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When is a carbon price floor desirable?

Author

Listed:
  • Newbery, D.
  • Reiner, D.
  • Ritz, R.

Abstract

The EU carbon price lies well below estimates of the social cost of carbon and “target-consistent” carbon prices needed to deliver ambitious targets such as the 40% reduction target for 2030. In light of this, the UK introduced a carbon price floor (CPF) for its electricity sector in 2013 and the new Dutch Government has recently made a similar commitment, while successive French Governments have called for an EU-wide CPF. This paper analyzes the impacts and design of a power-sector CPF, both at the EU and national level, using a political-economy approach. We find a good case for introducing such a price-based instrument into the EU ETS. We suggest that a CPF should be designed to “top up” the EUA price to €25–30/tCO2, rising annually at 3–5% above inflation, at least until 2030. We argue that the new EU Market Stability Reserve enhances the value of a CPF in terms of delivering climate benefits, and discuss the potential for a regional CPF in North-West Europe. We also review international experience with price floors (and ceilings).

Suggested Citation

  • Newbery, D. & Reiner, D. & Ritz, R., 2018. "When is a carbon price floor desirable?," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1833, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1833
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Newbery, David, 2018. "Policies for decarbonizing a liberalized power sector," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 12, pages 1-24.
    2. Simon Quemin & Raphael Trotignon, 2018. "Competitive Permit Storage and Market Design: An Application to the EU-ETS," Working Papers 2018.19, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Carbon pricing; electricity markets; market failure; policy failure; political economy; price floor; price corridor;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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