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Does uncertainty justify intensity emission caps?

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  • Philippe Quirion

    () (CIRED - Centre International de Recherche sur l'Environnement et le Développement - ENGREF - Ecole Nationale du Génie Rural, des Eaux et des Forêts - CIRAD - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

Environmental policies often set ‘‘relative'' or ‘‘intensity'' emission caps, i.e. emission limits proportional to the polluting firm's output. One of the arguments put forth in favour of relative caps is based on the uncertainty on business-as-usual output: if the firm's production level is higher than expected, so will be business-as-usual emissions, hence reaching a given level of emissions will be more costly than expected.As a consequence, it is argued, a higher emission level should be allowed if the production level is moreimportant than expected. We assess this argument with a stochastic analytical model featuring two randomvariables: the business-as-usual emission level, proportional to output, and the slope of the marginalabatement cost curve.We compare the relative cap to an absolute cap and to a price instrument, in terms ofwelfare impact. It turns out that in most plausible cases, either a price instrument or an absolute cap yields ahigher expected welfare than a relative cap. Quantitatively, the difference in expected welfare is typically very small between the absolute and the relative cap but may be significant between the relative cap and the price instrument.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Quirion, 2005. "Does uncertainty justify intensity emission caps?," Post-Print halshs-00007162, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00007162
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2005.05.002
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00007162
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marschinski, Robert & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2010. "Revisiting the case for intensity targets: Better incentives and less uncertainty for developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5048-5058, September.
    2. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Kahn, Danny, 2010. "A symmetric safety valve," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4921-4932, September.
    3. Lecuyer, Oskar & Quirion, Philippe, 2013. "Can uncertainty justify overlapping policy instruments to mitigate emissions?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 177-191.
    4. Pezzey, John C.V. & Jotzo, Frank, 2010. "Tax-Versus-Trading and Free Emission Shares as Issues for Climate Policy Design," Research Reports 95049, Australian National University, Environmental Economics Research Hub.
    5. Olli-Pekka Kuuselaa & Gregory S. Amacher & Kwok Ping Tsang, 2013. "Intensity-Based Permit Quotas and the Business Cycle: Does Flexibility Pay Off?," Research Department Publications IDB-WP-450, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    6. Joseph E. Aldy & William A. Pizer, 2009. "Issues in Designing U.S. Climate Change Policy," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 179-210.
    7. Shreekar Pradhan & J. Scott Holladay & Mohammed Mohsin & Shreekar Pradhan, 2015. "Environmental Policy Instruments and Uncertainties Under Free Trade and Capital Mobility," EcoMod2015 8102, EcoMod.
    8. Newell, Richard G. & Pizer, William A., 2008. "Indexed regulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 221-233, November.
    9. Webster, Mort & Sue Wing, Ian & Jakobovits, Lisa, 2010. "Second-best instruments for near-term climate policy: Intensity targets vs. the safety valve," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(3), pages 250-259, May.
    10. Vidar Christiansen & Stephen Smith, 2015. "Emissions Taxes and Abatement Regulation Under Uncertainty," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 60(1), pages 17-35, January.
    11. Barbara Annicchiarico & Francesca Diluiso, 2017. "International Transmission of the Business Cycle and Environmental Policy," CEIS Research Paper 423, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 19 Dec 2017.
    12. repec:eee:eneeco:v:68:y:2017:i:s1:p:57-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Annicchiarico, Barbara & Di Dio, Fabio, 2015. "Environmental policy and macroeconomic dynamics in a new Keynesian model," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 1-21.
    14. Frédéric Branger & Philippe Quirion, 2014. "Price versus Quantities versus Indexed Quantities," Working Papers 2014.09, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.
    15. Fischer, Carolyn & Springborn, Michael, 2011. "Emissions targets and the real business cycle: Intensity targets versus caps or taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 352-366.
    16. Kato, Shinya & Takeuchi, Kenji, 2017. "A CGE analysis of a rate-based policy for climate change mitigation," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 88-95.
    17. Jiang, Jing Jing & Ye, Bin & Ma, Xiao Ming, 2014. "The construction of Shenzhen׳s carbon emission trading scheme," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 17-21.
    18. Neil J. Buckley & Stuart Mestelman & R. Andrew Muller, 2014. "Production Capacity and Abatement Technology Strategies in Emissions Trading Markets," Department of Economics Working Papers 2014-16, McMaster University.
    19. Yiyong Cai & Yingying Lu & David Newth & Alison Stegman, 2013. "Modelling Complex Emissions Intensity Targets with a Simple Simulation Algorithm," CAMA Working Papers 2013-33, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    20. Frank Jotzo & John C. V. Pezzey, 2006. "Optimal Intensity Targets for Greenhouse Emissions Trading Under Uncertainty," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 0605, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
    21. Lu, Yingying & Stegman, Alison & Cai, Yiyong, 2013. "Emissions intensity targeting: From China's 12th Five Year Plan to its Copenhagen commitment," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1164-1177.
    22. repec:spr:annopr:v:255:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-015-1927-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    23. Hossa Almutairi & Samir Elhedhli, 2014. "Carbon tax based on the emission factor: a bilevel programming approach," Journal of Global Optimization, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 795-815, April.
    24. Quirion, Philippe, 2010. "Complying with the Kyoto Protocol under uncertainty: Taxes or tradable permits?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 5166-5173, September.
    25. Jan-Tjeerd Boom & Bouwe Dijkstra, 2009. "Permit Trading and Credit Trading: A Comparison of Cap-Based and Rate-Based Emissions Trading Under Perfect and Imperfect Competition," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 44(1), pages 107-136, September.

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    Keywords

    Uncertainty; Policy choice; Environmental taxes; Tradable permits; Intensity target;

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