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Expecting The Unexpected: Macroeconomic Volatility And Climate Policy

  • Warwick McKibbin

    ()

  • Adele Morris

    ()

  • Peter Wilcoxen

    ()

To estimate the emissions reductions and costs of a climate policy, analysts usually compare a policy scenario with a baseline scenario of future economic conditions without the policy. Both scenarios require assumptions about the future course of numerous factors such as population growth, technical change, and non-climate policies like taxes. The results are only reliable to the extent that the future turns out to be reasonably close to the assumptions that went into the model. In this paper we examine the effects of unanticipated macroeconomic shocks to growth in developing countries or a global financial crisis on the performance of three climate policy regimes: a globally-harmonized carbon tax; a global cap and trade system; and the McKibbin-Wilcoxen hybrid. We use the G-Cubed dynamic general equilibrium model to explore how the shocks would affect emissions, prices, incomes, and wealth under each regime. We consider how the different climate policies tend to increase or decrease the shock’s effect in the global economy and draw inferences about which policy approaches might better withstand such shocks. We find that a global cap and trade regime significantly changes the way growth shocks would otherwise be transmitted between regions while price-based systems such as a global carbon tax or a hybrid policy do not. Moreover, in the case of a financial meltdown, a price based system enables significant emissions reductions at low economic cost whereas a quantity target base system loses the opportunity for low cost emission reduction reductions because the target is fixed.

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Paper provided by Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University in its series CAMA Working Papers with number 2008-35.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:een:camaaa:2008-35
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  1. John Pezzey, 2003. "Emission Taxes and Tradeable Permits A Comparison of Views on Long-Run Efficiency," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 26(2), pages 329-342, October.
  2. Maurice Obstfeld & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 1996. "Foundations of International Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262150476, June.
  3. William D. Nordhaus, 2006. "After Kyoto: Alternative Mechanisms to Control Global Warming," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 31-34, May.
  4. von Below, David & Persson, Torsten, 2008. "Uncertainty, Climate Change and the Global Economy," Seminar Papers 757, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
  5. Zhang, ZhongXiang & Löschel, Andreas, 2002. "The Economic and Environmental Implications of the US Repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol and the Subsequent Deals in Bonn and Marrakech," ZEW Discussion Papers 02-28, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. 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.
  7. Frankel, Jeffrey, 2007. "Formulas for Quantitative Emission Targets," Working Paper Series rwp07-011, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  8. M. L. Weitzman, 1973. "Prices vs. Quantities," Working papers 106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Stanley Fischer, 1989. "Lectures on Macroeconomics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262022834, June.
  10. Roberts, Marc J. & Spence, Michael, 1976. "Effluent charges and licenses under uncertainty," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 193-208.
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