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The Economics of Climate Change Policy EC 133 May 1, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "The Economics of Climate Change Policy EC 133 May 1, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Economics of Climate Change Policy EC 133 May 1, 2007

2 Market Mechanisms to Reduce Greenhouse Gases Carbon Tax –Taxes levied on businesses or individuals on a per-unit basis –Pros/con  later Offsets Cap-and-trade

3 What is an Offset?

4 Project reduces one ton of CO2 A Certified Emissions Reduction is Created Polluting Industry buys the ton of carbon, to “neutralize” one ton of its emissions Money goes back to project to reduce more CO2 FIRST THEN…. FINALLY…

5 What is Cap- and-Trade?

6 -This cap may be set by the government, as is the case in Europe -Or, it may be set by another carbon trading platform, such as the Chicago Climate Exchange or the Brazilian Futures Exchange First, a cap is set on emissions

7 Cap= 1000 Tons CO2 (for entire country) Two Companies: Cars and Electricity Each are allowed to emit 500 tons of CO2 The Car company currently emits 700 Tons of CO2 Reduces emissions to 600 The Electricity Company Currently Emits 600 tons of CO2 Reduces emissions to 400 $$$ 100 Allowances

8 Options to Address Climate Change Policy Options: –The Kyoto Protocol Voluntary Initiatives (Independent of National Policy) –Regional, State, or City-wide agreements –Offsets –Privately run Trading Schemes

9 The Kyoto Protocol- Background Drafted in 1997 by the 3 rd COP to the UNFCCC Calls for global reductions in GHGs by 5% below 1990 levels –Countries have different targets, based on abilities to reduce emissions Entered into force in February 2005 –Required that 55 countries, accounting for at least 55% of 1990 emissions, had to ratify the protocol –Once the U.S. dropped out of negotiations, Russia was the key for entry into force

10 Characteristics of Kyoto Countries divided into two groups: Annex 1 and non-Annex 1 –Only Annex 1 have targets –Non-Annex 1 parties must demonstrate “meaningful participation” “Hot Air” Flexible Mechanisms –CDM, JI and ETS

11 Flexible Mechanims- Joint Implementation Occurs between two Annex 1 parties Helps both countries attain targets cost- effectively

12 Flexible Mechanism- Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Occurs between an Annex 1 country and a non-Annex 1 country Helps the Annex 1 country attain target cost-effectively, and contributes to sustainable development of non-Annex 1 country


14 Flexible Mechanisms- Emissions Trading Scheme Cap-and-Trade system between European Countries Set a cap on certain industries, issue allowances, and allow for trading

15 Why did Kyoto fail?

16 Kyoto Protocol: Prospects and Problems Enforcement for non-compliance was not specified in language of Kyoto Monitoring is expensive, also not specified –Though CDM projects must include monitoring plan Flexible Mechanism have been successful in encouraging participation of developing countries –Still, it is unlikely that any developing countries will take on targets in the next round Without the U.S., it will be difficult to make real progress to curb climate change

17 Alternatives to Kyoto: What to do When the Government doesn’t Believe in Global Warming

18 Addressing Climate Change in the Absence of National Policy Regional or State Agreements City-wide or Firm Initiatives Carbon Tax –Levy tax on industries on a per-emissions basis Carbon Offsets Carbon Trading

19 Voluntary Market for Offsets Businesses and Individuals can buy offsets from private providers, which are often internet-based There is no cohesive set of standards for quality of offsets, but verification and labeling schemes exist

20 Voluntary Trading Schemes The Chicago Climate Exchange is the only trading scheme in the U.S Privately Run Companies, Organizations, States, or Cities enter into a binding legal agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a certain percent during various phases –Not very stringent

21 Confused? It gets worse… Companies can purchase offsets to reduce their emissions below the cap. Then they sell those allowances for more than the price of the offsets, and make a profit Companies can sell offsets to private providers, who then sell those offsets to other companies or individuals who are trying to reduce emissions

22 Choices in the Voluntary Market Reduce emissions through conventional means  business case for cost effective reductions Buy Offsets Participate in a cap-and-trade system such as the Chicago Climate Exchange

23 Reducing Emissions through Conventional Means Anyone can do this!! Measures: Positives: Drawbacks:

24 Offsets Anyone who can pay for them can buy them– Price ranges from $5 per ton to $30 per ton Positives: Problems:

25 Carbon Trading Typically bigger companies, cities, states, and organizations Positives Drawbacks:

26 Buyer Beware Demand additionality –Buyers of offsets should demand the reductions they are buying would not have otherwise happened. They should demand that the reductions are actually having a net benefit for the environment. In fact, they should demand that the offsets institutionalize sustainable development. Demand verification –The United Nations administers programs for verifying and certifying emissions reductions. It is as robust as it gets, and you can't go wrong buying reductions from these projects. –A handful of experienced non-governmental organizations have developed standards for carbon reductions. Offsets meeting these standards are sometimes worthy of your investment. Demand accountability by sellers – buyers should make sure the reduction projects underlying their offsets are receiving a fair share of the purported amount used to pay for the carbon and their investment is not being siphoned off to administration or other fees. When contributing to a charity most donors insist on this criteria. The same applies to offsets. Gilles Corre, director of Evolution Markets Ltd, FT editorial May 1, 2007

27 Moomaw Returns What is Needed to reduce by 75%? Sustained reductions of 3%/year by industrial nations for the rest of the century This will reduce emissions by half in 23 years and to one-quarter in 46 years This will assure that CO 2 concentrations are below 1990 levels and dropping at the end of the century rather than continuing to rise Otherwise, there is a high probability that global average temperature will rise by more than 4 o F during this century and might go as high as 12 o F

28 What are the pros/cons of an energy tax?

29 Case for taxes clear and less vulnerable to market problems industry needs certainty regarding price timing  faster less opportunity for manipulation can hit more sectors can introduce compensating mechanisms for low income families

30 Policy Questions Can the voluntary market meet the need to reduce greenhouse emissions? Should the United States return to the Kyoto table? Should the United States assess national green taxes?

31 What is the optimal environmental strategy for the US? Voluntary Mandated Offsets Carbon trading Business case for cost efficiency Build markets Kyoto (II?) National Targets (ETS) Supranational Targets Strategic Philanthropy Supranational mechanisms CDM JITaxes National Mechanisms Markets ? ?+? Regulate Markets

32 What are costs of non-action?

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