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Border adjustment for European emissions trading: Competitiveness and carbon leakage

  • Kuik, Onno
  • Hofkes, Marjan

Unilateral or sub-global policies to combat climate change are potentially sensitive to free-riding and carbon leakage. One way of dealing with carbon leakage and competitiveness is the imposition of border adjustment measures for competing imports, for example in the form of the obligation to importers of goods to purchase and surrender emissions allowances to the authorities when importing. In this paper, we explore some implications of border adjustment measures in the EU ETS, for sectors that might be subject to carbon leakage. We examine the implications of two variants of these measures on the competitiveness of these sectors and on the global environment with the help of a multi-sector, multi-region computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of the global economy. Our calculations suggest that border adjustment might reduce the sectoral rate of leakage of the iron and steel industry rather forcefully, but that the reduction would be less for the mineral products sector, including cement. The reduction of the overall or macro rate of leakage would be modest. So, from an environmental point of view border tax adjustments would not be a very effective policy measure, but might mainly be justified by considerations of sectoral competitiveness.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (April)
Pages: 1741-1748

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:38:y:2010:i:4:p:1741-1748
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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  1. Grubb, M. & Neuhoff, K., 2006. "Allocation and competitiveness in the EU emissions trading scheme: policy overview," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0645, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  2. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan K., 2009. "Comparing Policies to Combat Emissions Leakage: Border Tax Adjustments versus Rebates," Discussion Papers dp-09-02, Resources For the Future.
  3. Hoel, M., 1993. "Should a Carbon Tax Be Differentiated Across Sectors?," Memorandum 09/1993, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  4. Fischer, Carolyn & Fox, Alan, 2004. "Output-Based Allocations of Emissions Permits: Efficiency and Distributional Effects in a General Equilibrium Setting with Taxes and Trade," Discussion Papers dp-04-37, Resources For the Future.
  5. Hepburn, C. & Grubb, M. & Neuhoff, K. & Matthes , F. & Tse, M., 2006. "Auctioning of EU ETS Phase II allowances: how and why?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0644, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Di Maria, C. & van der Werf, E.H., 2005. "Carbon Leakage Revisited : Unilateral Climate Policy with Directed Technical Change," Discussion Paper 2005-68, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  7. Markusen, James R., 1975. "International externalities and optimal tax structures," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 15-29, February.
  8. Mustafa H. Babiker & Thomas F. Rutherford, 2005. "The Economic Effects of Border Measures in Subglobal Climate Agreements," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 99-126.
  9. Damien Demailly & Philippe Quirion, 2006. "CO2 abatement, competitiveness and leakage in the European cement industry under the EU ETS: Grandfathering vs. output-based allocation," Post-Print halshs-00639327, HAL.
  10. Hertel, Thomas & Lee, Huey-Lin & Rose, Steven & Sohngen, Brent, 2008. "Modeling Land-use Related Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks and their Mitigation Potential," GTAP Working Papers 2605, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  11. Sergey V. Paltsev, 2001. "The Kyoto Protocol: Regional and Sectoral Contributions to the Carbon Leakage," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 53-80.
  12. Beckman, Jayson & Hertel, Thomas, 2009. "Why Previous Estimates of the Cost of Climate Mitigation are Likely Too Low," GTAP Working Papers 2954, Center for Global Trade Analysis, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
  13. Onno Kuik & Reyer Gerlagh, 2003. "Trade Liberalization and Carbon Leakage," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 97-120.
  14. Demailly, Damien & Quirion, Philippe, 2008. "European Emission Trading Scheme and competitiveness: A case study on the iron and steel industry," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 2009-2027, July.
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