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Free trade and global warming: a trade theory view of the Kyoto protocol

  • Copeland, Brian R.
  • Taylor, M. Scott

This paper demonstrates how three important results in environmental economics, true under mild conditions in closed economies, are false or need serious amendment in a world with international trade in goods. Since the three results we highlight have framed much of the ongoing discussion and research on the Kyoto protocol our viewpoint from trade theory suggests a re-examination may be in order. Specifically, we demonstrate that in an open trading world, but not in a closed economy setting: (1) unilateral emission reductions by the rich North can create self-interested emission reductions by the unconstrained poor South; (2) simple rules for allocating emission reductions across countries (such as uniform reductions) may well be efficient even if international trade in emission permits is not allowed; and (3) when international emission permit trade does occur it may make both participants in the trade worse off and increase global emissions.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.

Volume (Year): 49 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (March)
Pages: 205-234

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:49:y:2005:i:2:p:205-234
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

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  1. Welsch, Heinz, 1995. "Incentives for forty-five countries to join various forms of carbon reduction agreements," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 213-237, November.
  2. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1995. "Trade and Transboundary Pollution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 716-37, September.
  3. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," NBER Working Papers 7578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Selden Thomas M. & Song Daqing, 1994. "Environmental Quality and Development: Is There a Kuznets Curve for Air Pollution Emissions?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 147-162, September.
  5. McKibbin, Warwick J. & Shackleton, Robert & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 1999. "What to expect from an international system of tradable permits for carbon emissions," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3-4), pages 319-346, August.
  6. CHANDER, Parkash & TULKENS, Henry, . "Theoretical foundations of negotiations and cost sharing in transfrontier pollution problems," CORE Discussion Papers RP -983, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. Grossman, Gene M., 1984. "The gains from international factor movements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1-2), pages 73-83, August.
  8. Jorgenson, Dale W. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 1993. "Reducing US carbon emissions: an econometric general equilibrium assessment," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 7-25, March.
  9. Grossman, Gene M & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Economic Growth and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(2), pages 353-77, May.
  10. Barrett, Scott, 1994. "Self-Enforcing International Environmental Agreements," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 878-94, Supplemen.
  11. Werner Antweiler & Brian R. Copeland & M. Scott Taylor, 1998. "Is Free Trade Good for the Environment?," NBER Working Papers 6707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. David Card, 1990. "The impact of the Mariel boatlift on the Miami labor market," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(2), pages 245-257, January.
  13. 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.
  14. Brecher, Richard A & Choudhri, Ehsan U, 1982. "Immiserizing Investment from Abroad: The Singer-Prebisch Thesis Reconsidered," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(1), pages 181-90, February.
  15. Markusen, James R. & Melvin, James R., 1979. "Tariffs, capital mobility, and foreign ownership," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 395-409, August.
  16. Copeland, Brian R & Taylor, M Scott, 1994. "North-South Trade and the Environment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(3), pages 755-87, August.
  17. Gordon H. Hanson & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "The Rybczynski Theorem, Factor-Price Equalization, and Immigration: Evidence from U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 7074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521477185 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Michael Hoel, 1991. "Efficient International Agreements for Reducing Emissions of CO2," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2), pages 93-108.
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