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The Search for Abatement Technologies in the Alberta Oil Sands

Author

Listed:
  • Alain-Désiré Nimubona
  • Ujjayant Chakravorty
  • Andrew Leach

Abstract

We develop a three-stage model of abatement technology search, adoption, and deployment. Using this model, which draws on search theory tools more frequently used in labour and monetary economics, we compare market-based and command-and-control pollution control instruments with respect to the incentives each provides for abatement technology search and adoption, expected emissions reductions, and expected compliance costs. We motivate our work by examining firm-level decisions in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada, where firms are developing new abatement technologies to reduce fluid tailings associated with mining operations. We show that the polluting firm always has more incentives to search for and adopt a more efficient abatement technology under either an emissions tax or a tradeable permit system than under an equivalently stringent emissions standard. We also show that while expected incentives for innovation are comparable under emissions taxes and tradeable permit regimes, the likelihood for total future compliance costs to be reduced after an increase in the stringency of environmental policy - the so-called Porter hypothesis - is higher with a tradeable permit regime.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain-Désiré Nimubona & Ujjayant Chakravorty & Andrew Leach, 2014. "The Search for Abatement Technologies in the Alberta Oil Sands," CESifo Working Paper Series 4781, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4781
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp4781.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Stefan Ambec & Mark A. Cohen & Stewart Elgie & Paul Lanoie, 2013. "The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(1), pages 2-22, January.
    2. Bramoulle, Yann & Olson, Lars J., 2005. "Allocation of pollution abatement under learning by doing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1935-1960, September.
    3. Jung, Chulho & Krutilla, Kerry & Boyd, Roy, 1996. "Incentives for Advanced Pollution Abatement Technology at the Industry Level: An Evaluation of Policy Alternatives," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 95-111, January.
    4. Carolyn Fischer & Thomas Sterner, 2012. "Climate Policy, Uncertainty, and the Role of Technological Innovation," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 14(2), pages 285-309, March.
    5. Fischer, Carolyn & Parry, Ian W. H. & Pizer, William A., 2003. "Instrument choice for environmental protection when technological innovation is endogenous," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 523-545, May.
    6. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Wright, Randall, 2010. "Introduction to Search Theory and Applications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1319-1324, July.
    7. Biglaiser, Gary & Horowitz, John K, 1995. "Pollution Regulation and Incentives for Pollution-Control Research," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(4), pages 663-684, Winter.
    8. Perino, Grischa & Requate, Till, 2012. "Does more stringent environmental regulation induce or reduce technology adoption? When the rate of technology adoption is inverted U-shaped," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 456-467.
    9. Stavins, Robert N., 1996. "Correlated Uncertainty and Policy Instrument Choice," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 218-232, March.
    10. Requate, Till & Unold, Wolfram, 2003. "Environmental policy incentives to adopt advanced abatement technology:: Will the true ranking please stand up?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 125-146, February.
    11. Requate, Till, 2005. "Dynamic incentives by environmental policy instruments--a survey," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(2-3), pages 175-195, August.
    12. Philippe Quirion, 2004. "Prices versus Quantities in a Second-Best Setting," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 29(3), pages 337-360, November.
    13. Milliman, Scott R. & Prince, Raymond, 1989. "Firm incentives to promote technological change in pollution control," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 247-265, November.
    14. N. Lesca, 2010. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00640602, HAL.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    abatement technology; search; prices versus quantities; oil sands; Porter hypothesis;

    JEL classification:

    • Q55 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Technological Innovation
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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