Emissions Targets in Cap-and-Trade: Choosing Reduction Goals Compatible with Global Climate Stabilization
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Emissions Targets in Cap-and-Trade: Choosing Reduction Goals Compatible with Global Climate Stabilization

  • Published Date:

    2009-09-01

  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-1.56 MB]


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  • Abstract:
    Among the major environmental threats facing the world today, climate change stands out as both the largest in scope and the most unique in character, in the sense that the atmosphere truly does not recognize national boundaries when it comes to carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Simply put, a ton of CO2 emitted in the US yields exactly the same global environmental damage as a ton of CO2 emitted in China, and each country stands to lose from (the damages associated with) what is emitted by the other just as it does from what is emitted within its own borders. Conversely, any nation derives benefits from abatement pursued elsewhere, meaning that individual (national) incentives to abate are greatly undermined by the desire to “free ride” on the actions of others (Hardin, 1968). The upshot is that, without greater explicit coordination among nations, the amount of global abatement realized will almost certainly be undersupplied relative to the true magnitude of the climate change threat.
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