Linking Carbon Markets with Different Initial Conditions
Resources for the Future Working Paper 17-16
41 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2017
Date Written: July 24, 2017
Linkage of emissions trading systems theoretically minimizes total abatement costs by allowing fungibility of emissions reductions across jurisdictions. We develop a theoretical framework to investigate the implications of linking systems with unique designs. We qualitatively assess the California and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative systems, which we find to be nearly ready to link despite some differences in their initial conditions, including design and stringency. We use a simulation model of regional electricity markets to investigate market outcomes under such a linked system. We consider possible exchange rates for allowances to adjust for differences in program stringency, and we examine how they interact with price floors and ceilings while explicitly representing other program features (e.g., leakage policies, companion policies, and allowance allocation). We find that aggregate emissions and emissions in each jurisdiction change in ways predicted by theory but that efficiency gains can be distributed in nuanced and nonintuitive ways.
Keywords: greenhouse gas, climate change, climate policy, policy coordination
JEL Classification: Q58, H77
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation