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Combining Rate-Based and Cap-and-Trade Emissions Policies

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  • Fischer, Carolyn

    () (Resources for the Future)

Abstract

Rate-based emissions policies (like tradable performance standards) fix average emissions intensity, while cap-and-trade policies fix total emissions. This paper shows that unfettered trade between rate-based and cap-and-trade programs always raises combined emissions, except when product markets are related in particular ways. Gains from trade are fully passed on to consumers in the rate-based sector, resulting in more output and greater emissions allocations. We consider a range of policy options to offset the expansion, including unilateral ones when jurisdictional differences require. The cap-and-trade jurisdiction could impose an "exchange rate" to adjust for relative permit values, but marginal abatement cost equalization is sacrificed. Still, that jurisdiction may prefer adjusted trade over tightening their own cap, which transfers away rents. Although the rate-based sector would have to implement the switch to output-based allocation of a cap, its surplus would be higher than with adjusted trade, which is also preferred to no trade. The cap-and-trade sector would also be better off. Thus, a range of combinations of tighter allocations could improve situations in both sectors with trade, while holding emissions constant.

Suggested Citation

  • Fischer, Carolyn, 2003. "Combining Rate-Based and Cap-and-Trade Emissions Policies," Discussion Papers dp-03-32, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-03-32
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    File URL: http://www.rff.org/RFF/documents/RFF-DP-03-32.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. de Bovenberg, A Lans & Mooij, Ruud A, 1994. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 1085-1089, September.
    2. Fischer, Carolyn & Hoffmann, Sandra & Yoshino , Yutaka, 2002. "Multilateral Trade Agreements and Market-Based Environmental Policies," Discussion Papers dp-02-28, Resources For the Future.
    3. Fullerton, Don & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 2001. "Environmental controls, scarcity rents, and pre-existing distortions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 249-267, May.
    4. Fischer, Carolyn, 2001. "Rebating Environmental Policy Revenues: Output-Based Allocations and Tradable Performance Standards," Discussion Papers dp-01-22, Resources For the Future.
    5. Fischer, Carolyn & Bernard, Alain & Vielle, Marc, 2001. "Is There a Rationale for Rebating Environmental Levies?," Discussion Papers dp-01-31-, Resources For the Future.
    6. Bovenberg, A Lans & de Mooij, Ruud A, 1997. "Environmental Levies and Distortionary Taxation: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 252-253, March.
    7. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen & Bharvirkar, Ranjit & Paul, Anthony, 2002. "The Effect on Asset Values of the Allocation of Carbon Dioxide Emission Allowances," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 51-62, June.
    8. Lawrence H. Goulder & Ian W. H. Parry & Dallas Burtraw, 1996. "Revenue-Raising vs. Other Approaches to Environmental Protection: The Critical Significance of Pre-Existing Tax Distortions," NBER Working Papers 5641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    emissions trading; permit allocation; tradable performance standards; climate; greenhouse gases;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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