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Pricing carbon in the U.S.: A model-based analysis of power-sector-only approaches

Author

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  • McKibbin, Warwick J.
  • Morris, Adele C.
  • Wilcoxen, Peter J.

Abstract

One proposed climate policy is a “power-sector-only” approach that would focus exclusively on controlling carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. This paper uses an intertemporal computable general equilibrium model of the world economy called G-Cubed to compare a power-sector-only climate policy with two alternative economy-wide measures that either: (1) place the same price on carbon or (2) achieve the same cumulative emissions reduction as the program limited to the power sector. We find that the power-sector-only approach requires a carbon price to electric utilities that is almost twice the economy-wide carbon price that would achieve the same cumulative emissions. In addition, we find that the power-sector-only policy does not produce offsetting increases in emissions in other sectors or other countries. Rather, we find that domestic carbon emissions outside the power sector fall slightly relative to baseline as higher electricity prices slow overall economic activity. Global emissions leakage is negligible as the price of oil in other currencies changes little. All three policies reduce investment in the capital-intensive energy sector, which lowers imports of durable goods and strengthens the U.S. terms of trade.

Suggested Citation

  • McKibbin, Warwick J. & Morris, Adele C. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 2014. "Pricing carbon in the U.S.: A model-based analysis of power-sector-only approaches," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 130-150.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:36:y:2014:i:1:p:130-150
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2013.11.007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Richard Green, 2008. "Carbon Tax or Carbon Permits: The Impact on Generators Risks," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 67-90.
    2. Boehringer Christoph & Fischer Carolyn & Rosendahl Knut Einar, 2010. "The Global Effects of Subglobal Climate Policies," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, December.
    3. Birgit Bednar-Friedl & Karl Farmer & Andreas Rainer, 2010. "Effects of Unilateral Climate Policy on Terms of Trade, Capital Accumulation, and Welfare in a World Economy," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 47(4), pages 495-520, December.
    4. Warwick J. McKibbin & Adele Morris & Peter J. Wilcoxen & Yiyong Cai, 2009. "Consequences Of Alternative U.S. Cap-And-Trade Policies: Controlling Both Emissions And Costs," CAMA Working Papers 2009-18, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Yihsu Chen & Chung-Li Tseng, 2011. "Inducing Clean Technology in the Electricity Sector: Tradable Permits or Carbon Tax Policies?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 169-174.
    6. Sergey Paltsev & John M. Reilly & Henry D. Jacoby & Angelo C. Gurgel & Gilbert E. Metcalf & Andrei P. Sokolov & Jennifer F. Holak, 2007. "Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals," NBER Working Papers 13176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Cai, Yiyong & Newth, David & Finnigan, John & Gunasekera, Don, 2015. "A hybrid energy-economy model for global integrated assessment of climate change, carbon mitigation and energy transformation," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 381-395.
    2. Pradhan, Basanta K. & Ghosh, Joydeep & Yao, Yun-Fei & Liang, Qiao-Mei, 2017. "Carbon pricing and terms of trade effects for China and India: A general equilibrium analysis," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 60-74.
    3. repec:eee:resene:v:54:y:2018:i:c:p:165-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Warwick J. McKibbin & Adele C. Morris & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 2014. "The Economic Consequences of Delay in US Climate Policy," CCEP Working Papers 1408, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    5. Wiser, Ryan & Bolinger, Mark & Heath, Garvin & Keyser, David & Lantz, Eric & Macknick, Jordan & Mai, Trieu & Millstein, Dev, 2016. "Long-term implications of sustained wind power growth in the United States: Potential benefits and secondary impacts," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 179(C), pages 146-158.
    6. Cai, Yiyong & Arora, Vipin, 2015. "Disaggregating electricity generation technologies in CGE models: A revised technology bundle approach with an application to the U.S. Clean Power Plan," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 543-555.
    7. Tatyana Deryugina & Alexander MacKay & Julian Reif, 2017. "The Long-Run Dynamics of Electricity Demand: Evidence from Municipal Aggregation," NBER Working Papers 23483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Wiser, Ryan & Millstein, Dev & Mai, Trieu & Macknick, Jordan & Carpenter, Alberta & Cohen, Stuart & Cole, Wesley & Frew, Bethany & Heath, Garvin, 2016. "The environmental and public health benefits of achieving high penetrations of solar energy in the United States," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 472-486.
    9. Huang, Ling & Zhou, Yishu, 2016. "Carbon Prices and Fuel Switching: A Quasi-experiment in Electricity Markets," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236179, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon pricing; Climate policy; Electricity; Energy prices; Leakage; General equilibrium modeling; Exchange rates;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • Q52 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Pollution Control Adoption and Costs; Distributional Effects; Employment Effects

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