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Assessing the sustainability of optimal pollution paths in a world with inertia

Author

Listed:
  • Marc Leandri

    (Cemotev - Centre d'études sur la mondialisation, les conflits, les territoires et les vulnérabilités - UVSQ - Université de Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines)

  • Mabel Tidball

    () (CEE-M - Centre d'Economie de l'Environnement - Montpellier - FRE2010 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - Montpellier SupAgro - Institut national d’études supérieures agronomiques de Montpellier - Institut Agro - Institut national d'enseignement supérieur pour l'agriculture, l'alimentation et l'environnement - UM - Université de Montpellier)

Abstract

Most formal optimal pollution control models in environmental economics assume a constant natural assimilative capacity, despite the biophysical evidence on feedback effects that can degrade this environmental function, as is the case with the reduction of ocean carbon sinks in the context of climate change. The few models that do consider this degradation establish a bijective relation between the pollution stock and the assimilative capacity, thus ignoring the inertia mechanism at stake. Indeed the level of assimilative capacity is not solely determined by the current pollution stock but also by the history of this stock and by the length of time the ecosystem remains above the degradation threshold. We propose an inertia assessment tool that tests the sustainability of any benchmark optimal pollution path when the inertia of the assimilative capacity degradation process is taken into account. Our simulations show a strong sensitivity to both the inertia degradation speed and the discount rate, thus stressing the need for increased monitoring of natural assimilative capacity in environmental policies.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Leandri & Mabel Tidball, 2019. "Assessing the sustainability of optimal pollution paths in a world with inertia," Post-Print hal-02626277, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-02626277
    DOI: 10.1007/s10666-018-9612-8
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.inrae.fr/hal-02626277
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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. Leandri, Marc, 2009. "The shadow price of assimilative capacity in optimal flow pollution control," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(4), pages 1020-1031, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fouad El Ouardighi & Eugene Khmelnitsky & Marc Leandri, 2020. "Production-based pollution versus deforestation: optimal policy with state-independent and-dependent environmental absorption efficiency restoration process," Annals of Operations Research, Springer, vol. 292(1), pages 1-26, September.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inertia; assimilative capacity; optimal pollution control; ecosystem services; climate change;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q01 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General - - - Sustainable Development
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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