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Updating the Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permits in a Federal Cap-and-Trade Program

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  • Meredith Fowlie

Abstract

U.S. adoption of a cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases could place some domestic producers at a disadvantage relative to international competitors who do not face similar regulation. To address this issue, proposed federal climate change legislation includes a provision that would freely allocate (or rebate) emission allowances to eligible sectors using a continuously updating output-based formula. Eligibility for the rebates would be determined at the industry-level based on emissions or energy intensity and a measure of import penetration. Dynamic updating of permit allocations has the potential to mitigate adverse competitiveness impacts and emissions leakage in eligible industries. It can also undermine the cost-effectiveness of permit market outcomes, as more of the mandated emissions reductions must then be achieved by sources deemed ineligible for rebates. This chapter investigates both the benefits and the costs of output-based updating. It identifies differences between proposed eligibility criteria and those consistent with standard measures of economic efficiency. The analysis underlines the importance of taking both benefits and costs into account when determining the scale and scope of output-based rebating provisions in cap-and-trade programs.

Suggested Citation

  • Meredith Fowlie, 2010. "Updating the Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permits in a Federal Cap-and-Trade Program," NBER Working Papers 16307, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16307
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Parry, Ian W. H. & Williams, Roberton III & Goulder, Lawrence H., 1999. "When Can Carbon Abatement Policies Increase Welfare? The Fundamental Role of Distorted Factor Markets," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 52-84, January.
    2. Robert W. Hahn & Robert N. Stavins, 2011. "The Effect of Allowance Allocations on Cap-and-Trade System Performance," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages 267-294.
    3. repec:reg:rpubli:47 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry, 2008. "Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 152-174, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Knut Rosendahl & Jon Strand, 2015. "Emissions Trading with Offset Markets and Free Quota Allocations," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 61(2), pages 243-271, June.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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