The Effects on Developing Countries of the Kyoto Protocol and Carbon Dioxide Emissions Trading
51 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: December 1998
Developing countries-both importers and exporters-could in fact benefit from carbon dioxide emissions trading to achieve tagets mandated by the Kyoto Protocol.
The trading of rights to emit carbon dioxide has not officially been sanctioned by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but it is of interest to investigate the consequences, both for industrial (Annex B) and developing countries, of allowing such trades. Ellerman, Jacoby, and Decaux examine the trading of caps assigned to Annex B countries under the Kyoto Protocol and compare the outcome with a world in which Annex B countries meet their Kyoto targets without trading. Under the trading scenario the former Soviet Union is the main seller of carbon dioxide permits and Japan, the European Union, and the United States are the main buyers. Permit trading is estimated to reduce the aggregate cost of meeting the Kyoto targets by about 50 percent, compared with no trading. Developing countries, though they do not trade, are nonetheless affected by trading. For example, the price of oil and the demand for other developing country exports are higher with trading than without.
The authors also consider what might happen if developing countries were to voluntarily accept caps equal to Business as Usual Emissions and were allowed to sell emission reductions below these caps to Annex B countries. The gains from emissions trading could be big enough to give buyers and sellers incentive to support the system. Indeed, a global market for rights to emit carbon dioxide could reduce the cost of meeting the Kyoto targets by almost 90 percent, if the market were to operate competitively.
The division of trading gains, however, may make a competitive outcome unlikely: Under perfect competition, the vast majority of trading gains go to buyers of permits rather than to sellers. Even markets in which the supply of permits is restricted can, however, substantially reduce the cost to Annex B countries of meeting their Kyoto targets, while yielding profits to developing countries that elect to sell permits.
This paper - a product of Infrastructure and Environment, Development Research Group - is part of a larger effort in the group to examine the impact on developing countries of programs to correct global environmental problems.
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