IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

"No Cost" Efforts to Reduce Carbon Emissions in the U.S.: An Economic Perspective


  • Ronald J. Sutherland


The 1999 Special Issue of The Energy Journal presents several articles that conclude the costs of the Kyoto Protocol would be very high for the U.S. if all the adjustments were domestic. However, a few studies conclude that the Kyoto target is achievable at a negligible cost and perhaps with a net benefit. This paper explains why a majority of studies conclude that the cost of reducing emissions is high while some studies conclude that the Kyoto target could be achieved at a low cost, if not for free. Most studies employ mainstream economic analysis to estimate the costs of achieving the Kyoto Protocol. In contrast, the "no cost" analyses use a unique methodology applied only to energy conservation and referred to here as the energy conservation paradigm. One conclusion is that the energy conservation paradigm is inconsistent with mainstream economics. The "no cost" conclusion used to support approval of the Kyoto Protocol is not supported by the basic principles of economics. The Climate Change Technology Initiative recommends tax credits to reduce carbon emissions. With the proposed tax credit of $1,100 per residential head pump, each tonne of carbon reduced from the more efficient heat pump would cost $510. With different input assumptions, higher and lower estimates are produced.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronald J. Sutherland, 2000. ""No Cost" Efforts to Reduce Carbon Emissions in the U.S.: An Economic Perspective," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 89-112.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2000v21-03-a04

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to IAEE members and subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik, 1998. "Integrating the bottom-up and top-down approach to energy-economy modelling: the case of Denmark," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 443-461, September.
    2. Alan Manne & Richard Richels, 1992. "Buying Greenhouse Insurance: The Economic Costs of CO2 Emission Limits," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026213280x, July.
    3. Mabey, Nick & Nixon, James, 1997. "Are environmental taxes a free lunch? Issues in modelling the macroeconomic effects of carbon taxes," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 29-56, March.
    4. Ernst Berndt & Charles Kolstad & Jong-Kun Lee, 1993. "Measuring the Energy Efficiency and Productivity Impacts of Embodied Technical Change," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 33-56.
    5. Michael Toman, 1998. "Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 603-621, April.
    6. Dowlatabadi, Hadi, 1998. "Sensitivity of climate change mitigation estimates to assumptions about technical change," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(5-6), pages 473-493, December.
    7. Klinge Jacobsen, Henrik & Morthorst, Poul Erik & Nielsen, Lise & Stephensen, Peter, 1996. "Sammenkobling af makro√łkonomiske og teknisk-√łkonomiske modeller for energisektoren. Hybris
      [Integration of bottom-up and top-down models for the energy system: A practical case for Denmark]
      ," MPRA Paper 65676, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Clarke, John F. & Edmonds, J. A., 1993. "Modelling energy technologies in a competitive market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 123-129, April.
    9. Carraro, Carlo & Galeotti, Marzio, 1997. "Economic growth, international competitiveness and environmental protection: R & D and innovation strategies with the WARM model," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 2-28, March.
    10. William W. Hogan & Dale W. Jorgenson, 1991. "Productivity Trends and the Cost of Reducing CO2 Emissions," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 67-86.
    11. C Carraro & Jc Hourcade, 1998. "Climate modelling and policy strategies. The role of technical change and uncertainty," Post-Print hal-00716515, HAL.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2000v21-03-a04. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (David Williams). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.