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Buy coal? New analysis shows purchasing fossil fuel deposits best way to fight climate change
Date:4/11/2012

s climate coalitions can circumvent the traditional problems of a demand-side policy," he said.

Harstad explained further that the most intuitive benefit from this policy is that emission is reduced if one buys and conserves deposits. Furthermore, the coalition finds it cheapest to buy the marginal deposits (ie, deposits that are not very profitable to exploit, but still quite polluting when consumed). After selling its marginal deposits, a non-participating country's level of supply will be less sensitive to changes in the world fuel price. Consequently, there is no longer carbon leakage on the supply-side, and the coalition can limit its own supply without fearing that the non-participants will increase theirs.

"This does the trick," Harstad noted. After purchasing marginal extraction rights, the coalition implements its ideal policy simply by reducing its supply, not its demand. Fossil fuel prices are then equalized across countries. Also, the resulting fossil fuel price seems high enough to motivate even non-participating countries to invest effectively in new technologies, such as renewable energy sources. For these reasons, the policy is socially optimal in the analysis, even if some countries do not participate.

Most importantly, Harstad said, "The analysis shows that progress on international climate policy is best achieved by simply utilizing the existing market for extraction rights."

Multi-national companies are already trading extraction rights. "Climate coalitions should, as well," he concluded.

The study will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Political Economy.


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Contact: Betsy Berger
b-berger@kellogg.northwestern.edu
847-467-3108
University of Chicago Press Journals
Source:Eurekalert

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