International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
While the IMF has been involved in the climate debate since at least 2008, a systematic account of how to integrate climate change into surveillance has been lacking to date. This paper seeks to fill the gap. It argues that domestic policy challenges related to climate change—such as adaptation efforts for climate vulnerable countries, or policies to deliver a country’s Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris climate accord—are covered by the IMF’s bilateral surveillance mandate and therefore valid topics for Article IV consultations wherever these challenges cross the threshold of macro-criticality. Climate change mitigation is a global policy challenge and therefore falls under multilateral surveillance. The paper proposes a pragmatic approach that focusses especially on the mitigation efforts of the 20 largest emitters of greenhouse gases.
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.
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.
Negotiations toward a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change have come to a critical point, and domestic climate policies are being developed, as the world seeks to recover from the deepest economic crisis for decades and looks for new sources of sustainable growth. This position paper considers the challenge posed by these two policy imperatives: how to exit from the crisis while developing an effective response to climate change. Blending the objectives of a sustained recovery and effective climate policies presents both challenges and opportunities. Although there are potential “win-win” spending measures conducive to both, the more fundamental linkages and synergies lie in the broader strategies adopted toward each other. Greater climate resilience can promote macroeconomic stability and alleviate poverty; and carbon pricing, essential for mitigation, can contribute to the strengthening of fiscal positions that is expected to be needed in many countries. There are, nevertheless, also difficult trade-offs to face, notably in the somewhat greater caution now warranted in moving to more aggressive emissions pricing. However, the simple policy guidelines for addressing climate issues remain fundamentally unchanged; the need to deploy a range of regulatory, spending, and emissions pricing measures.
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.
This paper seeks to contribute to the unresolved issue of the effect of economic integration on environmental policy. In particular, we discuss the joint impact of trade openness and political uncertainty. Our theory predicts that the effect of trade integreation on the environment is conditional on the degree of political uncertainty. Trade integration raises the stringency of environmental policies, but the effect is reduced when the degree of political uncertainty is great. Political uncertainty has a positive effect on environmental policy as it reduces lobbying efforts. Applying our model to a unique data set of primarily developing countries, the empirical findings support the theory and are robust under alterntive specifications.
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.
This paper reviews recent literature on the macroeconomic effects of environmental taxes. It attempts to delineate the conditions under which a cleaner environment is compatible with attaining macroeconomic objectives, such as more employment and economic growth. The analysis reveals that an environmentally motivated fiscal reform—using the revenues from environmental taxes to cut labor taxes—may yield employment and environmental dividends if the tax burden can be shifted to agents outside the labor market, such as capitalists, transfer recipients, and foreigners. A cleaner environment and a higher rate of economic growth go hand in hand if the environment is considered an important public input into production.
This paper provides a framework for examining environment taxes. It reviews the theoretical efficiency of three types of environment taxes: taxes on emissions or Pigouvian taxes; taxes on productive inputs or consumer goods whose use is related to environmental damage; and environment-related provisions in other taxes. A survey of environment taxes in 42 countries--drawn from developing countries, economies in transition, and industrial countries--illustrates that the use of environment taxes differs dramatically from the recommendations of environment tax theory. This divergence between the theory and practice of environment taxes can be attributed to several factors; environment taxes are difficult to implement, there are many factors that impede their effectiveness, and their introduction may be discouraged by their implications for other policy objectives.
This paper notes that market failure, policy failures, and population pressures are major sources of environmental degradation and that linkages between economic activities and the environment exist at the levels of macroeconomic objectives, macroeconomic policy instruments, implementation of environmental policies, and measurement of economic activity. This paper also points out that fiscal instruments can, and indeed do, play a significant role in resolving environmental problems. In addition, market-based solutions, including pollution permits, also have merit. This paper further points out that implementing environmental policies poses considerable challenges for public policymakers and concludes by suggesting areas for further research.