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Cost-effective unilateral climate policy design: Size matters

Author

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  • Böhringer, Christoph
  • Fischer, Carolyn
  • Rosendahl, Knut Einar

Abstract

Given the bleak prospects for a global agreement on mitigating climate change, pressure for unilateral abatement is increasing. A major challenge is emissions leakage. Border carbon adjustments and output-based allocation of emissions allowances can increase effectiveness of unilateral action but introduce distortions of their own. We assess antileakage measures as a function of abatement coalition size. We first develop a partial equilibrium analytical framework to see how these instruments affect emissions within and outside the coalition. We then employ a computable general equilibrium model of international trade and energy use to assess the strategies as the coalition grows. We find that full border adjustments rank first in global cost-effectiveness, followed by import tariffs and output-based rebates. The differences across measures and their overall appeal decline as the abatement coalition grows. In terms of cost, the coalition countries prefer border carbon adjustments; countries outside the coalition prefer output-based rebates.

Suggested Citation

  • Böhringer, Christoph & Fischer, Carolyn & Rosendahl, Knut Einar, 2014. "Cost-effective unilateral climate policy design: Size matters," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 318-339.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:67:y:2014:i:3:p:318-339
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2013.12.008
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    Keywords

    Emissions leakage; Border carbon adjustments; Output-based rebates;

    JEL classification:

    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis

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