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Unilateral climate policy design: Efficiency and equity implications of alternative instruments to reduce carbon leakage

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Carbone, Jared C.
  • Rutherford, Thomas F.

Abstract

Global cost-effectiveness of unilateral emission abatement can be seriously hampered by carbon leakage. We assess three widely discussed proposals for leakage reduction: carbon-motivated border tax adjustments, industry exemptions from carbon regulation, and output-based allocation of emission allowances. We find that none of these measures amounts to a “magic bullet” when both efficiency and equity criteria matter. Compared to unilateral emission pricing alone, border carbon adjustments are most effective in leakage reduction and promotion of global cost-effectiveness but can markedly exacerbate regional inequality; exemptions and output-based allocation tend to avoid distributional pitfalls but are less effective in leakage reduction and global cost savings; exemptions may even decrease global cost-effectiveness of unilateral emission abatement.

Suggested Citation

  • Böhringer, Christoph & Carbone, Jared C. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2012. "Unilateral climate policy design: Efficiency and equity implications of alternative instruments to reduce carbon leakage," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 208-217.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:s2:p:s208-s217
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2012.09.011
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Christoph Böhringer & Jared C. Carbone & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2018. "Embodied Carbon Tariffs," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 120(1), pages 183-210, January.
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    7. Boehringer Christoph & Fischer Carolyn & Rosendahl Knut Einar, 2010. "The Global Effects of Subglobal Climate Policies," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, December.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unilateral climate policy; Leakage; Border carbon adjustments; Output-based allocation; Exemptions; Efficiency–equity trade-offs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis

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