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The role of border carbon adjustment in unilateral climate policy: Overview of an Energy Modeling Forum study (EMF 29)

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Balistreri, Edward J.
  • Rutherford, Thomas F.

Abstract

Issues of emission leakage and competitiveness are at the fore of the climate policy debate in all the major economies implementing or proposing to implement substantial emission cap-and-trade programs. Unilateral climate policy cannot directly impose emission prices on foreign sources, but it can complement domestic emission pricing with border carbon adjustment to reduce leakage and increase global cost-effectiveness. While border carbon adjustment has a theoretical efficiency rationale, its practical implementation is subject to serious caveats. This article summarizes the results of an Energy Modeling Forum study (EMF 29) on the efficiency and distributional impacts of border carbon adjustment. We find that border carbon adjustment can effectively reduce leakage and ameliorate adverse impacts on energy-intensive and trade-exposed industries of unilaterally abating countries. However, the scope for global cost savings is small. The main effect of border carbon adjustment is to shift the economic burden of emission reduction to non-abating countries through implicit changes in international prices.

Suggested Citation

  • Böhringer, Christoph & Balistreri, Edward J. & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2012. "The role of border carbon adjustment in unilateral climate policy: Overview of an Energy Modeling Forum study (EMF 29)," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 97-110.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:34:y:2012:i:s2:p:s97-s110
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2012.10.003
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2012. "Climate policy and fiscal constraints: Do tax interactions outweigh carbon leakage?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 218-227.
    3. 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.
    4. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
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    6. Boeters, Stefan & Bollen, Johannes, 2012. "Fossil fuel supply, leakage and the effectiveness of border measures in climate policy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 181-189.
    7. Christoph Bohringer & Jared Carbone & Thomas F. Rutherford, "undated". "Embodied Carbon Tariffs," Working Papers 2013-24, Department of Economics, University of Calgary, revised 11 Oct 2013.
    8. Hoel, Michael, 1991. "Global environmental problems: The effects of unilateral actions taken by one country," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 55-70, January.
    9. Ghosh, Madanmohan & Luo, Deming & Siddiqui, Muhammad Shahid & Zhu, Yunfa, 2012. "Border tax adjustments in the climate policy context: CO2 versus broad-based GHG emission targeting," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 154-167.
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    11. Böhringer, Christoph & Bye, Brita & Fæhn, Taran & Rosendahl, Knut Einar, 2012. "Alternative designs for tariffs on embodied carbon: A global cost-effectiveness analysis," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(S2), pages 143-153.
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    15. Christoph Böhringer & Thomas Rutherford, 2002. "Carbon Abatement and International Spillovers," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 22(3), pages 391-417, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unilateral climate policy; Carbon leakage; Border carbon adjustment;

    JEL classification:

    • D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • F18 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Environment
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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