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Alternative designs for tariffs on embodied carbon: A global cost-effectiveness analysis

  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Bye, Brita
  • Fæhn, Taran
  • Rosendahl, Knut Einar

In the absence of effective world-wide cooperation to curb global warming, import tariffs on embodied carbon have been proposed as a potential supplement to unilateral emissions pricing. We systematically consider alternative designs for such tariffs, and analyze their effects on global welfare within a multi-region, multi-sector computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of global trade and energy. Our analysis shows that systems more likely to comply with international law yield very little in terms of carbon leakage and efficiency. Generally, the effectiveness increases substantially with complexity. However, regionalising the tariffs seems not to be worthwhile. Also, the most effective system we identify is not based on fully input–output-corrected carbon contents, but on direct plus electricity emissions, only. This reflects the more general problem of finding systems that are both feasible and well-targeted in a real global economy.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.

Volume (Year): 34 (2012)
Issue (Month): S2 ()
Pages: S143-S153

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:s2:p:s143-s153
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  1. Christoph Böhringer & Jared C. Carbone & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2013. "Embodied Carbon Tariffs," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 25 / 2014, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Jan 2014.
  2. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
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  4. Hidemichi Yonezawa & Edward J. Balistreri & Daniel T. Kaffine, 2012. "The suboptimal nature of applying Pigouvian rates as border adjustments," Working Papers 2012-02, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
  5. Kuik, Onno & Hofkes, Marjan, 2010. "Border adjustment for European emissions trading: Competitiveness and carbon leakage," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 1741-1748, April.
  6. Niven Winchester, 2012. "The Impact of Border Carbon Adjustments Under Alternative Producer Responses," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 94(2), pages 354-359.
  7. Graham, Paul & Thorpe, Sally & Hogan, Lindsay, 1999. "Non-competitive market behaviour in the international coking coal market," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 195-212, June.
  8. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Steve Charnovitz & Jisun Kim, 2009. "Global Warming and the World Trading System," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 4280.
  9. Robbie Andrew & Glen Peters & James Lennox, 2009. "Approximation And Regional Aggregation In Multi-Regional Input-Output Analysis For National Carbon Footprint Accounting," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(3), pages 311-335.
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