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China Can Grow And Still Help Prevent The Tragedy Of The Co2 Commons

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  • Warwick McKibbin
  • Peter Wilcoxen
  • Wing Thye Woo

Abstract

Under reasonable assumptions, China could achieve parity in living standard with Western Europe by 2100, and India by 2150. Climate change, however, may be a key obstacle preventing such a convergence. The business-as-usual (BAU) growth path of the world might increase concentration of atmospheric to unsafe levels and cause significant negative environmental feedback before China achieves parity in living standards with the OECD countries. We use a dynamic multi-country general equilibrium model (the G-Cubed Model) to project a realistic BAU trajectory of CO2 emissions, and we find it to be even above the CO2 emissions from the high-growth scenario estimated by the Energy Information Agency in 2007. This outcome is a reminder that it has been usual so far to underestimate the growth in China energy consumption. We compare the merits of the different market-based CO2 reduction mechanisms like a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade scheme, and the McKibbin-Wilcoxen Hybrid (MWH) approach. Unexpected developments cause the different CO2 reduction mechanisms to create very different costs. Both the international carbon tax and the MWH approach are more economically efficient responses to uncertainty than the cap-and-trade scheme of the Kyoto Protocol. We use the G-Cubed Model to study the economic outcomes under each CO2 reduction mechanism, and under the deployment of advanced green energy. The reduction of CO2 emissions would only delay, not stop, the increase in CO2 concentrations toward the “danger level”. As the only long-term solution is likely to be shifting to non-fossil emitting energy, it is important to combine a market-based CO2 reduction mechanism with an ambitious program to accelerate the development of green technology. Such a program would probably have a higher chance of success if some important parts of it were based on international collaboration. We conclude the paper with recommendations about the form of future international climate agreements and how China could be encouraged to participate.

Suggested Citation

  • Warwick McKibbin & Peter Wilcoxen & Wing Thye Woo, 2008. "China Can Grow And Still Help Prevent The Tragedy Of The Co2 Commons," CAMA Working Papers 2008-14, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2008-14
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    File URL: https://cama.crawford.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publication/cama_crawford_anu_edu_au/2017-02/14_mckibbin_wilcoxen_woo_2008.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ross Garnaut & Stephen Howes & Frank Jotzo & Peter Sheehan, 2008. "Emissions in the Platinum Age: the implications of rapid development for climate-change mitigation," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 377-401, Summer.
    2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, September.
    3. McKibbin, Warwick J. & Pearce, David & Stegman, Alison, 2007. "Long term projections of carbon emissions," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 637-653.
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    Cited by:

    1. McKibbin, Warwick J. & Wilcoxen, Peter J., 2013. "A Global Approach to Energy and the Environment," Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, in: Peter B. Dixon & Dale Jorgenson (ed.),Handbook of Computable General Equilibrium Modeling, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 0, pages 995-1068, Elsevier.
    2. Ditya Agung Nurdianto, 2016. "Economic Impacts of a Carbon Tax in an Integrated ASEAN," EEPSEA Special and Technical Paper tp201604t5, Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia (EEPSEA), revised Apr 2016.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy
    • 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
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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