Mr. Pragyan Deb, Davide Furceri, Mr. Jonathan David Ostry, and Nour Tawk
Lockdowns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have reduced overall energy demand but electricity generation from renewable sources has been resilient. While this partly reflects the trend increase in renewables, the empirical analysis presented in this paper highlights that recessions result in a permanent, albeit small, increase in energy efficiency and in the share of renewables in total electricity. These effects are stronger in the case of advanced economies and when complemented with environment and energy policies—both market-based measures such as taxes on pollutants, trading schemes and feed-in-tariffs, as well as non-market measures such as emission and fuel standards and R&D investment and subsidies—to incentivize and hasten the transition towards renewable sources of energy.
Climate financing and compensation have emerged as key themes in the international climate mitigtion debate. According to one argument in support of compensation, advanced economies (AEs) have used up much of the atmosphere’s absorptive capacity, thus causing global warming and blocking a similar, fossil-fuel driven development path for emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs). This paper develops a simple model of a sequential, fossil-fuel driven development process to discuss these issues systematically. The results suggest: (i) AEs have typically a stronger interest in climate change mitigation than EMDEs, (ii) from an equity perspective, compensation is called for only if EMDEs are relatively small; (iii) there can also be an efficiency case for compensation, however, with AEs buying EMDEs out of some of their GHG emissions; (iv) ultimately, a superior option—for both the world’s climate and growth prospects—is the development of clean energy technologies by AEs and their transfer to EMDEs. The latter requires strong mitigation efforts by AEs even if EMDEs fail to play along initially.
Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. Peter Dohlman, Mr. Cory Hillier, Mr. Martin D Kaufman, Florian Misch, Mr. James Roaf, Mr. Christophe J Waerzeggers, and Miss Kyung Kwak
This Climate Note discusses the rationale, design, and impacts of border carbon adjustments (BCAs), charges on embodied carbon in imports potentially matched by rebates for embodied carbon in exports. Large disparities in carbon pricing between countries is raising concerns about competitiveness and emissions leakage, and BCAs are a potentially effective instrument for addressing such concerns. Design details are critical, however. For example, limiting coverage of the BCA to energy-intensive, trade-exposed industries facilitates administration, and initially benchmarking BCAs on domestic emissions intensities would help ease the transition for emissions-intensive trading partners. It is also important to consider how to apply BCAs across countries with different approaches to emissions mitigation. BCAs are challenging because they pose legal risks and may be at odds with the differentiated responsibilities of developing countries. Furthermore, BCAs provide only modest incentives for other large emitting countries to scale carbon pricing—an international carbon price floor would be far more effective in this regard.
This paper studies the effect of climate change mitigating policies on innovation in clean energy technologies. Results suggest that the tightening of environmental policies since the early 1990s have made a statistically and economically significant contribution to the increase in clean innovation. These effects generally materialized quickly, within 2 to 3 years of the policy change, and were driven by individually significant marginal effects of both market-based policies – such as feed-in tariffs and trading schemes – as well as non-market policies, such as R&D subsidies or emission limits. Looking at electricity innovation in particular, the paper finds that the estimated effect on total innovation is positive on net, meaning that increased innovation in clean and grey technologies is not offset by a decrease in innovation in dirty technologies. From a policy point of view, the paper’s results call for strong policy efforts to decisively shift innovation towards clean technologies.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper estimates multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation to help inform stimulus measures for a post-COVID-19 sustainable recovery. Using a new international dataset, part of which was especially assembled for this analysis, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities—from zero-emission power plants to the protection of wildlife and ecosystems—can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. The estimated multipliers associated with green spending are about 2 to 7 times larger than those associated with non-eco-friendly expenditure, depending on sectors, technologies and horizons. These findings survive several robustness checks and suggest that ‘building back better’ could be a win-win for economies and the planet.