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Jean Chateau, Ms. Florence Jaumotte, and Gregor Schwerhoff
We use a global computable general equilibrium model to compare the economic performance of alternative climate policies along multiple dimensions, including macroeconomic outcomes, energy prices, and trade competitiveness. Carbon pricing which keeps the aggregate cost lower and preserves better the overall competitiveness than across-the-board regulation is the first-best policy, especially in energy intensive and trade exposed industries. Regulations and feebates are good alternatives in the power sector, where technological substitution is possible. Feed-in subsidies, if used alone, are not cost effective.
Manuel Linsenmeier, Mr. Adil Mohommad, and Gregor Schwerhoff
In this paper, we study the international diffusion of carbon pricing policies. In the first part, we empirically examine to what extent the adoption of carbon pricing in a given country can explain the subsequent adoption of the same policy in other countries. In the second part, we quantify the global benefits of policy diffusion in terms of greenhouse gas emission reductions elsewhere. To do so, we combine a large international dataset on carbon pricing with several other datasets. For causal identification, we estimate semi-parametric Cox proportional hazard models. We find robust and statistically significant evidence for policy diffusion.
Manuel Linsenmeier, Mr. Adil Mohommad, and Gregor Schwerhoff
Carbon pricing is considered the most efficient policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it has also been conjectured that other policies need to be implemented first to remove certain economic and political barriers to stringent climate policy. Here, we examine empirical evidence on the the sequence of policy adoption and climate policy portfolios of G20 economies and other major emitters that eventually implemented a national carbon price. We find that all countries adopted carbon pricing late in their instrument sequence after the adoption of (almost) all other instrument types. Furthermore, we find that countries that adopted carbon pricing in a given year had significantly larger climate policy portfolios than those that did not. In the last part of the paper, we examine heterogeneity among countries that eventually adopted a carbon price. We find large variation in the size of policy portfolios of adopters of carbon pricing, with more recent adopters appearing to have introduced carbon pricing with smaller portfolios. Furthermore, countries that adopted carbon pricing with larger policy portfolios tended to implement a higher carbon price. Overall, our results thus suggest that policy sequencing played an important role in climate policy, specifically the adoption of carbon pricing, over the last 20 years.
Jiaxiong Yao and Mr. Yunhui Zhao
To reach the global net-zero goal, the level of carbon emissions has to fall substantially at speed rarely seen in history, highlighting the need to identify structural breaks in carbon emission patterns and understand forces that could bring about such breaks. In this paper, we identify and analyze structural breaks using machine learning methodologies. We find that downward trend shifts in carbon emissions since 1965 are rare, and most trend shifts are associated with non-climate structural factors (such as a change in the economic structure) rather than with climate policies. While we do not explicitly analyze the optimal mix between climate and non-climate policies, our findings highlight the importance of the nonclimate policies in reducing carbon emissions. On the methodology front, our paper contributes to the climate toolbox by identifying country-specific structural breaks in emissions for top 20 emitters based on a user-friendly machine-learning tool and interpreting the results using a decomposition of carbon emission ( Kaya Identity).
Mr. Philip Barrett, Katharina Bergant, Jean Chateau, and Rui Mano
The run up to the 26th Climate Change Conference has brought tackling climate change to the fore of global policy making. In this context, the U.S. administration has recently unveiled new climate targets. This paper elaborates on the administration’s plans and uses two models developed at the IMF to illustrate key macro-climate trade-offs. First, a model with endogenous fuel-specific technological change shows that subsidies cannot substitute for explicit carbon pricing and that even a moderate carbon tax can greatly economize on the overall fiscal cost of the package. Second, a rich sectoral model shows that there are only very marginal economic costs from front-loading the decarbonization of the power sector but there are large accompanying environmental benefits. Regulations can be effective in the power sector because they provide an appropriate shadow cost to carbon. However, a carbon tax would still be more efficient and easier to administer. Finally, as the economy transitions away from fossil-fueled power generation, there would be a significant reallocation of labor across sectors and locations that would need to be handled carefully to limit the social costs of the transition.
Mr. Philip Barrett
In short, yes. I use a multi-region integrated assessment model with fuel-specific endogenous technical change to examine the impact of Europe and China reducing emissions to zero by mid-century. Without international technological diffusion this is insufficient to avoid catastrophic climate change. But when innovation can diffuse overseas, long-run temperature increases are limited to 3 degrees. This occurs because policy not only encourages green innovations but also dissuades dirty innovations which would otherwise spread. The most effective policy package in emissions-reducing regions is a research subsidy funded by a carbon tax, driven in the short term by the direct effect of the carbon tax on the composition of energy, and later by innovation induced by research subsidies. Green production subsidies are ineffective because they undermine incentives for innovation.
Signe Krogstrup and William Oman
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of this century. Mitigation requires a large-scale transition to a low-carbon economy. This paper provides an overview of the rapidly growing literature on the role of macroeconomic and financial policy tools in enabling this transition. The literature provides a menu of policy tools for mitigation. A key conclusion is that fiscal tools are first in line and central, but can and may need to be complemented by financial and monetary policy instruments. Some tools and policies raise unanswered questions about policy tool assignment and mandates, which we describe. The literature is scarce, however, on the most effective policy mix and the role of mitigation tools and goals in the overall policy framework.
Mr. Michael Keen and Mr. Christos Kotsogiannis
This paper explores the role of trade instruments in globally efficient climate policies, focusing on the central issue of whether some form of border tax adjustment (BTA) is warranted when carbon prices differ internationally. It shows that tariff policy has a role in easing cross-country distributional concerns that can make non-uniform carbon pricing efficient and, more particularly, that Pareto-efficiency requires a form of BTA when carbon taxes in some countries are constrained, a special case being identified in which this has the simple structure envisaged in practical policy discusions. It also stresses—a point that has been overlooked in the policy debate—that the efficiency case for BTA depends critically on whether climate policies are pursued by carbon taxation or by cap-and-trade.
Mr. Muthukumara Mani and Mr. Per G. Fredriksson
We develop and test a theory of the rule of law and environmental policy formation. In our model an increase in the degree of rule of law has two opposing partial effects on environmental policy: first, a greater share of policy decisions are implemented according to law; second, industry bribery efforts increase because more is at stake. Moreover, we find that an increase in corruptibility of policymakers lowers the stringency of environmental policy. The empirical findings suggest that a greater degree of rule of law raises environmental policy stringency, but the effect is lower where corruptibility is high.
Mr. John Norregaard and Ms. Valerie Reppelin
This paper examines the relative merits of two dominant economic instruments for reducing pollution—”green” taxes and tradable permits. Theoretically, the two instruments share many similarities, and on balance, neither seems preferable to the other. In practice, however, most countries have relied more on taxes than on permits to control pollution. The analysis suggests a number of lessons to be learned from country experiences regarding the design and implementation of both instruments. While many, particularly European countries, currently have long-term programs involving environmental taxes, a willingness to experiment with tradable permits seems to be growing, especially given the Kyoto protocol emission targets.