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Growth and the Optimal Carbon Tax: When to switch from exhaustible resources to renewables?

  • Frederick van der Ploeg
  • Cees Withagen

Optimal climate policy is studied in a Ramsey growth model. A developing economy weighs global warming less, hence is more likely to exhaust fossil fuel and exacerbate global warming. The optimal carbon tax is higher for a developed economy. We analyze the optimal time of transition from fossil fuel to renewables, amount of fossil fuel to leave in situ, and carbon tax. Subsidizing a backstop without an optimal carbon tax induces more fossil fuel to be left in situ and a quicker phasing in of renewables, but fossil fuel is depleted more quickly. Global warming need thus not be alleviated.

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Paper provided by Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford in its series OxCarre Working Papers with number 055.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:oxcrwp:055
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  1. Geoffrey Heal, 1976. "The Relationship Between Price and Extraction Cost for a Resource with a Backstop Technology," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 7(2), pages 371-378, Autumn.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Philippe Aghion & Leonardo Bursztyn & David Hemous, 2012. "The Environment and Directed Technical Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 131-66, February.
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  4. Bovenberg, A.L. & Smulders, J.A., 1994. "Transitional impact of environmental policy in an endogenous growth model," Discussion Paper 1994-50, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  7. Sinn, Hans-Werner, . "Das grüne Paradoxon ; Plädoyer für eine illusionsfreie Klimapolitik," Monographs in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics, number 19627.
  8. Valentina Bosetti & Carlo Carraro & Romain Duval & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The Role of R&D and Technology Diffusion in Climate Change Mitigation: New Perspectives Using the WITCH Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 664, OECD Publishing.
  9. R. Mehra & E. Prescott, 2010. "The equity premium: a puzzle," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1401, David K. Levine.
  10. Golosov, Mikhail & Hassler, John & Krusell, Per & Tsyvinski, Aleh, 2011. "Optimal taxes on fossil fuel in general equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 8527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Frederick Van der Ploeg & Cees A. Withagen, 2010. "Is There Really a Green Paradox?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2963, CESifo Group Munich.
  12. Tsur, Yacov & Zemel, Amos, 2005. "Scarcity, growth and R&D," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 484-499, May.
  13. R. Quentin Grafton & Tom Kompas & Ngo Van Long, 2010. "Biofuels Subsidies and the Green Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2960, CESifo Group Munich.
  14. Frederick Ploeg & Cees Withagen, 1991. "Pollution control and the Ramsey problem," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 1(2), pages 215-236, June.
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  16. Withagen, Cees, 1994. "Pollution and exhaustibility of fossil fuels," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 235-242, August.
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