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Potential Irreversible Catastrophic Shifts of the Assimilative Capacity of the Environment

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  • Amigues, Jean-Pierre
  • Moreaux, Michel

Abstract

Pollution accumulation may result in more or less severe losses of natural self-cleaning capacities. We study a polluting resource management problem submitted to a potential shift from a high to a low pollution self-regeneration regime be crossed some critical pollution stock threshold. We first describe the optimal resource exploitation policy absent the threshold. When at the threshold, the society has two options: either stabilizing the pollution level to avoid the loss of natural self-cleaning capacity or deliberately cross the threshold and switch to the low regeneration regime. We show under fairly general assumptions that there exists a unique critical pollution stock level such that thresholds located below this level will induce a switch from the high to the low regeneration regime while thresholds located above it will imply maintaining the high regime forever. We characterize the optimal policies in these two scenarios and show that triggering the low regeneration regime requires an upward jump of the resource consumption rate at the optimal switching time.

Suggested Citation

  • Amigues, Jean-Pierre & Moreaux, Michel, 2012. "Potential Irreversible Catastrophic Shifts of the Assimilative Capacity of the Environment," TSE Working Papers 12-276, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:25514
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Prieur, Fabien & Tidball, Mabel & Withagen, Cees, 2013. "Optimal emission-extraction policy in a world of scarcity and irreversibility," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 637-658.
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    Cited by:

    1. Prieur, Fabien & Tidball, Mabel & Withagen, Cees, 2013. "Optimal emission-extraction policy in a world of scarcity and irreversibility," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 637-658.
    2. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2014. "Abrupt positive feedback and the social cost of carbon," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 28-41.
    3. Alain Ayong Le Kama & Aude Pommeret, 2017. "Supplementing Domestic Mitigation and Adaptation with Emissions Reduction Abroad to Face Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 68(4), pages 875-891, December.
    4. van der Ploeg, Frederick, 2014. "Abrupt positive feedback and the social cost of carbon," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 28-41.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • Q17 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agriculture in International Trade

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