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Too Much Oil

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  • Reyer Gerlagh

    (Tilburg University)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Reyer Gerlagh, 2010. "Too Much Oil," Working Papers 2010.14, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2010.14
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hoel, Michael & Kverndokk, Snorre, 1996. "Depletion of fossil fuels and the impacts of global warming," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 115-136, June.
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    4. Michael Hoel, 2008. "Bush Meets Hotelling: Effects of Improved Renewable Energy Technology on Greenhouse Gas Emissions," CESifo Working Paper Series 2492, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. 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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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Green Paradox; Climate Change; Exhaustible Resources; Fossil Fuels;

    JEL classification:

    • Q31 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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