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Sharing the burden for climate change mitigation in the Canadian federation


  • Christoph Böhringer

    () (Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre & ZenTra)

  • Nicholas Rivers

    () (Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Institute of the Environment, University of Ottawa)

  • Thomas F. Rutherford

    () (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Randall Wigle

    () (School of Business and Economics, Wifrid Laurier University)


Dividing the burden for greenhouse gas abatement amongst the provinces has proven chal- lenging in Canada, and is a major factor contributing to Canada’s poor historic performance on greenhouse gas abatement. As the country aims to achieve substantial cuts to emissions over the next decade and by mid-century, such burden sharing considerations are likely to be elevated in importance. This paper uses a detailed Canadian computable general equilibrium model to compare a number of archetypal rules for sharing the burden of a joint commitment amongst members for the case of greenhouse gas reductions in Canada. Because of the substantial het- erogeneity amongst Canadian provinces, these different burden sharing rules imply significantly different relative abatement effort amongst provinces, and also significantly different welfare implications. We compare these archetypal burden sharing rules to existing provincial emission reduction commitments, and find that none of the standard burden sharing rules comes close to existing commitments. We argue that future efforts to share the burden of greenhouse gas abatement in Canada would be more successful if they were informed by a formal analysis such as the one presented here.

Suggested Citation

  • Christoph Böhringer & Nicholas Rivers & Thomas F. Rutherford & Randall Wigle, 2013. "Sharing the burden for climate change mitigation in the Canadian federation," ZenTra Working Papers in Transnational Studies 30 / 2014, ZenTra - Center for Transnational Studies, revised Jan 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:zen:wpaper:30

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam Rose & Zhong Zhang, 2004. "Interregional burden-sharing of greenhouse gas mitigation in the United States," Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, Springer, vol. 9(4), pages 477-500, October.
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    3. Kverndokk, Snorre & Rose, Adam, 2008. "Equity and Justice in Global Warming Policy," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 2(2), pages 135-176, October.
    4. Azusa OKAGAWA & Kanemi BAN, 2008. "Estimation of substitution elasticities for CGE models," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 08-16, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
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    6. Jotham Peters & Chris Bataille & Nic Rivers & Mark Jaccard, 2010. "Taxing Emissions, Not Income: How to Moderate the Regional Impact of Federal Environment Policy," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 314, November.
    7. Christoph Bohringer & Heinz Welsch, 2006. "Burden sharing in a greenhouse: egalitarianism and sovereignty reconciled," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 981-996.
    8. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, January.
    9. Boehringer Christoph & Fischer Carolyn & Rosendahl Knut Einar, 2010. "The Global Effects of Subglobal Climate Policies," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(2), pages 1-35, December.
    10. Böhringer, Christoph & Helm, Carsten, 2008. "On the fair division of greenhouse gas abatement cost," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 260-276, May.
    11. Ringius, Lasse & Torvanger, Asbjorn & Holtsmark, Bjart, 1998. "Can multi-criteria rules fairly distribute climate burdens?: OECD results from three burden sharing rules," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(10), pages 777-793, August.
    12. Florentine Schwark, 2010. "Economics of Endogenous Technical Change in CGE Models - The Role of Gains from Specialization," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 10/130, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    13. Miketa, Asami & Schrattenholzer, Leo, 2006. "Equity implications of two burden-sharing rules for stabilizing greenhouse-gas concentrations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(7), pages 877-891, May.
    14. Atkinson, Anthony B., 1970. "On the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 244-263, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Da Zhang & Marco Springmann & Valerie Karplus, 2016. "Equity and emissions trading in China," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 134(1), pages 131-146, January.
    2. Böhringer, Christoph & Rivers, Nicholas & Yonezawa, Hidemichi, 2016. "Vertical fiscal externalities and the environment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 51-74.
    3. repec:clg:wpaper:2015-15 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Da Zhang & Marco Springmann & Valerie J. Karplus, 2016. "Equity and emissions trading in China," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 134(1), pages 131-146, January.
    5. repec:clh:resear:v:10:y:2017:i:23 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Jared C. Carbone & Kenneth J. McKenzie, 2015. "Going Dutch? The Impact of Oil Price Shocks on the Canadian Economy," Working Papers 2015-07, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
    7. Beck, Marisa & Rivers, Nicholas & Yonezawa, Hidemichi, 2016. "A rural myth? Sources and implications of the perceived unfairness of carbon taxes in rural communities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 124-134.

    More about this item


    climate change; burden sharing; policy; computable general equilibrium model;

    JEL classification:

    • C68 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Computable General Equilibrium Models
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General


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