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To build or not to build? Capital stocks and climate policy

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  • Elizabeth Baldwin, Yongyang Cai, Karlygash Kuralbayeva

Abstract

We investigate how irreversibility in “dirty” and “clean” capital stocks affects optimal climate policy, from both theoretical and numerical perspectives. An increasing carbon tax will reduce investments in assets that pollute, and so reduce emissions in the short term: our “irreversibility effect”. As such the “Green Paradox” has a converse if we focus on demand side capital stock effects. We also show that the optimal subsidy increases with the deployment rate: our “acceleration effect”. Considering second-best settings, we show that, although carbon taxes achieve stringent targets more efficiently, in fact renewable subsidies deliver higher welfare when policy is more mild.

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  • Elizabeth Baldwin, Yongyang Cai, Karlygash Kuralbayeva, 2018. "To build or not to build? Capital stocks and climate policy," GRI Working Papers 290, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
  • Handle: RePEc:lsg:lsgwps:wp290
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    Cited by:

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    2. Cahen-Fourot, Louison & Campiglio, Emanuele & Dawkins, Elena & Godin, Antoine & Kemp-Benedict, Eric, 2019. "Capital stranding cascades: The impact of decarbonisation on productive asset utilisation," Ecological Economic Papers 18, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    3. Wei Jin & ZhongXiang Zhang, 2018. "Capital Accumulation, Green Paradox, and Stranded Assets: An Endogenous Growth Perspective," Working Papers 2018.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Arild Angelsen & Andrea Baranzini & W.J. Wouter Botzen & Stefano Carattini & Stefan Drews & Tessa Dunlop & Eric Galbraith & Elisabeth Gsottbauer & Richard B. Howarth & Em, 2018. "Parallel tracks towards a global treaty on carbon pricing," Working Papers 2018/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    5. Schreiner, Lena & Madlener, Reinhard, 2019. "Investing in power grid infrastructure as a flexibility option: A DSGE assessment for Germany," FCN Working Papers 11/2019, E.ON Energy Research Center, Future Energy Consumer Needs and Behavior (FCN), revised 01 Apr 2020.
    6. Nemet, Gregory F. & Lu, Jiaqi & Rai, Varun & Rao, Rohan, 2020. "Knowledge spillovers between PV installers can reduce the cost of installing solar PV," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    7. van den Bijgaart, Inge & Rodriguez, Mauricio, 2020. "Closing wells; fossil exploration and abandonment in the energy transition," Working Papers in Economics 789, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    8. Arik Sadeh & Claudia Florina Radu & Cristina Feniser & Andrei Borşa, 2020. "Governmental Intervention and Its Impact on Growth, Economic Development, and Technology in OECD Countries," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(1), pages 1-30, December.
    9. Kalkuhl, Matthias & Steckel, Jan Christoph & Edenhofer, Ottmar, 2020. "All or nothing: Climate policy when assets can become stranded," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 100(C).
    10. Yang, Zhenbing & Shao, Shuai & Yang, Lili, 2021. "Unintended consequences of carbon regulation on the performance of SOEs in China: The role of technical efficiency," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).

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    JEL classification:

    • O44 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Environment and Growth
    • 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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