IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Is there really a green paradox?

  • van der Ploeg, Frederick
  • Withagen, Cees

In the absence of a CO2 tax, the anticipation of a cheaper renewable backstop increases current emissions of CO2. Since the date at which renewables are phased in is brought forward and more generally future emissions of CO2 will decrease, the effect on global warming is unclear. Green welfare falls if the backstop is relatively expensive and full exhaustion of fossil fuels is optimal, but may increase if the backstop is sufficiently cheap relative to the cost of extracting the last drop of fossil fuels plus marginal global warming damages as then it is attractive to leave more fossil fuels unexploited and thus limit CO2 emissions. We establish these results by analyzing depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels followed by a switch to a clean renewable backstop, paying attention to timing of the switch and the amount of fossil fuels remaining unexploited. We also discuss the potential for limit pricing when the non-renewable resource is owned by a monopolist. Finally, we show that if backstops are already used and more backstops become economically viable as the price of fossil fuels rises, a lower cost of the backstop will either postpone fossil fuel exhaustion or leave more fossil fuel in situ, thus boosting green welfare. However, if a market economy does not internalize global warming externalities and renewables have not kicked in yet, full exhaustion of fossil fuel will occur in finite time and a backstop subsidy always curbs green welfare.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0095069612000927
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

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

Volume (Year): 64 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 342-363

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:64:y:2012:i:3:p:342-363
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622870

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Thomas Eichner & Rüdiger Pethig, 2010. "International carbon emissions trading and strategic incentives to subsidize green energy," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 142-10, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
  2. Groot, Fons & Withagen, Cees & de Zeeuw, Aart, 2003. "Strong time-consistency in the cartel-versus-fringe model," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 287-306, November.
  3. Hoel, Michael, 1978. "Resource extraction, substitute production, and monopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 28-37, October.
  4. John Y. Campbell & N. Gregory Mankiw, 1989. "Consumption, Income and Interest Rates: Reinterpreting the Time Series Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1989, Volume 4, pages 185-246 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Bovenberg, A.L. & Smulders, J.A., 1996. "Transitional impacts of environmental policy in an endogenous growth model," Other publications TiSEM e002b2ed-f04f-4ffc-98f8-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  6. Karsten Neuhoff, 2005. "Large-Scale Deployment of Renewables for Electricity Generation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 88-110, Spring.
  7. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Romain Duval & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Role of R&D and Technology Diffusion in Climate Change Mitigation: New Perspectives Using the WITCH Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 664, OECD Publishing.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-66, February.
  9. Olli Tahvonen, 1997. "Fossil Fuels, Stock Externalities, and Backstop Technology," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 855-74, November.
  10. Obstfeld, Maurice, 1994. "Risk-Taking, Global Diversification, and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1310-29, December.
  11. Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 2003. "Optimal transition to backstop substitutes for nonrenewable resources," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 551-572, February.
  12. Willem H. Buiter, 1984. "Saddlepoint Problems in Contifuous Time Rational Expectations Models: A General Method and Some Macroeconomic Ehamples," NBER Technical Working Papers 0020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Hassler & Per Krusell & Conny Olovsson, 2010. "Oil Monopoly and the Climate," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(2), pages 460-64, May.
  14. Reyer Gerlagh & Matti Liski, 2012. "Carbon Prices for the Next Thousand Years," CESifo Working Paper Series 3855, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Epstein, Larry G & Zin, Stanley E, 1991. "Substitution, Risk Aversion, and the Temporal Behavior of Consumption and Asset Returns: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(2), pages 263-86, April.
  16. Golosov, Mikhail & Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2011. "Optimal taxes on fossil fuel in general equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 8527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Solow, Robert M, 1974. "The Economics of Resources or the Resources of Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(2), pages 1-14, May.
  18. Brock,W.A. & Taylor,M.S., 2004. "The Green Solow model," Working papers 16, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  19. Hoel, Michael, 1983. "Monopoly resource extractions under the presence of predetermined substitute production," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 201-212, June.
  20. R. Quentin Grafton & Tom Kompas & Ngo Van Long, 2010. "Biofuels Subsidies and the Green Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2960, CESifo Group Munich.
  21. 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.
  22. William D. Nordhaus, 2011. "Estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon: Background and Results from the RICE-2011 Model," NBER Working Papers 17540, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Frederick van der Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 2011. "Too Much Coal, Too Little Oil," OxCarre Working Papers 056, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  24. Sjak Smulders & Edwin van der Werf, 2008. "Climate policy and the optimal extraction of high- and low-carbon fossil fuels," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1421-1444, November.
  25. Snorre Kverndokk, 1994. "Depletion of Fossil Fuels and the impact of Global Warming," Discussion Papers 107, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
  26. Thomas Eichner & Rüdiger Pethig, 2009. "Carbon leakage, the green paradox and perfect future markets," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 136-09, Universität Siegen, Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsinformatik und Wirtschaftsrecht.
  27. Reyer Gerlagh, 2010. "Too Much Oil," Working Papers 2010.14, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  28. Michielsen, T.O., 2011. "Brown Backstops versus the Green Paradox (Revision of CentER DP 2011-076)," Discussion Paper 2011-110, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  29. Sinn, Hans-Werner, . "Das grüne Paradoxon ; Plädoyer für eine illusionsfreie Klimapolitik," Monographs in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics, number 19627.
  30. Michael Hoel, 2008. "Bush Meets Hotelling: Effects of Improved Renewable Energy Technology on Greenhouse Gas Emissions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2492, CESifo Group Munich.
  31. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1994. "The Optimal Time Path of a Carbon Tax," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 857-68, Supplemen.
  32. Mehra, Rajnish & Prescott, Edward C., 1985. "The equity premium: A puzzle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 145-161, March.
  33. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 2008. "Public policies against global warming: A supply side approach," Munich Reprints in Economics 19638, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  34. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1981. "The theory of exhaustible resources," Munich Reprints in Economics 19910, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  35. Hans-Werner Sinn, 2007. "Public Policies against Global Warming," NBER Working Papers 13454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Hotel, Michael, 2008. "Bush Meets Hotelling: Effects of Improved Renewable Energy Technology on Greenhouse Gas Emissions," Memorandum 29/2008, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  37. d'Arge, R C & Kogiku, K C, 1973. "Economic Growth and the Environment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(1), pages 61-77, January.
  38. Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 2005. "Scarcity, growth and R&D," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 484-499, May.
  39. Geoffrey Heal, 1976. "The Relationship Between Price and Extraction Cost for a Resource with a Backstop Technology," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(2), pages 371-378, Autumn.
  40. Krautkraemer, Jeffrey A, 1985. "Optimal Growth, Resource Amenities, and the Preservation of Natural Environments," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(1), pages 153-70, January.
  41. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-86, September.
  42. David Popp, 2002. "Induced Innovation and Energy Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 160-180, March.
  43. Withagen, Cees, 1994. "Pollution and exhaustibility of fossil fuels," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 235-242, August.
  44. repec:fth:harver:1435 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:64:y:2012:i:3:p:342-363. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.