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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

If the world wants to distribute aid more effectively, pursue the Agenda for Sustainable Development, and achieve the Millennium Development Goals, the international architecture for development and environment must be reformed, according to a recent study commissioned by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation. It argues that the current international structure is fragmented and dysfunctional, dominated by institutional and national interests, and characterized by overlapping responsibilities.

Gail Cohen, João Tovar Jalles, Mr. Prakash Loungani, Ricardo Marto, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou

For the world's 20 largest emitters, we use a simple trend/cycle decomposition to provide evidence of decoupling between greenhouse gas emissions and output in richer nations, particularly in European countries, but not yet in emerging markets. If consumption-based emissions—measures that account for countries' net emissions embodied in cross-border trade—are used, the evidence for decoupling in the richer economies gets weaker. Countries with underlying policy frameworks more supportive of renewable energy and climate change mitigation efforts tend to show greater decoupling between trend emissions and trend GDP, and for both production- and consumption-based emissions. The relationship between trend emissions and trend GDP has also become much weaker in the last two decades than in preceding decades.

Leif Christoffersen

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.

The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.

International Monetary Fund
Reinvigorating trade integration should be a key component of the global policy agenda to boost growth. Trade policy’s new frontiers such as services, regulatory cooperation, and trade and investment complementarities carry high potential to bolster efficiency and productivity. But with governments differing on whether to continue the WTO Doha Round, there is an urgent need to identify a path for the global trading system in today’s more complex trade policy landscape. A long interregnum without a path forward would risk fragmenting the global trade system and undermining its governance. Tackling trade policy issues important to the global economy may require flexible approaches to multilateral negotiations, including modalities such as plurilaterals. Enhanced coherence efforts are also needed to ensure that regional trade agreements and multilateralism coexist productively.
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. 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.