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Too Much Oil

  • Reyer Gerlagh

    (Tilburg University)

Fear for oil exhaustion and its consequences on economic growth has been a driver of a rich literature on exhaustible resources from the 1970s onwards. But our view on oil has remarkably changed and we now worry how we should constrain climate change damages associated with oil and other fossil fuel use. In this climate change debate, economists have pointed to a green paradox: when policy makers stimulate the development of non-carbon energy sources to (partly) replace fossil fuels in the future, oil markets may anticipate a future reduction in demand and increase current supply. The availability of ‘green’ technologies may increase damages. The insight comes from the basic exhaustible resource model. We reproduce the green paradox and to facilitate discussion differentiate between a weak and a strong version, related to short-term and long-term effects, respectively. Then we analyze the green paradox in 2 standard modifications of the exhaustible resource model. We find that increasing fossil fuel extraction costs counteracts the strong green paradox, while with imperfect energy substitutes both the weak and strong green paradox may vanish.

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Paper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2010.14.

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Date of creation: Feb 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.14
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  1. Corrado Di Maria & Sjak Smulders & Edwin van der Werf, 2008. "Absolute Abundance and Relative Scarcity: Announced Policy, Resource Extraction, and Carbon Emissions," Working Papers 2008.92, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Persson, Tobias A. & Azar, C. & Johansson, D. & Lindgren, K., 2007. "Major oil exporters may profit rather than lose, in a carbon-constrained world," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(12), pages 6346-6353, December.
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  9. Sinclair, Peter J N, 1992. "High Does Nothing and Rising Is Worse: Carbon Taxes Should Keep Declining to Cut Harmful Emissions," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 60(1), pages 41-52, March.
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  11. Daniel J.A. Johansson & Christian Azar & Kristian Lindgren & Tobias A. Persson , 2009. "OPEC Strategies and Oil Rent in a Climate Conscious World," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 23-50.
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