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When do increasing carbon taxes accelerate global warming? A note on the green paradox

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  • Edenhofer, Ottmar
  • Kalkuhl, Matthias

Abstract

The "green paradox" by Hans-Werner Sinn suggests that increasing resource taxes accelerate global warming because resource owners increase near-term extraction in fear of higher future taxation. In this note we show that this effect does only occur for the specific set of carbon taxes that increase at a rate higher than the effective discount rate of the resource owners. We calculate a critical initial value for the carbon tax that leads to a decreased cumulative consumption over the entire (infinite) time horizon. Applying our formal findings to carbon taxes for several mitigation targets, we conclude that there is a low risk of a green paradox in case the regulator implements and commits to a permanently mal-adjusted tax. This remaining risk can be avoided by emissions trading scheme as suggested by Sinn--as long as the emission caps are set appropriately and the intertemporal permit market works correctly.

Suggested Citation

  • Edenhofer, Ottmar & Kalkuhl, Matthias, 2011. "When do increasing carbon taxes accelerate global warming? A note on the green paradox," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(4), pages 2208-2212, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:4:p:2208-2212
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2010. "Prices vs. Quantities and the Intertemporal Dynamics of the Climate Rent," CESifo Working Paper Series 3044, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Reyer Gerlagh, 2011. "Too Much Oil," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(1), pages 79-102, March.
    3. Geoffrey Heal, 2009. "Climate Economics: A Meta-Review and Some Suggestions for Future Research," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 3(1), pages 4-21, Winter.
    4. Adelman, M. A., 1986. "Oil producing countries' discount rates," Resources and Energy, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 309-329, December.
    5. Michael Hoel, 2010. "Is there a Green Paradox?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3168, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. van der Ploeg, Frederick & Withagen, Cees, 2012. "Is there really a green paradox?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 342-363.
    7. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2008. "Public policies against global warming: a supply side approach," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 15(4), pages 360-394, August.
    8. Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
    9. R. Quentin Grafton & Tom Kompas & Ngo Van Long, 2010. "Biofuels Subsidies and the Green Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2960, CESifo Group Munich.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fang, Guochang & Tian, Lixin & Fu, Min & Sun, Mei, 2013. "The impacts of carbon tax on energy intensity and economic growth – A dynamic evolution analysis on the case of China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 17-28.
    2. Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2015. "The Role of Carbon Capture and Sequestration Policies for Climate Change Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(1), pages 55-80, January.
    3. Alex Bowen, 2014. "Green growth," Chapters,in: Handbook of Sustainable Development, chapter 15, pages 237-251 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-015-9982-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nachtigall, Daniel & Rübbelke, Dirk, 2016. "The green paradox and learning-by-doing in the renewable energy sector," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 74-92.
    6. Buñuel González, Miguel, 2011. "El precio de la electricidad y la política de cambio climático: ¿qué papel puede jugar un impuesto sobre el carbono en España? /The Price of Electricity and Climate Change Policy: What Role May a Carb," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 29, pages 663(18.)-66, Agosto.
    7. Frederick van der Ploeg, 2013. "Cumulative Carbon Emissions and the Green Paradox," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 281-300, June.
    8. Mattauch, Linus & Creutzig, Felix & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2015. "Avoiding carbon lock-in: Policy options for advancing structural change," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 49-63.
    9. Gábor Kutasi, 2015. "Budgetary Dilemmas Related to Climate Change," REVISTA FINANZAS Y POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, UNIVERSIDAD CATOLICA DE COLOMBIA, vol. 7(1), pages 97-107, January.
    10. Matthias Kalkuhl & Ottmar Edenhofer, 2010. "Prices vs. Quantities and the Intertemporal Dynamics of the Climate Rent," CESifo Working Paper Series 3044, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Eskeland, Gunnar S., 2013. "Leadership in Climate Policy: Is there a case for Early Unilateral Unconditional Emission Reductions?," Discussion Papers 2013/6, Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Business and Management Science.
    12. Zhang, Kun & Zhang, Zong-Yong & Liang, Qiao-Mei, 2017. "An empirical analysis of the green paradox in China: From the perspective of fiscal decentralization," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 203-211.
    13. Max Franks & Ottmar Edenhofer & Kai Lessmann, 2017. "Why Finance Ministers Favor Carbon Taxes, Even If They Do Not Take Climate Change into Account," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 445-472, November.
    14. repec:eee:touman:v:40:y:2014:i:c:p:15-26 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. repec:eee:jeeman:v:88:y:2018:i:c:p:366-378 is not listed on IDEAS

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