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Instruments for emission reduction

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Lecture on policy instruments for greenhouse gas emission reduction to postgraduate students of economics. Covers Chapter 4 of Climate Economics.

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Instruments for emission reduction

  1. 1. Climate change Policy instruments • The problem • The solution – What will it cost? – How to achieve the goals?
  2. 2. Direct Regulation • It is the most common form of environmental regulation, and highly successful in past management of point sources of toxic materials • Essentially, command and control prescribes aspects of the production process, be it inputs, production or outputs • Requires substantial knowledge on the part of the regulator • Requires relatively homogenous producers
  3. 3. Types of Direct Regulation • Inputs, e.g., fuel efficiency • Technology, e.g., catalytic convertors – Best practible means – Best available technology (not exceeding excessive costs) • Outputs – Products, e.g., carcinogenic toys – Waste, e.g., sulphur emissions • Timing, e.g., air traffic • Location, e.g., nature reserves • Prohibition, e.g., CFCs
  4. 4. Taxes and Subsidies • Taxes: Pay a charge or levy or penalty for every unit consumed, produced or emitted • Subsidies: Receive a premium for every unit not consumed, produced or emitted • Uniform taxes and subsidies have a uniform effect on marginal production costs, thus ensuring efficiency • Taxes and subsidies have an equivalent effect on emissions in the short run, but have different budgetary distributional, and long-term effects: Taxes increases costs, subsidies lower costs in polluting sectors
  5. 5. Tradeable Permits • The government set an overall target on consumption, production or, most common, emission • Each producer obtains a certain amount of emission permits, can sell these, or buy more at the market place • If the permit market is perfect, all producers pay the same price, and marginal costs of production increase uniformly • Taxes and tradeable permits are equivalent provided that the regulator knows all marginal abatement costs
  6. 6. Permits: Initial Allocation • Grandfathering – Give permits to current polluters – Politically easy, as confirms status quo • Auctioning – Sell permits to highest bidder – Generates revenue, perhaps a lot • To victim – Perhaps fair, definitely complicated – May generate large transfers • Per capita – Perhaps fair, relatively easy – May generate large transfers
  7. 7. Coase Theorem: Preliminaries Quantity Price p* q* Marginal benefits of emission reductionMarginal costs of emission reduction
  8. 8. Coase Theorem: Polluter pays Quantity Price p* q* Willingness to compensate pollutee Compensation needed for pollution Marginal costs of emission reduction Marginal benefits of emission reduction
  9. 9. Coase Theorem: Pollutee pays Quantity Price p* q* Compensation needed not to pollute Willingness to compensate polluter Marginal costs of emission reduction Marginal benefits of emission reduction
  10. 10. Coase Theorem • The Coase Theorem separates efficiency and equity • Regardless of the initial allocation of property rights, the market will find the same allocation • The initial allocation: Who pays what • The final allocation: Who does what
  11. 11. Cost-effectiveness Marginal costs are equal for all producers      1 1 min s.t. N N n n n n n C M M M 2 n n n n nC M M               1 1 N N n n n n L C M M             2 0 nn n n M n L M C M
  12. 12. Cost-effectiveness -2 Marginal costs are equal for all producers    2 n n n n n nC M M pM    2 n n n n n nC M M tM           2 0 n n n n n M n C M t C t M    2 n n n n n nC M M sM
  13. 13. Cost-Effectiveness • Market-based instruments are cost- effective, as every polluter faces the same tax, subsidy or permit price • Command and control is unlike to be cost- effective, unless the regulator knows a lot and the industry is homogenous
  14. 14. Environmental Effectiveness • The environmental effect of taxes and subsidies is uncertain (but its marginal costs are certain) • The environmental effect of tradeable permits is certain (but its costs are uncertain) • The environmental effects of emission standards are certain (bar illegal dumping), of input and production standards less certain
  15. 15. Weitzman Theorem: Preliminaries Quantity Price p* q’q* p’ Marginal damagesAssumed marginal costsTrue marginal costs Quantity instrument: underregulation Priceinstrument:overregulation Welfare loss underregulation Welfare loss overregulation q” p”
  16. 16. Weitzman Theorem: MD steeper than MC Quantity Price p* q’q* p’ Marginal damages Quantity instrument: underregulation Priceinstrument:overregulation Welfare loss underregulation Welfare loss overregulation p” q” True marginal costs Assumed marginal costs
  17. 17. Weitzman Theorem: MD less steep than MC Quantity Price p* q’q* p’ Marginal damages Quantity instrument: underregulation Priceinstrument:overregulation Welfare loss underregulation Welfare loss overregulation p” q” True marginal costs Assumed marginal costs
  18. 18. Weitzman Theorem: MD as steep as MC Quantity Price p* q’q* p’ Quantity instrument: underregulation Priceinstrument:overregulation Welfare loss underregulation Welfare loss overregulation p” q” True marginal costs Assumed marginal costs Marginal damages
  19. 19. Weitzman Theorem • If the marginal damage cost curve is less steep than the marginal abatement cost curve, then mistakes with price instruments (taxes) are less costly than are mistakes with quantity instruments (tradable permits) • If the marginal damage cost curve is steeper than the marginal abatement cost curve, then mistake with quantity instruments (tradable permits) are less costly than are mistakes with price instruments (taxes)
