Working Paper

Worse off from reduced cost? The role of policy design under uncertain technological advancement

Author

  • Matthias Weitzel
Publication Date

A simple model is used to illustrate the effects of a reduction in (marginal) abatement cost in a two country setting. It can be shown that a the country experiencing a cost reduction can actually be worse off. This holds true for a variety of quantity and price based emission policies. The most important channel is that a country with lower abatement costs engages in additional abatement effort for which it is not compensated. Under a quantity based policy with a given allocation, a seller of permits can also be negatively affected from a lower carbon price. We also argue that abatement cost shocks to renewable energy and carbon capture and storage (CCS) are different in terms of their effects on international energy markets. A shock to renewable energy reduces fossil fuel rents benefiting energy importers, while the opposite holds for a shock to CCS. The channels obtained in the theoretical model can be confirmed in a more complex global computable general equilibrium model. Some regions are indeed worse off from shock that lowers their abatement costs.

Info

JEL Classification
C68, Q54, Q58

Key Words

  • CCS
  • CGE Model
  • climate policy
  • prices vs. quantities
  • renewable energy
  • technological uncertainty

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