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Flattening the Carbon Extraction Path in Unilateral Cost-Effective Action

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  • Thomas Eichner
  • Rüdiger Pethig

Abstract

Internalizing the global negative externality of carbon emissions requires flattening the extraction path of world fossil energy resources (= world carbon emissions). We consider governments having sign-unconstrained emission taxes at their disposal and seeking to prevent world emissions from exceeding some binding aggregate emission ceiling in the medium term. Such a ceiling policy can be carried out either in full cooperation of all (major) carbon emitting countries or by a sub-global climate coalition. Unilateral action has to cope with carbon leakage and high costs which makes a strong case for choosing a policy that implements the ceiling in a cost-effective way. In a two-country two-period general equilibrium model with a non-renewable fossil-energy resource we characterize the unilateral cost-effective ceiling policy and compare it with its fully cooperative counterpart. We show that with full cooperation there exists a cost-effective ceiling policy in which only first-period emissions are taxed at a rate that is uniform across countries. In contrast, the cost-effective ceiling policy of a sub-global climate coalition is characterized by emission regulation in both periods. That policy may consist either of positive tax rates in both periods or of negative tax rates (= subsidies) in both periods or of a positive rate in the first and a negative rate in the second period. The share of the total stock of energy resources owned by the sub-global climate coalition turns out to be a decisive determinant of the sign and magnitude of unilateral cost-effective taxes.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Eichner & Rüdiger Pethig, 2011. "Flattening the Carbon Extraction Path in Unilateral Cost-Effective Action," CESifo Working Paper Series 3546, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3546
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hendrik Ritter & Mark Schopf, 2014. "Unilateral Climate Policy: Harmful or Even Disastrous?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(1), pages 155-178, May.
    2. van der Meijden, Gerard & van der Ploeg, Frederick & Withagen, Cees, 2015. "International capital markets, oil producers and the Green Paradox," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 275-297.
    3. van der Meijden, Gerard & van der Ploeg, Frederick & Withagen, Cees, 2015. "International capital markets, oil producers and the Green Paradox," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 275-297.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    unilateral climate policy; intertemporal climate policy; non-renewable energy resources; emission taxes;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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