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Optimal Emission Policy under the Risk of Irreversible Pollution

Author

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  • Alain Ayong Le Kama

    () (EconomiX - UPN - Université Paris Nanterre - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Aude Pommeret
  • Fabien Prieur

    ()

Abstract

We consider an optimal consumption and pollution problem that has two important features. Environmental damages due to economic activities may be irreversible and the level at which the degradation becomes irreversible is unknown. Particular attention is paid to the situation where agents are relatively impatient and/or do not care a lot about the environment and/or Nature regenerates at low rate. We show that the optimal policy of the uncertain problem drives the economy in the long run toward a steady state while, when ignoring irreversibility, the economy follows a balanced growth path accompanied by a perpetual decrease in environmental quality and consumption, both asymptotically converging toward zero. Therefore, accounting for the risk of irreversibility induces more conservative decisions regarding consumption and polluting emissions. In general, however, we cannot rule out situations where the economy will optimally follow an irreversible path and consequently, will also be left, in the long run, with an irreversibly degraded environment.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Alain Ayong Le Kama & Aude Pommeret & Fabien Prieur, 2014. "Optimal Emission Policy under the Risk of Irreversible Pollution," Post-Print hal-01385830, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01385830
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-univ-paris10.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01385830
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fabien Prieur, 2009. "The environmental Kuznets curve in a world of irreversibility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 40(1), pages 57-90, July.
    2. Smith, William T., 1999. "Risk, the Spirit of Capitalism and Growth: The Implications of a Preference for Capital," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 241-262, April.
    3. Alain Le Kama & Katheline Schubert, 2004. "Growth, Environment and Uncertain Future Preferences," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 28(1), pages 31-53, May.
    4. Pommeret, Aude & Schubert, Katheline, 2009. "Abatement Technology Adoption Under Uncertainty," Macroeconomic Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 13(04), pages 493-522, September.
    5. Alain Ayong Le Kama, 2001. "Preservation and exogenous uncertain future preferences," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 18(3), pages 745-752.
    6. Forster, Bruce A., 1975. "Optimal pollution control with a nonconstant exponential rate of decay," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 1-6, September.
    7. Partha Dasgupta & Geoffrey Heal, 1974. "The Optimal Depletion of Exhaustible Resources," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(5), pages 3-28.
    8. Raymond Gradus & Sjak Smulders, 1993. "The trade-off between environmental care and long-term growth—Pollution in three prototype growth models," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 58(1), pages 25-51, February.
    9. Debreu, Gerard, 1976. "Least concave utility functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 121-129, July.
    10. Fabien Prieur & Mabel Tidball & Cees Withagen, 2013. "Optimal extraction-emission policy in a world of scarcity and irreversibility," Post-Print hal-01549824, HAL.
    11. Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 1996. "Accounting for global warming risks: Resource management under event uncertainty," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(6-7), pages 1289-1305.
    12. Tahvonen, Olli & Withagen, Cees, 1996. "Optimality of irreversible pollution accumulation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(9-10), pages 1775-1795.
    13. Comolli, Paul M., 1977. "Pollution control in a simplified general-equilibrium model with production externalities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(4), pages 289-304, December.
    14. Frederick Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 1991. "Pollution control and the Ramsey problem," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 215-236, June.
    15. Prieur, Fabien & Tidball, Mabel & Withagen, Cees, 2013. "Optimal emission-extraction policy in a world of scarcity and irreversibility," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 637-658.
    16. Philippe Michel & Gilles Rotillon, 1995. "Disutility of pollution and endogenous growth," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 6(3), pages 279-300, October.
    17. Cropper, M. L., 1976. "Regulating activities with catastrophic environmental effects," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 3(1), pages 1-15, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prudence Dato, 2017. "Energy Transition Under Irreversibility: A Two-Sector Approach," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(3), pages 797-820, November.
    2. Prieur, Fabien & Tidball, Mabel & Withagen, Cees, 2013. "Optimal emission-extraction policy in a world of scarcity and irreversibility," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 637-658.
    3. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0050-2 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:matsoc:v:89:y:2017:i:c:p:83-91 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:spr:annopr:v:238:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-015-2096-x is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Aznar-Márquez, J. & Ruiz-Tamarit, J.R., 2016. "Environmental pollution, sustained growth, and sufficient conditions for sustainable development," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 439-449.
    7. Juana AZNAR-MARQUEZ & Jose-Ramon RUIZ-TAMARIT, 2012. "Sufficient and Necessary Conditions for Non-Catastrophic Growth," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2012027, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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