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Global Climate Change and the Equity-Efficiency Puzzle

  • Alan S. Manne
  • Gunter Stephan

There is a broad consensus that the costs of abatement of global climate change can be reduced efficiently through the assignment of quota rights, and through international trade in these rights. But there is no consensus on whether the initial assignment of emission permits can affect the Pareto-optimal global level of abatement. This paper provides some insight into the equity-efficiency puzzle. Qualitative results are obtained from a small-scale model, and then quantitative evidence of separability is obtained from MERGE, a multi-region integrated assessment model. It is shown that if all the costs of climate change can be expressed in terms of GDP losses, Pareto-efficient abatement strategies are independent of the initial allocation of emission rights. This is the case sometimes described as "market damages". If, however, different regions assign different values to non-market damages such as species losses, different sharing rules may affect the Pareto-optimal level of greenhouse gas abatement. Separability may then be demonstrated only in specific cases (e.g. identical welfare functions or quasi-linearity of preferences or small shares of wealth devoted to abatement)

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Paper provided by Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft in its series Diskussionsschriften with number dp0306.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ube:dpvwib:dp0306
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  1. Copeland, Brian R. & Taylor, M. Scott, 2005. "Free trade and global warming: a trade theory view of the Kyoto protocol," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 205-234, March.
  2. Warwick J. McKibbin & Robert Shackleton & Peter J. Wilcoxen, 1998. "What to Expect from an International System of Tradable Permits for Carbon Emmisions," Economics and Environment Network Working Papers 9804, Australian National University, Economics and Environment Network.
  3. Manne, Alan & Mendelsohn, Robert & Richels, Richard, 1995. "MERGE : A model for evaluating regional and global effects of GHG reduction policies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 17-34, January.
  4. Graciela Chichilnisky & Geoffrey Heal, 1993. "Who Should Abate Carbon Emissions? An International Viewpoint," NBER Working Papers 4425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nordhaus, William D, 1991. "To Slow or Not to Slow: The Economics of the Greenhouse Effect," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(407), pages 920-37, July.
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