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Credible commitment in carbon policy

Author

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  • Steffen Brunner
  • Christian Flachsland
  • Robert Marschinski

Abstract

In this article the problem of credible commitment in carbon policy is discussed. Investors favour long-term predictability of the policy, but without any external enforcement mechanisms a commitment made by a government can be withdrawn, leading to scepticism and lack of credibility. This results in increased market risks and investment hold-up. Regulatory uncertainty stems from (i) strategic interactions between government and firms, (ii) potential learning about climate damage and abatement cost and (iii) political volatility. Although commitment to future policy encourages private investment, it also imposes costs in the form of reduced flexibility to accommodate new information or preferences. The article reviews devices that may help policy makers raise the level of commitment while also leaving some room for flexible adjustments. In particular, legislation of a long-term governance framework, delegation to an independent carbon agency and securitization of investors' stakes in emission markets offer palliative approaches.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Brunner & Christian Flachsland & Robert Marschinski, 2012. "Credible commitment in carbon policy," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 255-271, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:tcpoxx:v:12:y:2012:i:2:p:255-271
    DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2011.582327
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Roland Strausz, 2009. "The Political Economy of Regulatory Risk," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2009-040, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
    2. Alistair Ulph & David Ulph, 2009. "Optimal Climate Change Policies When Governments Cannot Commit," Discussion Paper Series, School of Economics and Finance 200909, School of Economics and Finance, University of St Andrews.
    3. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 2009. "Optimal Climate Change Policies When Governments Cannot Commit," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-42, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    4. Alistair Ulph & David Ulph, 2009. "Optimal Climate Change Policies When Governments Cannot Commit," Working Papers 0921, Oxford University Centre for Business Taxation.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yu, Jongmin & Mallory, Mindy L., 2015. "An optimal hybrid emission control system in a multiple compliance period model," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 16-28.
    2. Nabila Arfaoui & Eric Brouillat & Maïder Saint-Jean, 2015. "The Impact of REACH on Eco-Innovation: How Perception Misfits on Policy Stringency Matter," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-45, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), Université Côte d'Azur, France.
    3. Achim Voß, 2015. "How Disagreement About Social Costs Leads to Inefficient Energy-Productivity Investment," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(4), pages 521-548, April.
    4. Olli-Pekka Kuusela & Jussi Lintunen, 2020. "A Cap-and-Trade Commitment Policy with Allowance Banking," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 75(3), pages 421-455, March.
    5. Ouchida, Yasunori & Goto, Daisaku, 2016. "Environmental research joint ventures and time-consistent emission tax: Endogenous choice of R&D formation," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 179-188.
    6. Koch, Nicolas & Grosjean, Godefroy & Fuss, Sabine & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2016. "Politics matters: Regulatory events as catalysts for price formation under cap-and-trade," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 121-139.
    7. Karoline S. Rogge & Elisabeth Dütschke, 2017. "Exploring Perceptions of the Credibility of Policy Mixes: The Case of German Manufacturers of Renewable Power Generation Technologies," SPRU Working Paper Series 2017-23, SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Business School.
    8. Salant, Stephen W., 2016. "What ails the European Union׳s emissions trading system?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 6-19.
    9. Victoria Shestalova & Chiara Criscuolo & Nick Johnstone & Carlo Menon, 2014. "Renewable energy policies and cross-border investment: evidence from M&A in solar and wind energy," CPB Discussion Paper 288.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    10. Signe Krogstrup & William Oman, 2019. "Macroeconomic and Financial Policies for Climate Change Mitigation: A Review of the Literature," IMF Working Papers 19/185, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Vogt-Schilb, Adrien & Meunier, Guy & Hallegatte, Stéphane, 2018. "When starting with the most expensive option makes sense: Optimal timing, cost and sectoral allocation of abatement investment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 210-233.
    12. Martin Larsson, 2017. "EU Emissions Trading: Policy-Induced Innovation, or Business as Usual? Findings from Company Case Studies in the Republic of Croatia," Working Papers 1705, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb.
    13. Jun Rentschler & Raimund Bleischwitz & Florian Flachenecker, 2018. "On imperfect competition and market distortions: the causes of corporate under-investment in energy and material efficiency," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 159-183, January.
    14. Adrien Vogt-Schilb & St�phane Hallegatte & Christophe de Gouvello, 2015. "Marginal abatement cost curves and the quality of emission reductions: a case study on Brazil," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(6), pages 703-723, November.
    15. Jessika Richter & Luis Mundaca, 2015. "Achieving and maintaining institutional feasibility in emissions trading: the case of New Zealand," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 20(8), pages 1487-1509, December.
    16. Suzi Kerr & Catherine Leining, 2019. "Uncertainty, Risk and Investment and the NZ ETS," Working Papers 19_08, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    17. Florian Habermacher & Paul Lehmann, 2017. "Commitment vs. Discretion in Climate and Energy Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6355, CESifo.
    18. Taran Faehn and Elisabeth T. Isaksen, 2016. "Diffusion of Climate Technologies in the Presence of Commitment Problems," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    19. Kalkuhl, Matthias & Steckel, Jan Christoph & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2020. "All or nothing: Climate policy when assets can become stranded," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).

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