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The atmospheric carbon resilience problem : A theoretical analysis

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  • Amigues, Jean-Pierre
  • Moreaux, Michel

Abstract

We study a dynamic carbon pollution model where carbon accumulates both inside a nonrenewable and a renewable reservoir with a constant regeneration rate. Two primary energy sources are available: a cheap exhaustible fossil fuel (coal) and an expensive clean energy alternative (solar). To avoid catastrophic climate events, the global carbon concentration has to remain below some critical mandated ceiling. We show that there exists an upper bound on the coal endowment that can be consumed, which distinguishes two main cases: coal is initially abundant or scarce. If the energy sector has to provide a constant aggregate energy flow to the final users, cost-effectiveness requires that the global ceiling should be attained only when solar energy is introduced. Then the economy stays forever at the ceiling and coal use is progressively replaced by solar energy use. In the abundant coal case, this energy sources substitution process lasts for an infinite duration while in the scarce coal case, coal exploitation ends in finite time. Under a welfare maximization criterion, if coal is abundant, we show that the economy may follow a sequence of phases at the ceiling and below the ceiling before the final transition towards clean energy.
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Suggested Citation

  • Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Moreaux, Michel, 2011. "The atmospheric carbon resilience problem : A theoretical analysis," LERNA Working Papers 11.08.342, LERNA, University of Toulouse.
  • Handle: RePEc:ler:wpaper:24321
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    File URL: http://www2.toulouse.inra.fr/lerna/travaux/cahiers2011/11.08.342.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ujjayant Chakravorty & Michel Moreaux & Mabel Tidball, 2008. "Ordering the Extraction of Polluting Nonrenewable Resources," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1128-1144, June.
    2. Jean-Pierre Amigues & Michel Moreaux & Katheline Schubert, 2011. "Optimal Use of a Polluting Non-Renewable Resource Generating both Manageable and Catastrophic Damages," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 103-104, pages 107-141.
    3. repec:adr:anecst:y:2011:i:103-104:p:07 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Magne, Bertrand & Moreaux, Michel, 2006. "A Hotelling model with a ceiling on the stock of pollution," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 30(12), pages 2875-2904, December.
    5. Farzin, Y H & Tahvonen, O, 1996. "Global Carbon Cycle and the Optimal Time Path of a Carbon Tax," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(4), pages 515-536, October.
    6. 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.
    7. Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Lafforgue, Gilles & Moreaux, Michel, 2010. "Optimal capture and sequestration from the carbon emission flow and from the atmospheric carbon stock with heterogeneous energy consuming sectors," TSE Working Papers 10-163, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    8. Tahvonen, Olli & Salo, Seppo, 1996. "Nonconvexities in Optimal Pollution Accumulation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 160-177, September.
    9. Reyer Gerlagh, 2011. "Too Much Oil," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(1), pages 79-102, March.
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    12. Withagen, Cees, 1994. "Pollution and exhaustibility of fossil fuels," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 235-242, August.
    13. 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.
    14. Toman, Michael A. & Withagen, Cees, 2000. "Accumulative pollution, "clean technology," and policy design," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 367-384, October.
    15. Olli Tahvonen, 1997. "Fossil Fuels, Stock Externalities, and Backstop Technology," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 30(4), pages 855-874, November.
    16. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1994. "The Optimal Time Path of a Carbon Tax," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 857-868, Supplemen.
    17. Clarke, Harry R. & Reed, William J., 1994. "Consumption/pollution tradeoffs in an environment vulnerable to pollution-related catastrophic collapse," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 18(5), pages 991-1010, September.
    18. 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. Moreaux, Michel & Withagen, Cees, 2013. "Climate Change and Carbon Capture and Storage," IDEI Working Papers 774, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    2. Chakravorty, Ujjayant & Leach, Andrew & Moreaux, Michel, 2012. "Cycles in nonrenewable resource prices with pollution and learning-by-doing," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1448-1461.
    3. 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.
    4. Moreaux, Michel & Withagen, Cees, 2015. "Optimal abatement of carbon emission flows," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 55-70.
    5. Marc Chesney & Pierre Lasserre & Bruno Troja, 2016. "Mitigating Global Warming: A Real Option Approach," CIRANO Working Papers 2016s-34, CIRANO.
    6. repec:spr:annopr:v:255:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-016-2258-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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