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Global Carbon Pricing: A Better Climate Commitment

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Abstract

Developing countries reject meaningful emission targets (recent intensity caps are no exception), while many industrialized countries insist that developing countries accept them. This impasse has prevented the Kyoto Protocol from establishing a global price for greenhouse gas emissions. This paper presents a solution to this dilemma—allow countries to commit to a binding global carbon-price target. This commitment could be met by cap and trade, a carbon tax, or any combination. This would allow developing countries to accept the same carbon price as the most advanced countries instead of accepting a cap that is as low as U.S. emissions in the 1800s. And it would allow the U.S. and the E.U. to keep their cap and trade schemes. The paper defines a carbon-price target, and shows how compliance could be induced using both carrots and sticks. We also demonstrate that carbon pricing can be guaranteed to be inexpensive under a carbon-price target. A Green Fund is suggested that reinforces rather than subverts cooperation on global carbon pricing. The combined cost of a $30/ton price target and the Green Fund is only 23 cents per person per day for the United States and is negative for India. Together, these advantages should greatly increase the chance that developing countries will commit to a substantial carbon price, and this should increase the chance of cap and trade passing the U.S. Senate. Such a policy would also reduce the world oil price. For China and the United States, this savings might well cover the full cost of the proposed initial climate agreement.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2009. "Global Carbon Pricing: A Better Climate Commitment," Papers of Peter Cramton 09gcp, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:pcc:pccumd:09gcp
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    File URL: http://www.cramton.umd.edu/papers2005-2009/cramton-stoft-global-carbon-pricing.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dale W. Jorgenson, 1998. "Growth, Volume 2: Energy, the Environment, and Economic Growth," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 2, number 0262100746, March.
    2. S. Paltsev & J. Reilly & H. Jacoby & A. Gurgel & G. Metcalf & A. Sokolov & J. Holak, 2007. "Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals," Working Papers 0705, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
    3. Cooper, Richard N, 2000. "International Approaches to Global Climate Change," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 15(2), pages 145-172, August.
    4. William Nordhaus, 2005. "Life After Kyoto: Alternative Approaches to Global Warming," NBER Working Papers 11889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Cramton & Steven Stoft, 2010. "International Climate Games: From Caps to Cooperation," Papers of Peter Cramton 10icg, University of Maryland, Department of Economics - Peter Cramton, revised 2010.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Climate change; carbon pricing; cap and trade; carbon auctions;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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