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Optimal Intensity Targets for Greenhouse Emissions Trading Under Uncertainty

Author

Listed:
  • Frank Jotzo

    () (Australian National University, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies)

  • John C. V. Pezzey

    () (Australian National University,Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies)

Abstract

Uncertainty is an obstacle for commitments under cap and trade schemes. We assess how well intensity targets, where countries' permit allocations are indexed to future realised GDP, can cope with uncertainties in international greenhouse emissions trading. We present some empirical foundations for intensity targets and derive a simple rule for the optimal degree of indexation to GDP. Using an 18-region simulation model of a cooperative, global cap-and-trade treaty in 2020 under multiple uncertainties and endogenous commitments, we show that optimal intensity targets could reduce the cost of uncertainty and achieve significant increases in global abatement. The optimal degree of indexation to GDP would vary greatly between countries, including super-indexation in some advanced countries, and partial indexation for most developing countries. Standard intensity targets (with one-to-one indexation) would also improve the overall outcome, but to a lesser degree and not in all individual cases. Although target indexation is no magic wand for a future global climate treaty, gains from reduced cost uncertainty and the potential for more stringent environmental commitments might justify the increased complexity and other potential downsides of intensity targets.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2006. "Optimal Intensity Targets for Greenhouse Emissions Trading Under Uncertainty," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0605, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
  • Handle: RePEc:anu:eenwps:0605
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Toman, Michael, 2003. "Economic Analysis and the Formulation of U.S. Climate Policy," Discussion Papers dp-02-59, Resources For the Future.
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    13. Quirion, Philippe, 2005. "Does uncertainty justify intensity emission caps?," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 343-353, November.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jotzo, Frank, 2010. "Comparing the Copenhagen emissions targets," Research Reports 107577, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.
    2. Fischer, Carolyn & Springborn, Michael, 2011. "Emissions targets and the real business cycle: Intensity targets versus caps or taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 352-366.
    3. Pezzey, John C.V., 2006. "Neither the rock nor the hard place: using payment thresholds to balance the politics and the economics of emissions control," 2006 Conference (50th), February 8-10, 2006, Sydney, Australia 139892, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    4. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Indexed regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 221-233, November.
    5. Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2006. "A better Kyoto: options for flexible commitments," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0610, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    6. Bang, Guri & Froyn, Camilla Bretteville & Hovi, Jon & Menz, Fredric C., 2007. "The United States and international climate cooperation: International "pull" versus domestic "push"," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 1282-1291, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate policy; emissions trading; uncertainty; flexible targets; intensity targets; optimality; simulation modelling;

    JEL classification:

    • Q00 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - General

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