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Benjamin Jones and Mr. Michael Keen

Climate Change: Stimulating a Green Recovery” looks at the global problem of climate change. With the world apparently on an economic recovery path, policymakers are looking at ways to limit the impact of climate change through broad international action. One of the challenges is to balance actions to mitigate climate change with measures to stimulate growth and prosperity. This issue of F&D also examines a variety of issues raised by the crisis—including the future of macroeconomics, explored by William White, former chief economist at the Bank for International Settlements, and the longer-term impact of the crisis on the United States, the world’s largest economy. Our “People in Economics” profile spotlights Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Laureate who “can’t get any respect at home.” We also look at the need for rebalancing growth in Asia, which is leading the world out of recession, and we interview five influential Asians on the region’s fragile rebound. We turn our “Straight Talk” column over to Barbara Stocking of Oxfam, who makes a forceful case for stepping up help to the most vulnerable around the world. “Data Spotlight” looks at trends in inflation, which has fallen into negative territory in some countries during the crisis, and in “Point-Counterpoint,” two experts discuss the pros and cons of remittances—funds repatriated by migrant workers to family and friends back home. “Back to Basics” gives a primer on international trade.

Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. James Daniel, Mr. Masahiro Nozaki, Cristian Alonso, Vybhavi Balasundharam, Mr. Matthieu Bellon, Chuling Chen, David Corvino, and Mr. Joey Kilpatrick
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing policymakers worldwide, and the stakes are particularly high for Asia and the Pacific. This paper analyzes how fiscal policy can address challenges from climate change in Asia and the Pacific. It aims to answer how policymakers can best promote mitigation, adaptation, and the transition to a low-carbon economy, emphasizing the economic and social implications of reforms, potential policy trade-offs, and country circumstances. The recommendations are grounded in quantitative analysis using country-specific estimates, and granular household, industry, and firm-level data.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper takes stock of St. Lucia’s plans to manage climate change, from the perspective of their macroeconomic implications, and suggests macro-relevant reforms that could strengthen the likelihood of success of the national strategy. To meet its renewable energy plans, St. Lucia will need to mobilize private investment. External assistance will be needed to develop supporting infrastructure. Building capacity for project assessment and investment promotion is a high priority, to shape needed investments into bankable projects. Elsewhere, capacity-building would be most useful to help cost sectoral plans, complete the disaster-preparedness strategy, move toward carbon taxation, and strengthen skills in public investment management and public financial management.
Mr. Michael Keen and Benjamin Jones
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.
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.
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.