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The Economics of "When" Flexibility in the Design of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Policies

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  • Toman, Michael
  • Morgenstern, Richard D.
  • Anderson, John W.

Abstract

This paper focuses on the economic desirability of the fixed and relatively short-term greenhouse gas targets and timetables in the Kyoto Protocol. The Protocol provides flexibility in which greenhouse gases to control, where control can be implemented, and what domestic policy measures are used. However, the Protocol does not allow much flexibility in when emission reductions take place in pursuit of longer-term environmental goals. Nor does it allow more flexible shorter-term environmental targets through price-based policy instruments that balance environmental goals and compliance costs. The relative inflexibility of the Protocol with respect to these elements may derive, in part, from a misplaced analogy between the global warming issue and the highly successful effort to phase out CFCs under the Montreal Protocol. The lack of "when" flexibility may be a key barrier to achieving the broader goals of the Kyoto Protocol, particularly if "where" flexibility is constrained in implementing the Protocol.

Suggested Citation

  • Toman, Michael & Morgenstern, Richard D. & Anderson, John W., 1999. "The Economics of "When" Flexibility in the Design of Greenhouse Gas Abatement Policies," Discussion Papers 10763, Resources for the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:rffdps:10763
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.10763
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    Cited by:

    1. 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 & Energy Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Shogren, Jason F. & Toman, Michael, 2000. "Climate Change Policy," Discussion Papers 10767, Resources for the Future.
    3. Toman, Michael, 2003. "Economic Analysis and the Formulation of U.S. Climate Policy," Discussion Papers 10528, Resources for the Future.
    4. Jaccard, Mark & Rivers, Nic, 2007. "Heterogeneous capital stocks and the optimal timing for CO2 abatement," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-16, January.
    5. Jean-Charles Hourcade & P.-R. Shukla & Christophe Cassen, 2015. "Climate policy architecture for the Cancun paradigm shift: building on the lessons from history," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 353-367, November.
    6. Christiansen, Atle Christer, 2002. "New renewable energy developments and the climate change issue: a case study of Norwegian politics," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 235-243, February.

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