Scale," TSE Working Papers 14-529, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    4. Jean-François Fagnart & Marc Germain, 2015. "Can the Energy Transition Be Smooth?," Working Papers 2015.04, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    5. Jean-Pierre Amigues & Gilles Lafforgue & Michel Moreaux, 2014. "Optimal Timing of CCS Policies with Heterogeneous Energy Consumption Sectors," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, pages 345-366.
    6. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Moreaux, Michel, 2013. "The atmospheric carbon resilience problem: A theoretical analysis," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, pages 618-636.
    7. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Lafforgue, Gilles & Moreaux, Michel, 2014. "Optimal Timing of Carbon Capture and Storage Policies Under Learning-by-doing," TSE Working Papers 14-472, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    8. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Lafforgue, Gilles & Moreaux, Michel, 2016. "Optimal timing of carbon capture policies under learning-by-doing," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 20-37.
    9. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Lafforgue, Gilles & Moreaux, Michel, 2012. "Optimal Timing of Carbon Capture Policies Under Alternative CCS Cost Functions," TSE Working Papers 12-318, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

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