  20. 20. Weitzman Theorem • If environmental pollution is a stock variable, pollution would not be very sensitive to changes in emissions and the marginal damage cost curve would be relatively flat, that is, not vary much with emissions • In this case (e.g., climate change, biodiversity loss), taxes are preferred over tradable permits
  21. 21. International Emissions Trade • Kyoto Protocol / Marrakech Accords – Emissions trade in the OECD – Joint Implementation (project based) between OECD and Countries in Transition – Clean Development Mechanism (project based) between OECD and Less Developed Countries • Within the EU, there is the Emissions Trading Scheme/System, and the one for aviation • Two permit markets in the USA • Australia and South Korea to follow soon • Note that a single market creates a single price – 9 markets means 9 prices
  22. 22. Can permit markets be coupled? • Long distance trade is older than the nation state • Permits are not goods, however, but government licenses • International permit trade thus requires an government act of mutual recognition • Heterogeneity in permits (monitoring, enforcement, definition) can be accomodated, e.g., through a rating system • Permit markets do not fall under WTO, so trade can be regulated at will
  23. 23. EU Emissions Trading Scheme • Covers part of carbon dioxide – Extension to aviation suspended – Extension to Australia cancelled • Mid-stream trade • Grandparenting of permits – capital subsidy of billions of euros – Gradual transition to auctioning (40% in 2013), to be completed by 2020 • Banking (after 2012) but not borrowing • Full banking and borrowing 2008-12 • Fines for excess emissions
  24. 24. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 01/01/2005 01/07/2005 01/01/2006 01/07/2006 01/01/2007 01/07/2007 01/01/2008 01/07/2008 01/01/2009 01/07/2009 01/01/2010 01/07/2010 01/01/2011 01/07/2011 01/01/2012 01/07/2012 01/01/2013 Europertonneofcarbondioxide Phase 1, auction Phase 2, auction Phase 3, auction Phase 1, market Phase 2, market Phase 3, market
  25. 25. Teething issues? • Initial allocation by Member States – beggar thy neighbour – oversupply – European Commission is now in charge • Electronic registries were hacked • Romania did not monitor for a while • Reporting issues in Lithuania and Slovakia • Carousel fraud (€300 mln uncovered) – VAT rules standardised in 2010 • Monitoring and enforcement with the Member States
  26. 26. Aviation • Since January 2012, aviation has its own ETS • Covers all flights within EU • Flights outside EU exempted until later • Initial allocation: 97% (2012), 95% (2013) of average of 2004-6 • Up to 15% of additional permits can be bought from EU ETS • Therefore, price is low
  27. 27. 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 01/01/2005 01/07/2005 01/01/2006 01/07/2006 01/01/2007 01/07/2007 01/01/2008 01/07/2008 01/01/2009 01/07/2009 01/01/2010 01/07/2010 01/01/2011 01/07/2011 01/01/2012 01/07/2012 01/01/2013 Europertonneofcarbondioxide Phase 1, auction Phase 2, auction Phase 3, auction Phase 1, market Phase 2, market Phase 3, market Aviation, auction Aviation, market
  28. 28. Aviation – design issues • Extra-Union flights exempted because of undue advantage to hubs on EU borders • Principal-agent problems – Flight routes – Taxying, take-off, landing • Grandparenting of emission permits means an untoward advantage for incumbent airlines – Hub-and-spoke – Airport congestion – Age of aircraft – Occupation of aircraft
  29. 29. Clean Development Mechanism • CDM allows rich countries to invest in emission reduction in poor countries • Poor countries do not have emission targets, so the trade is in Certified Emission Reduction credits (CERs) • CERs are project-based, difference between emissions as they are and as they would be without project • There is therefore a hefty bureaucracy, which excludes smaller projects and poorer countries, and drives a price wedge between ETS and CER
  30. 30. Clean Development Mechanism -2 • Projects can meet all criteria without reducing emissions • Closing a factory (without reducing overall supply) would earn CERs • The carbon value of HFC23 far exceeds its market value. It is profitable to build an HFC23 plant, plan to turn it on, sell the carbon credits instead, break it down again, and rebuild under a different name in a different location • Now forbidden
  31. 31. Technological progress • If technological progress can be accelerated and directed towards carbon- neutral energy, costs of emission reduction would fall substantially
  32. 32. Technological progress • If technological progress can be accelerated and directed towards carbon- neutral energy, costs of emission reduction would fall substantially • Just redirecting technology may be very expensive, as climate policy would come at the expense of economic growth, medical care and so on • How can this be done?
  33. 33. Externalities and risks • Knowledge can be copied – it spills between companies and countries • That implies that the innovator will not reap the full benefits, which means that there is underinvestment in research and development • R&D is a risky investment – Knowledge production is uncertain – Future market is uncertain – More underinvestment • Policies that accelerate R&D thus increase welfare
  34. 34. Three types • Invention – Something new • Innovation – Bring the invention to the market • Diffusion – From niche application to mass market • The climate problem can be solved by innovation and diffusion, but invention would help
  35. 35. Technology instruments • Patents – Temporary monopoly • R&D subsidies – Inputs not output – Picking winners • Government procurement • Conditional procurement – Guaranteed purchase • Conditional monopoly • Prize • Predictable price signals – Taxes better than tradable permits

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