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Should Developing Countries Take on Binding Commitments in a Climate Agreement? An Assessment of Gains and Uncertainty


  • Steffen Kallbekken
  • Hege Westskog


In this paper we explore whether efficiency gains obtained by developing countries participation in emission trading could offset the economic risks that would be incurred by taking on binding commitments when future emissions are uncertain. Such commitments would allow developing countries to participate in emissions trading, which has significantly lower transaction costs than the present Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). However, because future emissions cannot be known, commitments can become more costly for the developing countries than expected. Using a dynamic computable general equilibrium model, we analyse whether the efficiency gains obtained by participating in emissions trading can offset this risk. We find that the efficiency gains that can be obtained by developing countries might not be very large compared to the risks they incur. Developing countries might therefore have good reasons not to embrace binding commitments in order to participate in Òcap and tradeÓ emissions trading.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Kallbekken & Hege Westskog, 2005. "Should Developing Countries Take on Binding Commitments in a Climate Agreement? An Assessment of Gains and Uncertainty," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 41-60.
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:journl:2005v26-03-a02

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    Cited by:

    1. Brechet, Thierry & Lussis, Benoit, 2006. "The contribution of the clean development mechanism to national climate policies," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 28(9), pages 981-994, December.
    2. Kallbekken, Steffen & Flottorp, Line S. & Rive, Nathan, 2007. "CDM baseline approaches and carbon leakage," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 4154-4163, August.
    3. Asbjørn Torvanger & Steffen Kallbekken & Petter Tollefsen, 2012. "Oil price scenarios and climate policy: welfare effects of including transportation in the EU emissions trading system," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 17(7), pages 753-768, October.
    4. Hagem, Cathrine, 2006. "Clean development mechanism (CDM) vs. international permit trading – the impact on technological change," Memorandum 19/2006, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    5. Cathrine Hagem & Steffen Kallbekken & Ottar Mæstad & Hege Westskog, 2006. "Market Power with Interdependent Demand: Sale of Emission Permits and Natural Gas from Russia," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 34(2), pages 211-227, June.
    6. Hagem, Cathrine, 2009. "The clean development mechanism versus international permit trading: The effect on technological change," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-12, January.
    7. Steffen Kallbekken & Jon Hovi, 2007. "The price of non-compliance with the Kyoto Protocol: The remarkable case of Norway," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 1-15, March.
    8. Liu, Xuemei, 2008. "The monetary compensation mechanism: An alternative to the clean development mechanism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 289-297, June.

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General


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